NAMM: Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009
A View from My Corner of the Gibson Booth
The past three days here at the Gibson booth have been, in a word — stimulating
. Legendary musicians Kris Kristofferson, Brian Wilson and Robby Kreiger gave intimate performances to appreciative audiences standing within arms-length. Renowned guitarists Joe Bonamassa, JJ French, Billy Morrison, Brian Ray, Dave Amato and Don Kirkpatrick (to name just a few) held impromptu jams, then mingled freely with attendees who found themselves in the right place at the right time. The Gibson Entertainment Relations team hosted countless talented artists as they checked out the current line-up of Gibson guitars. Between the amazing guitars hanging throughout the room, the legendary musicians and pop-culture icons mingling about, this year’s Gibson booth offered enough eye-candy to last a lifetime.
The spotlight at this year’s show, however, was definitely the new Dark Fire guitar from Gibson USA. With approximately14 Dark Fire stations set up with Guitar Rig 3 and Ableton Live software, there was a continuous swarm of guitarists (from professional players to hobbyists) putting the Dark Fire through its paces. Gibson Product Specialist Aljon Go and I fielded Dark Fire questions from perhaps every possible demographic —from music theory professors and touring musicians to young teens just starting out. We spoke with skeptics and traditionalists who tried to find reasons to avoid this brilliant new technology, but all left satisfied that the Dark Fire guitar functions on a level that meets even the most demanding musician’s expectations. —Vincent Wynne
NAMM: Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009
Interview with Puddle of Mudd's Wes Scantlin
Epiphone Party at the Hilton Hotel
Puddle of Mudd
Glenn Hughes (Black Sabbath)
NAMM Vlog No. 11:
The Donnas visit the Gibson Room at NAMM Saturday evening.
NAMM Vlog No. 10:
Tesla's Frank Hannon and Dave Rude on the Gibson Gear stage.
Brent Hinds of Mastodon
NAMM Vlog No. 9:
Mastodon's Brent Hinds demos a Gibson Custom Robby Kreiger SG.
NAMM Vlog No. 8: Stars dropped by left and right on Saturday. Here are a few we caught on camera
— Twisted Sister's JJ French and Eddie Ojeda, Frank Stallone, Anthrax's Scott Ian and Arthur Hanlon.
NAMM Vlog No. 7:
Saturday afternoon, American Idol
's Brooke White dropped by for an impromptu performance of Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" on a Gibson Hummingbird.
NAMM: Friday, Jan. 16, 2009
Dark Fire community gathering on the Gibson tour bus
Gage Shinoda (world's youngest Dark Fire owner?) and Gibson Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz
Brett Anderson of The Donnas
NAMM Vlog No. 6:
Recording Artist Dave Yaden performs on a Custom Baldwin Piano.
Brian Ray (Paul McCartney's guitarist) and Don Kirkpatrick (Rod Stewart's guitarist)
Yogi Lonich and Cory McCormick (members of Chris Cornell's band)
NAMM Vlog No. 5:
REO Speedwagon's Dave Amato has a jam session with Joe Bonamassa mid-afternoon Friday on the Gibson Custom stage.
Joe Bonamassa and Dave Amato
NAMM Vlog No. 4:
Introducing (kind of) the new Jimmy Page Les Paul from Gibson Custom.
NAMM Vlog No. 3:
Brian Wilson performs "God Only Knows" and "California Girl" to a full house in the Gibson room.
Brian Wilson & Band
NAMM: Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009
Just Another Day at the Office
I’ve been on the road now with Gibson for about 10 days providing support for Gibson USA and, in particular, the Dark Fire guitar. Last week, the Dark Fire made a huge impression on the CES crowd, and now Dark Fire is flooring the NAMM attendees. I must admit, after spending so much time with the self-tuning Dark Fire guitars, tuning up the remaining Gibson USA line before the NAMM show was like going back in time — “You mean you gotta tune these things?” I can tune 15 Dark Fire guitars in about 7 minutes — that’s about 30 seconds a guitar. That’ll spoil any tech. But the highlight of my day on Thursday was being introduced to Peter Thorn — Chris Cornell’s guitarist. Peter had never played the Dark Fire before, and he wanted to check it out. Peter told me that Chris has a bunch of songs in odd tunings that require him to bring a slew of guitars to each gig. So I showed him the basics on tuning the Dark Fire, and he watched the guitar tune itself. As any pro would, he tested the intonation and pitch of the strings with a skeptical ear. What a blast it was watching Peter’s face light up with confidence after putting the Dark Fire through its paces. He looked at me and said, “This could work for me,” and he instructed his ER rep from Gibson to send him a Dark Fire. Just another day at the office. ⎯Vincent Wynne
NAMM Vlog. 2:
R.E.O. Speedwagon's Dave Amato (on a Gibson Custom Les Paul Axcess) and KISS' Bruce Kulick (on a 50th Anniversary 1959 Les Paul Standard) had a mid-afternoon jam on Thursday afternoon on the Gibson Custom stage. Next up: Brian Wilson on the Gibson USA main stage!
NAMM Vlog No. 1:
The Gibson crew has just arrived in sunny Anaheim, California and the Gibson room at NAMM couldn't be any better or any more packed with stars! The Doors' Robbie Kreiger stopped by to say hello to Gibson CEO and Chairman Henry Juszkiewicz and Billy Morrison demoed Gibson USA's new Dark Fire guitar. Watch our footage here! Next up: watch R.E.O. Speedwagon's Dave Amato and KISS' Bruce Kulick jam on Custom Shop Les Pauls.
NAMM: Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009
Gibson Sets the Stage for Winter NAMM
Gibson landed in Anaheim, Calif., earlier this week to set the stage for the 2009 Winter NAMM show. Greeted by the warm sun and gusty Santa Ana winds that helped turn the skies a crisp blue, one couldn’t help but marvel at the spectacular mountainous backdrop that surrounds Anaheim.
But there was little time for gazing out at the horizon, as the Gibson team set out to transform a very generic convention center space into the coolest room on the planet. With over eight Gibson brands represented at this year’s winter NAMM show, the set-up involved two 12-hour days of careful planning and precise implementation. It was hard work, but as Gibson employees like to admit, motivation comes in many forms.
After all, looking up from your daily grind to watch a Custom Shop employee hang a dozen 2009 50th anniversary ‘59 Les Paul Reissues could certainly provide a morale boost. And glancing over your shoulder to see master luthier Ren Ferguson fine-tune a few 2009 Gibson Hummingbirds could certainly relieve a little stress. And gazing out over a sea of shimmering Dark Fire Standards from Gibson USA would no doubt leave you feeling proud. It’s no wonder, then, that the Gibson team succeeded in creating the coolest booth at this year’s winter NAMM — in only two days.
The show begins today and runs through Sunday (Jan. 15-18). The Gibson booth will host a bevy of musical performances throughout the week including a rare performance Thursday by the legendary singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson (1:00pm). Don’t forget to check back for more video footage and Gibson updates from 2009 summer NAMM! ⎯Vincent Wynne