By Annette Siegel (Living Tree Music)

(Ed. Annette and Nowell Siegel run Living Tree Music which specializes in fretted instruments. Nowell is a luthier.)

NAMM exterior 2 smNAMM 2016 was filled with all the usual glamour and glitz; enough noise to make your ears split (literally). A couple of exhibitors caught our eye.

Already shown from Folkworks.org media preview day was the really innovative "Kadabra." Through thousands of LEDs and distortion pedals, it’s a unique instrument, midi controller, rhythm and music creator. Shaped like a Greek mythological thunderstick with software, it made amazing sounds and transformed music into a dance with electric motions. Coupled with a microphone your voice is transformed into a vocodor like (think Peter Frampton) rhythm and sound. Models start from $2500 with computer software and instrument. It is made by Tribal Tools

Overhead Guitar.
Overhead Guitar packed up
Overhead Guitar packed up.
Also of note was for those that like to travel with a guitar is "The Overhead" made by Journey Instruments. This is a mid-size guitar that folds up and stows into a carry-on size for airline travel. The ones we saw were easy to play and when unfolded were almost in tune. Made of carbonfiber, wood and steel, very light and sounded reasonably good.

WilgenbusGuitarsWilgenbusGuitarNicolas Wilgenbus was there from Reunion Island located east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. He had some wonderful Instruments with beautiful artistic detail. The sound braces are joined from the neck into the top in a union joining the instrument is fan type classical bracing. Unusual and very detailed in sound.

Slapstick“The Slapstick” booth had a pretty cool Bass/Rhythm instrument. Simple but made amazing sounds. It came in different sizes/options.

DeeringVega2banjoA visit to Deering Banjos was a must since we’re building reproductions necks for a couple of vintage Vega banjos, it was interesting to see how Deering (which currently owns the Vega brand) is using it in modern day production. They showed us their #2 Vega banjo that had reminiscent inlays along with the bracket and tone ring of the old Tubaphone Vegas. They made a departure with metal dowel sticks that won’t break like the wooden ones.

We spent some time at Two Old Hippies booth.

Bedell Myrtlewood GuitarThe Bedell line use technology with tap tuning software in fine-tuning their guitar tops. Using software, special jigs to judge where and how much to thin the braces. They are using some beautiful woods on these guitars, including Myrtlewood.

SCGhostOakGuitarBodySCGhostOakbackAnd across the lane was Santa Cruz Guitars. Richard Hoover (owner) showed off a one of a kind special Ghost Oak 40th anniversary guitar. The back made of 8,000 years old Oak discovered from a mine in Serbia with natural color like a coal diamond. Paired with a 3,000 year old spruce top with fine snake wood binding that was also inlaid throughout the fingerboard. The wood’s unusual natural colors were not stained. This gem was displayed as an inspiration of what can be artistically made today. And yes it’s already sold!

Annette and Nowell Siegel run Living Tree Music & The Seagulls. Annette also holds a “Day” job working for the Bob Hope Estate/Family for the last 18 years. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.