Gotta love those 8:00 am breakfast meetings after you've been up past 2:00 am posting videos and photos for the Web site, going to dinner with manufacturers, and meeting friends and music industry types in the Marriott and Hilton bars (where bands are playing so loud that all conversation is at the level of shouting). I love doing everything, and I actually had a great time meeting with Source Audio at breakfast to hear their plans for the future of their effects, but it was sure tough jumping out of bed with a "I'm-gonna-take-the-world-by-storm" smile this morning.
Ran into Peter Tork of the Monkees near the ESP Guitars booth. He said, "I'm not going to give you anything but this." It was a flyer that read: "Peter Tork and Blue Suede Blues will be playing SATURDAY at 9 pm centerstage Marriot hotel lobby Be there or ta heck with ya." Also ran into Stevie Salas, Adrian Belew, Craig Chaquico, Billy Zoom (who is now making an awesome collection of amps, pedals, and a reverb/tremolo unit), Uli Jon Roth, Carlos Santana, Ted Nugent, Dave Grissom, Al Di Meola, Howard Leese, and others. Being able to catch up with great guitarists and musicians is one of the extremely cool aspects of the NAMM show grind, as they are typically very relaxed and casual.
Also met Mark Nason -- the boot designer to the rock stars -- when he and Hartley Peavey debuted their collaboration on a stunning, leather-covered amp from Budda. You can see a photo in the Flicker feed, and it's worth taking a look. Hartley said, "This is a no-expense spared project." Peavey/Budda didn't even have a projected price on the amp yet -- which will likely be available sometime in the summer.
Later that night, Matt Blackett, Art Thompson, and I hit the Paul Reed Smith TONE QUEST presentation at a suite in the Hilton. Paul assembled a bunch of his guitars and a fabulous 1958 Les Paul, and had David Grissom demonstrate each guitar's tone so that everyone could determine how close -- or how far off -- the tone of the new guitars were to the acknowledged vintage classic. The very cool part was that Paul allowed anyone at the party to come up and play the guitars, and then share their views. Given the fact that not everyone gets to play a '58 Les Paul, it was quite a wonderful opportunity -- as well as a brave "shoot out" for PRS to put on. As Paul said, "I can't control my kitchen sink. I don't know what you'll say, but I encourage everyone to be honest." I couldn't stay for the entire presentation as I had a dinner to attend, but it was pretty spooky how close the various PRS models sounded to the 1958 Les Paul. The test amp was one of the new PRS models. I was listening from a distance of about ten feet, and while each guitar possessed subtle tonal differences, I'd be nervous if a blind test were introduced, as I'm not sure I could consistently pick out the 1958 LP from the PRS guitars. Fun times!