Tuesday, January 19, 2010

High Tech and Soul Patches


My old Day to Day colleague Shereen Meraji asked me to go to the NAMM music show in Anaheim and do a story for All Things Considered, where she now works. And I was only happy to do so.
It's the biggest musical instrument show in the country - maybe the world. And it turns out that musical instruments, while not recession-proof, are pretty steady sellers in good times and in bad.
There is a lot of emphasis on technology, of course. The guy in the pic is playing something called an Eigenharp that costs six grand and can pretty much make any sound. But among the things that interested me - and didn't make it into the story - was a company that makes guitars specifically for girls. Daisy Rock makes instruments that are a little lighter in weight, have thinner necks, and come in lots of sparkly colors. It turns out that less than 10% of guitars are bought for or by women. Daisy Rock thinks one reason is that traditional guitars are too difficult for girls, who often have smaller hands, to wrap their fingers around. So, a business plan.
But at the end of the day, NAMM is like so many other trade shows. There's just so much stuff, so many booths with so many things, that it all just becomes a blur. I'm sure these shows serve a purpose, and that lots of business gets done there. But frankly, after about 3 hours, I couldn't wait to get outta there.
Here's the NPR story.

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