Video: Summer NAMM Conference Gadget Recap

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I descended upon Nashville’s Summer NAMM conference/trade show with high hopes of finding a plethora of musically oriented gadgets to ease and augment the playing experience for ostensible and pro musicians alike. How did it turn out?

Well, let me first say for the record that we do cover music gadgets here; gizmos, tools and instruments with technology at their heart or portability in their design fit in with the mission of TechCrunch Gadgets. To be sure, there is a lot of innovation in the space of music gadgetry…I guess I just didn’t see a large focus on it at the smaller, summer gathering of this giant trade show organization. There was more of a concentration on standard musical instrument retailer offerings. We’ll see if I can get to the extravaganza that is Winter NAMM early next year to search some more because I have heard rumors there will be an entire mobile app/software section to explore.

However, I don’t want to sound like Debbie Downer, because I did find a couple of interesting and compelling devices, gadgets and instruments at Summer NAMM. Items by  JamHub, Pick-Smith, The Juliet Collective, and Cupit Guitars all made the cut this trip. The recap video below shows a couple of them in action with some Lanikai Banjo-lele interludes for your musical enjoyment.


While JamHub is an older device, it’s worth noting that they are still pushing their idea. In many ways I think their concept makes even more sense now in 2011 than it did when they launched it in 2009 with portable recording tools really hitting stride in the market, but that’s just me.

The other gadget to consider is the Jam Kat, by Pick-Smith. I can’t decide if this little doo-dad is a stroke of genius or just another piece of plastic to add to the entropy pile. At first glance it seems like a total gimmick—a guitar pick on a spring-loaded ring (see video for demo)—yet I have to admit that after further contemplation, the concept grows on me. I am still not sure if I would ever use an item like this myself but after watching a few demos, I can see the potential. Nifty.

The final questions that remain in my mind two days out are:

  • Did I miss a massive U2 tribute show (see the impersonators above)
  • Why did I develop a southern accent while speaking with Jerry Cupit?