What Is NAMM and Why Does It Matter?

If you spend any amount of time following music gear publications, Facebook pages, or forums, you'll probably see "NAMM" mentioned a lot over the next few weeks (and, indeed, you probably already have). For us in the business, NAMM is an industry focal point. But if you’re just a casual gear fan and musician, you might be wondering what this whole NAMM thing is all about anyway.

In its simplest definition, NAMM—which stands for the National Association of Music Merchants—is a trade organization for the music gear industry. When people say NAMM, they're usually referring to the organization's annual January show in Anaheim, California, which brings together pros from every corner of the industry. In total, the show usually sees around 100,000 total attendees between exhibitors, artists, press, and the general public. This year, it's taking place January 16–19 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

So what exactly goes down at the NAMM Show?

Product Announcements

Perhaps the most important part of NAMM is its place as a venue for gear manufacturers to announce new products. In fact, NAMM is so central a launchpad for new music gear products that most makers in the industry save their product news specifically for announcement at the show. As such, NAMM provides a platform for brands to speak to the press and their retail networks about new products and start building hype.

Sometimes, brands will even preview prototype gear at NAMM that's not yet available to general consumers. There's a glib saying that I've heard batted around that defines NAMM as, "Not Available, Maybe May."

Nonetheless, the NAMM show has been the site of a staggering number of important gear introductions since its start in 1901.

Of course, a positive NAMM launch is not a surefire recipe for success. In many cases, production delays or design shortfalls can derail even the most powerful NAMM hype trains. Here on Reverb, we often see some heavily discussed NAMM releases selling used just a few months later for seriously reduced prices.

Dave Smith
American Standard
Offset Telecaster
EarthQuaker Devices
Avalanche Run
Source Audio
Launch Price $499.99 $2999 $1399 $295 $299
Current Used Price $425 $2300 $1199 $260 $260
Started Selling January March May April January

What We Can Expect From NAMM this Year

A number of makers have already announced some exciting new products ahead of the show opening next Thursday—and we expect a lot more: killer reissues of vintage gear, creative takes on well-known instruments, and new tech that just might change how music is made.

You can follow along with all of the latest and greatest releases from now through January 19 at our "NAMM 2020: New Product Releases and Highlights."

What Does Reverb Have in Store for NAMM?

This year, as every year, the Reverb crew will be on the floor at the NAMM show to shake hands, shoot video, and take in all the news and musical revelry. Follow us on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for up-to-the-minute coverage from every corner of the NAMM floor. If there's a particular new product or brand you'd like to get the skinny on, let us know via those channels or in the comments here, and we'll do our best to cover it.

If you happen to be attending NAMM yourself, come find our booth: 5220 in Hall D. We'll have interactive stations full of unique vintage and used gear, where you can learn about the history of your favorite instruments and ways of making music.

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