On Saturday, March 29, 2014 there was an event at the Long Beach Convention Center that should have been of interest for Southern California musicians. The 2nd annual Guitar Center Musician’s Expo was an opportunity for us common folks to see a lot of the new gear that was introduced at the Winter NAMM show in Anaheim.
Guitar Center is the big daddy of music retailers, and I admire that they are trying new things despite the crushing debt they are staggering under and their general lack of direction. Through their relationships with their suppliers and vendors, they were able to feature equipment from 100 vendors, including Ernie Ball, Shure, Zildjian, Fender, QSC, Orange, Yamaha, Pioneer, American DJ and more. There were company representatives on hand to answer questions, and the equipment was out for the unwashed masses to touch and use. Most musicians are not able to go to NAMM, and I know they enjoy seeing and playing gear that is not even at dealers yet.
Besides the gear there were performances from bands and artists, including Rome, Dug Pinnick and GIlby Clarke, as well as artist and DJ workshops and plenty of demos. Highlights for me were getting to see some old friends and having the opportunity to play with the new QSC TouchMix and the new series of Yamaha MG series mixers.
There was equipment on sale at great prices, though it was hard to tell what was for sale and what wasn’t, and many of the vendors were not clear about what the actual sales process was. Also, there was almost no advertising for this event, and postcards mailed out to their local customers would have been a good idea.
Supposedly there were free tickets available at the local Guitar Centers, but none of them had any so I had to pay $5 to get in, as well as parking at the convention center. Considering that they were selling stuff it should have been free.
These minor gripes aside, I had a good time and appreciate that Guitar Center is able to hold this event right in my backyard, and I hope they can keep up the tradition.
I hope to see you there next year!