John Mayer, Brian Wilson, Slash and others headed for NAMM

Anaheim becomes the world’s music Mecca next week with the return of the annual National Assn. of Music Merchants trade show, which expects to draw more than 90,000 industry insiders.

The NAMM show is where makers of guitars, drums, keyboards and other musical instruments and sound gear show off their latest wares to retailers, and they’ll fill just about every inch of the Anaheim Convention Center for the Jan. 19-22 show.

But it’s the who, not the what, that makes this the West Coast’s biggest trade show. Along with top-notch studio musicians, NAMM always features an array of music stars. John Mayer, Slash, Tommy Lee and Sheila E are among those scheduled to be at NAMM next week, and Brian Wilson will be awarded the Music for Life award at the media preview day Jan. 18.

Along with the official events at the convention center, there are invitation-only parties at various venues nearby. Guitar World magazine, for example, will put on a party at the City National Grove of Anaheim featuring Zakk Wylde, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Duff McKagan and Scott Ian.


With all those hot artists – and instruments – on hand, NAMM is a big draw not just for music business types but anyone who loves music. Alas, tickets are reserved for NAMM members and exhibitors and their guests.

“There’s no way you can buy a ticket to NAMM,” said Scott Robertson, a spokesman for the Carlsbad-based trade group.

NAMM organizers have to turn away uncredentialed guests each year, Robertson said. The group also fields endless requests from the public for tickets.

“We usually tell them to go down to their local music store, and if they are a good customer, to ask the owner for tickets.”


Credentialed journalists can get in, however. One more reason to hate the news media.


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