I am so energized from the great time we had at the NAMM show! We had a dream team working the MusicMedic booth this year, with Jeff, Rich, Matt, and myself showing our line of instruments, tools, and supplies; many of which were designed and manufactured in-house in Wilmington, North Carolina.
This year I had some extra time to walk around the show and check out what other vendors had on display. Downstairs was primarily guitars and sound equipment, with many of the cheap import woodwind manufacturers no longer there. Woodwinds were on the first floor this year with few of the big manufacturers out of Asia representing, likely due to agreements with distributors. I did get a chance to see some boutique woodwind makers from around the world and a number of importers. There were some cool instruments, but one thing I noticed is that nearly every single saxophone I looked at had sticky pads! These were the instruments that were selected as the best representation of the fleet to be on display for people to try, so that made me wonder how bad the problem is. Big names, boutique high end, and cheap imports- so many sticky G#’s and Low C#’s, more than I could un-stick myself!
It occurred to me that I’m really spoiled. Long ago, I began using kangaroo leather because of its non-stick properties, and I also changed how our standard tan pads were manufactured once we moved pad production in-house. Our tan pads are far less sticky because they aren’t shiny and heavily coated with sealant. We finish our tan leather with a proprietary thin matte finish sealant to make the pads moisture resistant yet functionally much more useful and non-stick. The result is pads that are far less likely to stick.
We were absolutely thrilled and honored to be selected during the Best of Show Ceremony as a “Company to Watch”. More about that later!
One of my favorite things about NAMM is catching up with friends and seeing what they’ve been up to. We saw Jim Schmidt and his awesome horn and his awesome pads. He had some exciting new pads so I ordered a set and can’t wait to try them! We also got to hang out with the Tim’s Music Crew and I particularly enjoyed catching up with Scott Mandeville, of whom I always appreciate his patience and mentorship.
I was floored to hear what Aaron Moss is up to! He is beginning to offer repair classes in a public high school setting. The next generation of repair techs will be getting started early and we will be wholeheartedly supporting this effort in any way we can!
Throughout the course of the week, we talked to a whole lot of people about the next Saxophone Smackdown. It’s top secret right now, but what I can say for sure is that it will be Epic! And will probably take place in late 2020 or early 2021. More details to come!