Best In Show at Summer NAMM 2017 Highlights Great New Gear

Best In Show, the popular NAMM University breakfast panel discussion, named 18 new products and four companies that exemplify excellence at Summer NAMM.

Six retail experts shopped Summer NAMM and presented their favorite products and companies in four categories. On the morning of July 15, in the Music City Center Grand Ballroom, they discussed their selections in front of nearly 300 NAMM attendees.

The categories were:

Best In Show — The best product or service that panelists saw at  Summer NAMM

Companies To Watch — Exhibitors with trendsetting products and/or services

Gotta Stock It — Products that retailers want to stock right now, if they haven’t already

Best Accessories And Add-ons — A great product from the small-goods arena


This year’s panelists were:

  • Robert Christie, President, A&G Central Music, Madison

Heights, Michigan

  • Carol Cook, Owner, The Music Room, Palatine, Illinois
  • Todd Johnson, Manager, Groth Music, Bloomington, Minnesota
  • Bobby Montemurro, Senior Director, Pro Audio Sales and Marketing, Al Music, Middletown, New York
  • Gabriel O’Brien, Sales Manager, Larry’s Music, Wooster, Ohio
  • Tim Spicer, Owner, Spicer’s Music, Auburn, Alabama


Summer NAMM’s winners are listed below.


Best In Show

Remo Rhythm Lid (Selected by Tim Spicer) “You can use them as hand drums, or you can pop them and slide them right onto any bucket that costs $2.50 at Lowes or Home Depot. Not only is this an affordable way for some of our younger students to get involved in drumming, but it is also an accessibility thing for me.”


Ortega Eclipse Series Guitars & Ukuleles (Selected by Carol Cook) “I just love this product. Itʼs beautiful. Itʼs well designed. Itʼs going to fly off our shelves. I can feel it already.”


Breedlove USA Series (Selected by Gabriel OʼBrien) “If youʼve ever gotten to the end of a gig and [you feel] like the “127 Hours” guy and youʼre ready to carve off your arm because your shoulder is killing you so bad, these weigh hardly anything. Theyʼre just killer guitars for the money and very ethically sourced. Itʼs a hard thing to find in this range thatʼs U.S.-made.”

Artiphon Instrument 1 (Selected by Todd Johnson) “It does everything. Itʼs crazy. It looks like a space ship. It looks like a Chapman Stick from 2020. You can cradle it and play it like a violin. You can play it like a guitar. You can lay it down on the table and turn it into a keyboard. Itʼs really affordable.”


SJC Custom Drums Mappa & Bubinga Snare Drum (Selected by Robert Christie) “Theyʼre a custom drum manufacturer. They make stuff thatʼs eye-catching, beautiful and sounds amazing.”


Universal Audio OX (Selected by Bobby Montemurro) “You can put it in the guitar department, and it can start a conversation. It becomes a conversation about DSP, about plug-ins, about how easy it is to get into home recording, and how you can, basically, get a great guitar sound without buying a $10,000 guitar rig. Itʼs pretty hip.” Gotta Stock It


MXR Carbon Copy Deluxe (Selected by Tim Spicer) “Itʼs just a tried-and-true delay pedal. We sell a ton of [MXR] pedals. Theyʼve just come out with this Carbon Copy Deluxe, which has everything you need, including the same carbon copy tones. We project that this pedal is going to take off. If youʼre in the guitar pedal world, I would highly suggest you throw this in your store.”


Loog Guitars (Selected by Carol Cook) “I love the Loog series of guitars because there are three strings on this neck — and only three strings — and they are tuned identically to the first three strings on a guitar. First of all, it makes for faster and easier learning on the guitar. When itʼs time to transition into a six string, it makes for a seamless transition.”


Vintage Guitars (Selected by Gabriel OʼBrien) “They just have killer, killer designs. They play great, and they sound amazing. Theyʼre really affordable. We love them.”


Yamaha P-115B Keyboard (Selected by Todd Johnson) “Itʼs a simple, 88-key instrument with graded-hammer action. You can split it. You can layer it. Itʼs simple to run. Itʼs not complex. You just turn them every day. I canʼt keep them in stock. I just have to give kudos to Yamaha for their Yamaha P-115B. Itʼs a proven seller.”


Hamilton KB130E iPad Tablet Holder (Selected by Robert Christie) “The Hamilton KB130E iPad Tablet Holder holds any size tablet. The adapter on the bottom is just a standard microphone stand adapter, so thatʼs great. It also comes with this little device that will allow you to adjust it to fit on virtually any kind of stand. It allows you to stock one item that will cover a bunch of  your customers.”


Korg Grandstage Digital Stage Piano (Selected by Bobby Montemurro) “On the retail floor, itʼs just going to pop. Itʼs got seven different sound engines. The way itʼs laid out is incredibly intuitive.” Companies to Watch


Supro (Selected by Tim Spicer) “Supro is coming back, and theyʼre on fire right now. Not only do they have some awesome amps and pedals but they also have great guitars and basses. They feel great, they sound great, and theyʼve really taken off.”


Ortega Guitars (Selected by Carol Cook) “We have been a dealer for Ortega for about a year now, and thereʼs a lot of things in the last year that I’ve experienced just by having an affiliation with the company.”


LD Systems (Selected by Gabriel OʼBrien) “LD Systems is a killer company to work with. They make really great portable P.A.ʼs. When I started out as a singer-songwriter, the worst part of any gig was setting up and breaking down. Think about walking into a gig or coffeehouse and literally being able to set up [really] fast. It sounds great. It will fill a room, and it has multiple channels. They also have Bluetooth. Itʼs a great product at an astounding price point.”


Cherub Technology (Selected by Todd Johnson) “Most of the worldʼs tuners are made by one company — Cherub. And, theyʼre here now. For a long time, the Cherub brand wasnʼt available in the U.S., but itʼs all been in Europe. They make just about everybodyʼs tuners, except for maybe a couple. Cherub has kind of branched out. Theyʼve got the NUX pedal line, capos and metronomes.”


Zylia (Selected by Robert Christie) “You can make a circle around the microphone, and you can get a really good recording with just one microphone. Once youʼve got that recording, the software does its magic, and breaks it into individual tracks. This will give you a multi-track recording that sounds fantastic. One microphone, one cable and one computer. Itʼs really cool.”


Universal Audio (Selected by Bobby Montemurro) “A lot of these companies will make the same thing over and over again. Universal Audio seems to take a new approach to everything they release and come up with what they believe is the best version of their product — not necessarily what their competitors are doing. I think the stuff they do is groundbreaking.”


Best Accessories and Add-ons drumdots (Selected by Tim Spicer) “When we heard about drumdots we thought we would give them a shot, and we were blown away with not only how well they performed but how easily they sold themselves.”


Cooperstand Pro Instrument Stands (Selected by Carol Cook) “We have a classy looking store, if I say so myself, and these instrument stands are very classy looking. Theyʼre wooden. They collapse into two or three times smaller the size. You can put it in your gig bag. Itʼs very affordable.”


Digitech SDRUM (Selected by Gabriel OʼBrien) “Itʼs a drum machine for guitar players, which means itʼs really simple to use because guitar players canʼt do complicated things. I love it. Iʼve been a big fan of their Trio pedal, and itʼs based on that technology.”


Option Knob WingMan (Selected by Todd Johnson) “It gives you the ability to adjust [your effects pedal] with your foot. Itʼs really a cool little device. Itʼs really affordable. Itʼs a great counter piece.”


Killer Q Killer Quick Release Saxophone Strap (Selected by Robert Christie) “Itʼs super easy to adjust, which is good for the kids. You can play tug of war with it, you can’t break it, and it wonʼt slide down, so your sax stays put.”


Isovox 2 (Selected by Bobby Montemurro) “It allows everyone to have a world-class studio environment in their house. It looks like a storm trooper helmet.”


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