A lot of people complain about having to attend or work the NAMM show. I can certainly sympathize if you have to work a booth and schmooze dealers for five long days under an ear-splitting cacophony of instruments being sampled and demonstrated simultaneously.
Fortunately, TrueFire doesn’t exhibit because we don’t market our products through dealers or distributors, only direct to students anywhere and everywhere in the world. So we get to mosey around the show floor to our heart’s delight and when the noise gets too heavy, we slip outside for some fresh California air or an afternoon beach-bike ride in Santa Monica.
I love exploring NAMM’s exhibit halls — it’s a Disneyland for musicians. Hall E is my personal favorite, because that’s where the smaller and newer companies exhibit, and that’s where the best stuff is found: master luthiers galore, innovative pedal makers, boutique amps, and all kinds of cool accessories. It’s also a lot quieter down there!
My personal best find? I met Vicki Genfan there in Hall E. She was playing at a small booth along the end wall of the hall. I heard her from two aisles over and she “Pied Pipered” me directly to her with her irresistibly funky percussive tap/slap magic. As I got closer, I recognized her from one of the promo photos we were using for Muriel Anderson’s All Star Guitar Night, a benefit concert we produce at every NAMM show and which show Vicki was going to be performing at two nights later.
Muriel was featuring seven world-class female guitar players at the show, all of whom were representing La Guitara, a project sparked by Patty Larkin. Vicki, Patty and Muriel were performing along with Kaki King, Mimi Fox, Jennifer Batten and Ellen Mcllwain. The artistry and virtuosity of these seven women triggered out-of-body experiences for every member of that standing-room- only concert (treat yourself to a front row seat of that show).
I dropped to my knees and begged her to do a project with us
Back to Hall E and Vicki… we introduced ourselves, made the All Star connection, and without further ado, I dropped to my knees and begged her to do a project with us (yes, I am not too proud to beg). She said she’d think about it and that was good enough for me at the moment.
A couple of nights later at the show, Vicki performed one of her signature tunes, “Atomic Reshuffle” and the room went berserk. Backstage I begged her again to do a project with us. She said she’d think about it and that was good enough for me at the moment.
Vicki mesmerized the audience and the judges
A year or so later, Vicki entered Guitar Player magazine’s Guitar Superstar competition and performed “Atomic Reshuffle” in the final round. Celebrity judges included Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Elliott Easton, Brendan Smalls and George Lynch. The only female player amongst ten very gifted finalists, Vicki won the whole enchilada. Guitar Player’s editor-in-chief Michael Molenda is also a big fan, “Vicki mesmerized the audience and the judges” not just with her stunning technique, but also with her musicality and charisma. Even though she wasn’t playing an electric guitar plugged into a raging amplifier, she still managed to capture the unmistakable vibe of a true guitar star.
I called Vicki to congratulate her on the big win and again begged her to do a TrueFire project. She said she’d think about it and that was good enough for me at the moment. Now don’t get me wrong, Vicki wasn’t being elusive or playing hard to get. Quite the contrary. Anything and everything Vicki does is thought out and planned with exacting precision. Vicki just wanted to be sure that she had the curriculum fully mapped out before committing.
Vicki’s musicality and inimitable guitar prowess is well-documented
Ultimately my begging led to Vicki mapping out 3D Acoustic Guitar, her first TrueFire course and a masterful instructional of her extraordinary technique. My favorite video in the course is the performance of her magnificent “Atomic Reshuffle.”
Vicki’s musicality and inimitable guitar prowess is well-documented with hundreds of accolades in the media and tons of amazing videos on YouTube. What you won’t discover there is why we love her as much as we do. That’s why I’d like to share the attached video that we shot together interview style in the studio after the work was done. They’ll give you a glimpse of the person behind the artist and the soul behind the music.