Let’s say you want to get on a plane and travel to the ass end of California just to look at guitars. Well, the Big Industry show is right around the corner and Texas Toast will be there once again. There are some attendance requirements… they don’t just let every dull eyed slug in off the street, even if it seems like it sometimes. It’s obvious that many of the people who show up for this thing are not big-time operators. Rather, they probably convinced someone who is a member to get them credentials. That’s what we did last year thanks to my good friend Gary Lenox. This year is different, Texas Toast is now a full-fledged member and in good standing too. We are about as far from being big shots as it gets but it’s still pretty nifty to be representing TTG… Even if it did cost several hundred dollars and I have to go back to Anaheim to do it. We will be doing lots more videos this year. Who knows what sort of fake news the conventional media outlets will want you to see? We are going to step up to the plate to bring you the kind of information freedom loving Americans have been asking for… Wait, that is for a whole different blog. Last time the video idea was almost an afterthought and we were surprised at how open to the idea of being on our YouTube channel the various companies and reps were. Unfortunately, we missed our opportunity to capture a rare sighting of Michael Angelo Batio on film but this time… we will be ready. If you have any ideas about things you would like to see let us know and we will try and bring you the scoop. If you want a sneak peek or predictions check out my buddy David’s YouTube video about what he thinks will be going on. He is a pretty funny guy too, tell him Matt sent you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UE4q4qduYz4 The first time you are at one of these things you want to see it all, only, you can’t see it all. I’m sure we will try to slum it for the entire loop again but there will be some things I am more interested to see than others. As a guitar maker I’m looking forward to seeing all the parts manufacturers. The companies that make hardware, pickups, cases and things I can use daily here in the shop are on the top of the list. I know there is something cool waiting just for me and when I find it I’m going to have my credit card ready As a craftsman I’m excited to see the products that small batch makers have come up with in the last year. I look up to guys like Kauer, Hartung and Knaggs and you know they will be there with a grip of 5000-dollar axes. Better yet, the really small, one off guys, are given a chance to show off in the custom builder area. Kinda like if Indian Larry and Billy Lane made guitars. I love to see the innovations from shops like these and last year there was a ton of crazy custom creations. The big companies make maximum usage of modern manufacturing procedures and I’d be surprised if human hands touch the guitars more than a few times from when raw materials arrive to when the guitar is ready to be shipped. I’m happy to see that the small shops are still making heirloom quality instruments. Of course, if I see anything good I’m going to steal it and make it my own. As a business man I want to get a feel for the state of the industry. It’s tough to make a living building a boutique guitar but people with tools and heart are doing it and… I’m a person with tools and heart. Rocky Balboa may have said it best “…What's crazy about standing toe to toe and saying "I am?” Of course, 13 year old Matt can’t wait to see all the big names, big 100 watt stacks, big hair and iridescent pink guitars! They still make that stuff… right? Finally, we made a lot of new friends last year and are looking forward to seeing these people again and catching up. The master plan is to get everyone to Turcs in Sunset Beach and have a big dive bar party, but I’ll be having plenty of those $8.00 beers at the convention center and we are all geared up to tailgate in the Disney parking garage once again if anyone wants to join us. Let me know what you want to see while we are at the NAMM show. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube and we will make sure we take pictures and make videos for all y’all that can’t make it this year.