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electronic MUSICIAN

Craig's List: Five Tips for NAMM Newbies

By Craig Anderton | February 1, 2012

Like speed traps, Starbucks coffee shops, and muggers, the Winter NAMM supersized convention is just around the corner! Going for the first time? We''re here to help.

1: Beware of appointment safaris.
NAMM is soooooo big that if you make an appointment in Hall E and your next one is in Hall A, you cross a time zone and you''ll end up being an hour late. Or an hour early, I always forget which. Some people even get jet lag going from one end of the convention center to the other.

2: Bring earbuds with a 1/4" adapter.
You can''t hear anything on the show floor. What? Oh, I said, “YOU CAN''T HEAR ANYTHING ON THE SHOW FLOOR!” But if you claim you''re from Some Huge Music Retailer and you''re considering buying 10,000 ‘thingies,'' the demo people will sometimes let you plug into the unit''s headphone jack. Just remember to run away real fast when they go to find a purchase order.

3: Let''s do lunch!
Hungry? There''s an eatery on the convention center roof (really). It''s so secret that I can''t tell you where it is, but ask a security guard, “Where''s the undisclosed location where Dick Cheney used to hide?” Next, give the Special Password (“twentydollarsifyoutellme”), then he''ll give you directions—but only after running a background check and swearing you to secrecy.

4: The E-Z way to insanely great demos.
Find someone with a Guitar Center or Sweetwater badge, then follow them at a discreet distance. Exhibitor hearts get all a-flutter when Big Buyers come around, and you might as well benefit from the beatific aura of potential prosperity they emit.

5: Fanboi protocol.
If you see someone famous, don''t go up to them and say something like, “Hey, you''re Alan Parsons!” Trust me on this—they know who they are. Well, maybe not after happy hour starts, but you get my point.

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