I’ve never been to a guitar show before so had little idea what to expect. The answer to that is a mixture of guitar store and a jumble sale. What I wasn’t prepared for was the noise, I don’t like crowds too and whilst some bits were chockablock you were able to chart an irregular course around.
Before going I’d made a list of who I wanted to visit and managed to hit most of them – some just were nowhere to be seen. They might have been cohabiting with another exhibitor – but were not on the plan.
My first port of call where I stopped was Crimson Guitars. As a follower of their YouTube channel I was curious to see what the guitars were actually like and wanted to pick up some stains and finishing oil. Sadly they only had the guitars, which all looked pretty fine. I spoke to James for a bit and then ran off at the exposure to another human being.
Next I hit the Yamaha stand where there was a distinct lack of Pacifica action (I’ve wanted to try out the 311 and 611 for a while now). But they did have an array of RevStars. I played on a selection of them and now I’m in love with the RS620 Guitar in Brick Burst – would love to own one.
Shergold had their Masquerader guitars out on show from the SM01 to the SM04. I’ve been fond of these since they came out – playing the SM04 the strings felt a long way apart which put me off. Perhaps great for chord playing – something to revisit I think.
On the subject of putting myself off guitars I’ve been eyeing up the Fender Duo Sonic range (so to fuel my inner Kurt Cobain). After picking a couple up, I was less excited. I still want a second hand Jag-Stang. That would make life complete.
Patrick Eggle, I believe, had a hand in the Shergold design but he also had a display of his own name guitars there. All very good I assume, but also out of my price range.
It’s hard to judge a pickup by standing there and looking at them, there were stands a-plenty containing them. The standout ones being customisable bare knuckle ones.
I did swing by Warman guitars and got a set of three of their Firebucker mini-humbuckers to turbo-charge the Choirboy. Whilst there I picked up a neck to play with on future projects.
The new Ibanez AZ range looked mighty pretty, but the stall was always very crowded. PRS similarly so.
Top marks to Ernie Ball / MusicMan. Their display stand had guitars of all price ranges set up with headphone amps to play with in peace. Very good guitars too.
Cort were upstairs with the acoustic guitars, but they had the Matt Bellamy signature electric on display. I wish I’d picked it up and had a go because it often enters my desires.
Lastly for downstairs was the JHS brands stall, including Vintage, Supro and Danelectro. All which look really good, especially considering the price ranges they occupy.
I came to see what the brands had to show, not the guitar stores. So didn’t examine the 100s of guitars on sale
Security were also doing their job well, spotting me with a guitar neck hanging out of my bag and insisting I go back and get a receipt to prove I wasn’t making off with it.
I brought sandwiches with me having expected conference centre food to be overpriced and terrible. But the curry tent outside looked amazing.
Two companies I couldn’t find were Iron Gear (I wanted some chrome humbuckers) and also TateFX for some of their amusing pedals, including the Brexit Means Brexit one.
And that’s the end of that. Will I go again? I’m not sure. Paying £15 to look around some shops seems a bit off and a 5 hour round trip was tiring.