Worldwide trade distributor John Hornby Skewes & Co. Ltd. has proclaimed Winter NAMM 2011 as the company's most successful show yet.
The Leeds, UK-based firm was making its fourth appearance at the musical instrument trade's highest profile show, held annually in Anaheim, California, and saw its booth - stocked with more than 100 guitars from the Fret-King, Vintage, Santos Martinez, Encore and SpongeBob SquarePants Real Musical Instruments ranges - subject to more interest than ever before.
A number of high profile players were on-hand to showcase JHS guitars and their playing. Renowned string bender Jerry Donahue played a number of raucously received sets on his brand new Fret-King Black Label Series JD guitar, which he designed in cooperation with Trev Wilkinson. More Fret-King Black Label guitars will be revealed in the coming months, all designed with the help of influential and respected guitarists.
Donahue played a set with fellow guitar great Will Ray (his Hellecasters bandmate) and also jammed with Matt Smith, JHS's resident axe demonstrator at the show. Matt frequently took the crowd's breath away with his wailing slide guitar licks, and his one-off Fret-King Matt-Matic - a self-tuning single cutaway presented to him by Trev Wilkinson - drew plenty of envious glances.
Wilkinson himself was also on the JHS booth, frequently making jaws drop as he demonstrated the Fret-King Super-matic self-tuning guitar, the guitar innovation of the century. The Super-matic's ATD HT440 bridge lets the player tune to six presets (including standard tuning, open E, open G, DADGAD and more), five of which can be overwritten to user-defined choices.
US distributors of Fret-King and Vintage guitars, MDG (Musical Distributors Group), were a solid presence on the JHS booth, as were Canadian distributors MIDC. They were able to attract interest from a number of new dealers at the show, and in the week since NAMM closed its doors, MDG have already sold their whole initial stock of Fret-King Super-matic guitars.
Steve Savvides, MDG's President and founder, commented: “The Fret-King Super-matic is definitely the most innovative guitar technology to come around in many, many years. We at MDG are proud to be able to introduce this amazing and innovative product to the US market. This is a great addition to the already strong Fret-King and Vintage offerings. It was an impressive showing at NAMM and we look forward to a great 2011 with JHS.”
MDG have also taken on the stunning, unique Fret-King Atelier and STVDIO models that were at the show. Each hand-built in Trev Wilkinson's workshop in north-west England, these guitars are one-off examples that float the boundary between musical instrument and work of art.
Meanwhile, the Vintage electric and acoustic guitar ranges continued to prove their reputation as the best playing, looking and sounding guitars in their price-range. Particularly popular were the beautifully distressed Vintage Icon electrics, the all-new Vintage V100AFD Paradise, a rocking single cutaway with flame maple veneer cap and Zebra pickup, and the Gordon Giltrap signature acoustic, which has been receiving rave reviews across the board since its release last year.
JHS Managing Director Dennis Drumm said: "After a staggering 32 NAMM shows, I can honestly say that 2011 Winter NAMM was the most intense one I’ve ever done, with Vintage and Fret-King being welcomed with wide open arms by US dealers, who without exception expressed total satisfaction with the brands. Our US distributor MDG enjoyed their first winter NAMM show with our brands, dealing with a constant flow of dealers who’d heard the buzz about the brands, and just wanted to place orders!"
Drumm added: "The message is clearly getting through at international distributor level too, with several new distributors signing up at the show, bringing Vintage and Fret-King to even more musicians around the world and bringing the tally to over 70 countries! What gives me the biggest buzz is seeing all the work Trev Wilkinson and I put in to our brands translated into wide smiles, as folks new to the brands play the instruments for the first time and totally “get” the proposition!"
For more information on the wide range of equipment distributed by JHS, visit the website at: www.jhs.co.uk
John Hornby Skewes & Co. Ltd.:
The NAMM show: