Documenting a Milestone

Jonah Jones, Ben E King, Jack Black, Bobby Watson, Elvis, John Carruthers
Posted by: on September 18, 2018

As most of you know, I am a fan! I truly do get excited about each interview because I appreciate and respect those who have given us music!  Along the way, I began gathering selfies (long before there was such a term) and the very first was with Milt Hinton when I was only 15. These selfies have come to be affectionately known as “Dan and...”.

Posted by: on April 23, 2018

The company was once referred to as The Mighty Wurlitzer! Perhaps this was because of the strength of its products, renown training program, and educational efforts. For me, the secret behind the power of the Wurlitzer Company was its people!

Posted by: on February 13, 2018

This special video was created by members of the NAMM staff to honor Hal Blaine, the studio drummer who was recently presented the Grammy Life Time Achievement Award. Congratulations Hal! If you'd like to see more about Hal Blaine, click here to check out the segment from our 2002 interview with him. 

Posted by: on September 18, 2017

When Santa Cruz Guitar Company celebrated their 40th anniversary in September 2016, the NAMM Oral History cameras were there!  It was an honor to take part in the celebration as we were able to capture several great interviews for our collection.

Posted by: on September 15, 2017

Over the years we have been able to document the history of many important NAMM member companies by collecting several different accounts of its beginnings, focus within the industry, and impact.

Guess Who I Just Interviewed!

Crown International Carry-In, Crown International , Crown International Interviews,
Posted by: on September 18, 2018

On August 18, 2018, the NAMM Oral History team was invited to attend the Crown International employee carry-in! It was an honor as the 200 plus people who arrived were all past employees of the company that had officially closed a month before the event. Folks from all divisions, and at all levels within the factory, came to see each other. As an outside observer, it appeared to me to be a big

Posted by: on March 26, 2018

Howard Ungerleider won the Parnelli Visionary Award in 2014 for a good reason, he is a pioneer in professional lighting!  What struck me during his 2018 NAMM Oral History interview was just how influential his ideas, designs, and innovations have had on the Live Sound industry. 

Posted by: on March 20, 2018

During the 2000 NAMM Summer Show in Nashville, there was a small display of vintage electronic instruments.  Among the items people stopped to stare at and even get their photograph taken with, was an early Fairlight!

Posted by: on September 12, 2017

Back in the fall of 2016, I spent a most enjoyable day at Muncie Music with owner Dave Helms. I was warmly welcomed by the staff while Dave was on the road calling on band directors. When he later arrived, I was able to capture four interviews including one with him and his longest running employee, Joan (pronounced Jo-Ann) White.

Posted by: on August 25, 2017

One element I enjoy capturing for the NAMM Oral History collection is the social aspects of the music that represents an artist.  A rather completing example of this is the music and social times of Peter Yarrow. 

Posted by: on August 25, 2017

Strange and delightful things happened the closer I got to the Dylan inner circle.  When I interviewed Garth Hudson, I could not get over the depth of creativity sitting right in front of me.  When my camerawoman and I arrived at the studio, I really did not know what to expect.

Posted by: on November 30, 2016

Can you guess what the following companies have in common?

Fishman Transducers, Rudy’s Music, Kretzer Pianos, Emerson Flutes, QSC, Oberheim Electronics, ARP, Fazola Piano, Leslie Speakers, Moog Music, Dean Markley Strings, Donn Bennett Drum Shop, Shimamura Music, Sennheiser Electronics, and Carma Lou's House of Music...

Remembering A Friend

Trummy Young
Posted by: on September 4, 2018

Trummy Young was the very first person I ever interviewed. His kindness and fascinating life captivated me and his interview became the foundation of my passion for capturing the stories of those in the music world, which is now my career, my dream job. As I write this blog, August 2018, it’s likely that I will record my 4,000 interview this fall. And to think, my first interview was when I was

Arne Berg
Posted by: on July 31, 2018

Arne Berg came into my life thanks to Yoshi Abe, the engineer behind the TEAC reel to reel recorder. When Abe-San was interviewed, he informed me that fellow audio engineer, Arne Berg, was living just north of me in Southern California.

Posted by: on October 24, 2017

Specs was a drummer’s drummer!  When I first sat down with Ed Shaughnessy (1929-2013) who played drums for The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, all Ed wanted to talk about was the lessons he learned from Specs Powell!

Specs was also a friend’s friend!  And I was humbled and honored to have known him!

Posted by: on October 5, 2017

Each time my wife and I take a walk in a new place, we take a moment to pick up a pebble to remember the experience. As I  reflect back on some of the influential people that I have had the privilege to meet and know, I thought of this concept: that learning a nugget of knowledge from these mentors is a lot like picking up a pebble. Each time I learn something new, I gain another pebble of wisdom.  Just last night, I learned of the passing of jazz journalist and dear friend, Cam Miller, who I certainly picked up several pebbles of wisdom from over the years.

Posted by: on September 12, 2017

A love of jazz first brought Eric and I together. We worked together for several years in the 1990s, but even after that working relationship ended, our friendship grew. He knew all about the bebop era and I knew about the swing era, and together we covered 50 years of jazz and explored all the other eras together.

Posted by: on August 28, 2017

Professor Fritz Sennheiser had a deep interest in audio, long before he designed a tube voltmeter and his first microphone after World War II, which launched his company, Sennheiser Electronic. He was born in Berlin in 1912 and by the time he was ten, he was already building his first crystal radio set.

Posted by: on August 25, 2017

No one I have ever interviewed embodied the wide-eyed excitement of a child and teamed it with the creative engineering of a world class scientist like Ikutaro Kakehashi. Mr. K was passionate and full of gratitude for "being lucky enough" to design and develop musical instruments, which as he often pointed out, would be held in the hands of great musicians who would then make the world sound better! 

Posted by: on January 4, 2017

The annual NAMM Tribute program is our industry’s chance to pause and remember those no longer with us. This special program includes the names and images of those who have passed away since our last gathering in Anaheim. This year’s program will begin at 5:30pm on Thursday January 19th in from of the NAMM Nissan Grand Plaza Stage outside of the convention center. With music and friends, we have a chance to reflect and remember. Please join us as our industry comes together to pay our respects.

Posted by: Dan Del Fiorentino on October 10, 2016

Don Buchla was among the most influential engineers in the early development of electronic music.  His Buchla 100 was used by a long list of electronic composers who wanted to explore the sounds that were possible on this instrument.  That list includes Morton Subotnick, Pauline Oliveros and Gladys Krenek.   In later years, his instruments were explored by a new generation of composers such as

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Lee Oskar, Charles Bickel, Paul Tanner, Dr. Robert Moog, Don Leslie, Dave Bartholomew, Carol Kaye, James Saied, Nick Peck, Denny Senseney
Posted by: on April 23, 2018

After interviewing thousands of passionate people in the music products industry, I wonder if when you listen to your favorite music you hear what I hear?

Posted by: on September 12, 2017

What I hear is a very hard to reproduce synthesizer sound on Stevie Wonder's hit "Boogie On Ragge Women". The electric musical instrument used on this song was the The Original New Timbral Orchestra or "TONTO" and was the engineering work of Malcolm Cecil and Bob Margouleff.

Posted by: on September 11, 2017

The opening flute solo on the rock classic "Going Up the Country" by Canned Heat was performed by studio musician Jim Horn.  As a young saxophonist, I noticed Jim's skillful musical talents on a number of my favorite recordings including Elvis Presley's Roustabout movie soundtrack and the Beach Boy's album Pet Sounds.  I was taken by the wide range of soun

Posted by: on September 11, 2017

Do you hear what I hear?  I hear the songwriter Mike Stoller howling at the end of Big Mama Thorton's version (the very first recording of the song, before Elvis) of "Hound Dog." Mike and his partner, Jerry Leiber, who wrote the words, both were on hand for the recording session.  In fact, Mike was playing the piano.  When the rest of Big Mama's blues band howled out at the

Posted by: on September 11, 2017

Do you hear what I hear?  It's a now famous drum beat on "Surfin' USA" by the Beach Boys. Maybe it has been some time since you paid close attention to the driving drums, but take a listen, you might hear what I hear. I hear studio musician Frank De Vito.

Posted by: Dan Del Fiorentino on October 5, 2016

I often wondered if you will be like me and listen to music or an instrument differently once you hear the story behind it.

Cool Item from the Archives

Posted by: on February 15, 2018

The following is a list of all locations of dates for past NAMM shows from 1901 to the present day. A downloadable PDF version of this list is also below. 

Posted by: on December 12, 2017

The NAMM archives recently received a generous donation of multiple vintage C. Meisel catalogs from former Meisel Accessories LLC President, Neil Lilien.  One catalog of special interest in Neil’s donation dates back to 1898! 

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Posted by: on December 7, 2017

In 1958 a photographer by the name of Art Kane was hired by Esquire magazine with the intention of snapping a photo that encapsulated the “golden age of jazz” and the result has been deemed “A Great Day in Harlem”.  Inspired by the photo and collection of iconic jazz musicians, filmmaker Jean Bach created the documentary “A Great Day in Harlem” which later went on to be nominated for t

Posted by: on August 25, 2017

Nothing beats finding and purchasing a gem of a historical item in an online auction site and that is what we did just recently when the archives acquired an original 1965 Chesbro Music Co. catalog.  While the catalog has some wear and tear as you would imagine due to it being over 50 years old, it is in great shape and fills in a gap that existed in our collection.

Posted by: on August 25, 2017

Among the interesting items in the NAMM Archival Collection are advertisements like this one that echo of a bygone era.

Posted by: on August 23, 2017

Grinnell Brothers Music House was founded by Ira L. Grinnell in 1879 and was headquartered in Michigan.  While this "Cool Item From the Archive" boasts 24 stores with their headquarters in a now designated historic building in Detroit, Michigan, Grinnell Brothers Music House continued to grow to include roughly 40 locations throughout the United States and Canada.

Posted by: on August 22, 2017

Our good friend, Herschel Green, recently sent in this amazing photo of the W.T. Wallace store front that advertised the sale and rental of pianos, organs, and even Shetland ponies!

Posted by: on June 6, 2017

The first annual convention and trade show was held in 1902 in the YMCA hall in Baltimore, Maryland.  Here is the first show map floor that was released to help visitors find their way around the show. 

Dan Del Fiorentino
Music Historian

Library, Do You Hear What I Hear?

Posted by: Dan Del Fiorentino on October 10, 2016

I often wondered if you will be like me and listen to music or an instrument differently once you hear the story behind it.

Library, Cool Item from the Archives

Posted by: Dan Del Fiorentino on October 10, 2016

NAMM was originally formed in 1901 and provided its first trade show the following year.  There is little we have in our archives of those early years (perhaps the closing of the headquarters for two years during the Great Depression had something to do with that).

Library, Remembering A Friend

Posted by: Dan Del Fiorentino on October 10, 2016

First and most importantly, it is a humbling statement that Scotty Moore was my friend!  Long before I knew his name, I knew that sound!  I could pick out his guitar licks on records that didn't even list his name on the jacket (expanded internet listings now give me confirmation).  When I was ten, my mom took me to the big city library where I boldly asked the reference librarian who was playi