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Winter NAMM | Musikmesse Frankfurt | Summer NAMM | Music China
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Winter NAMM 2006
(Anaheim, Jan. )

Moments after the show opens, Mike and Raul gang up on the first person to stop by the booth.
It got busier shortly after that.


Mike Phelan, Raul Reynoso


When my wife had first met Mike, but did not yet know his name, she referred to him as The Man with the Nice Smile.

Kelly Jordan

My partner since the dawn of time, Dave Coontz

Richard Gilewitz, guitar wizard
What would a show be without him? He is like part of our family.

Steel guitar sensation Robert Randolph stopped by the booth to say hello: striking a characteristic pose in front of his own signature steels.

I drove home late Thursday night on an urgent matter, and flew back to the show Sunday morning, so I missed Friday and Saturday. My wife flew down with me, returning to the NAMM show for the first time in a few years.

The part of the show that I'm sorriest to have missed is our Friday night event. Reports are that it was a real killer, and considering the talent we had on hand, it couldn't have been otherwise.

Thanks to David Gartland of Saga for stepping up to the plate and pinch-hitting for me Friday night. And thanks to some of my favorite musicians and good friends who were on hand: David Jackson, Michael Fleming, Westy Westenhofer, Bob Reitmeier, John Reynolds, and of course, the great John Jorgenson and his quintet.

Most of all, thanks to Raul Reynoso for doing double duty again this year, both as a key member of the booth team and spearheading the Friday night event.

A great player and a great friend, thanks for making the Friday event possible, and for making the Anaheim NAMM show a pleasure.


raul and john
Raul and John trade 4s

john and doug
Likewise, John and Doug Mattocks... the original Rhythm Brothers.


Bob Reitmeier

Westy Westenhofter

David P. Jackson

mike fleming
Mike Fleming
john reynolds
John Reynolds




Stephan Dudash

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Musikmesse Frankfurt 2006
(March 29- April 1, Frankfurt, Germany)

gary and mathias
Mathias Otterbein and Gary Mobley
Mattias helped at the booth. His fluency with many languages proved valuable.

using our solid gold, 2 millionth capo

julian dawson
Julian Dawson
Also played a set using our commemorative capo.

frankfurt rainbow
This is my favorite picture that I have ever taken.

What I loved about the Frankfurt show was that I got to spend time with my dear friends, John and Linda Pearse. Each afternoon around 5:00 John and I would sequester ourselves in the lounge at the Maritim Hotel, and discuss the events of the day (and practically everything else) over a few glasses of champagne. When a stunning rainbow emerged in the sky, I got up from the table and took this shot. Note the two champagne glasses on the table. The two objects that look like UFOs are reflections of the ceiling lights in the lounge.

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Summer NAMM show 2006
Austin TX, . July 19-21


Gary Mobley couldn't make the summer show this year because of a family emergency. Right up until a couple of days before the show we still thought that Gary might make it, but that was not to be.

I was already in Austin, at my hotel room, when I got a call from Raul Reynoso, at home in California. I'd spoken to him a few days earlier about being shorthanded for the show. I knew he had plans for that weekend, and was reluctant to ask him to come to Texas, but he could sense my need in spite of me. The next morning he was on a plane to Austin.

I am so glad he came. He's become a trade show veteran by now, and of course, he did a great job. Infinite thanks to Raul for his special effort to be there in my time of need. Friends don't come any better than Raul.




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Music China 2006
Shanghai China, Oct.

Music China 2006 was thoroughly exciting. It is not yet as big as Musikmesse Frankfurt or Winter NAMM, but like most other things in China, it is growing fast and anxious to catch up.

There were major sound level problems the first two days, with some of the larger booths being so loud that it was nearly impossible to do business. But business was there to be done, and would not be denied. By the third day, show officials began to gain control of the sound, and the show became almost workable.Trade show warrior Gary Mobley braved the often deafening cacophony, and was sometimes able to conduct substantive meetings amidst the chaos.



Linda Zheng was indispensable, not only as our excellent booth helper and interpreter, but also in guiding us around Shanghai and helping us to adjust to Chinese culture and protocol. This show would have been impossible without her expert assistance. Thank you, Linda.


Energy was high, business was brisk, and attendance was good. There are still many kinks to be worked out: sound levels (louder than Musikmesse!!); the air conditioning shutting down in the afternoon (it was hot!); dozens of sleazy guys aggressively trying to sell you a cheap watch (get with it, security); insufficient local transportation (over an hour to get a cab after the show); some dropped communication with booth suppliers, and a few other details. It is not as smooth as a NAMM show, by any means.


Linda Zheng

The day before I flew to China, I got a call from Richard Keldsen of Saga. He'd just learned that their usual banjo man was not making the trip to Shanghai and invited me to join them for the two daily shows at their booth.

The sets we played ranged from impossible to really fun, depending on the noise level in the room at the time.

In either case, we always drew a crowd of curious people, many of whom were probably hearing (or at least, seeing) bluegrass music for the first time. Cameras snapped nonstop, and many new fans posed with us onstage between songs; sometimes even during songs.

tora bora

It was not uncommon for people in the crowd to jump onto the stage with us for a photo op.



For three days following Music China, Gary and I visited Seoul, Korea. I had a few of hours' worth of business to do there, and the rest of the time was for fun. Our good friend, Mr. Paul Kim, was a gracious host as he and his charming wife, Micaela, showed us around and gave us a taste of Korea. We enjoyed the food, the culture, and the people there very much. We had a wonderful time, and will treasure the memory always.

(back row, members of a traditional Korean dance.
front row: Paul Kim, Rick Shubb, Gary Mobley)


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