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Winter NAMM | Musikmesse Frankfurt | Summer NAMM | Healdsburg Guitar festival | Music Shanghai
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Winter NAMM 2007

(Anaheim, Jan. 18-21)
Lulo Reinhardt

For the past few years, each Friday night at the NAMM show we have co-sponsored a concert, along with our friends at Saga Musical Instruments. These events have now become legendary, and a major highlight of the show; not only for ourselves, but for our many guests. This year's concert was no exception. It featured Lulo Reinhardt.

This was Lulo Reinhardt's first trip to the USA, and his one and only appearance on this trip. It was a privilege and a pleasure to be able to present this phenomenal artist in concert. The concert also featured the formidable talents of Raul Reynoso with New West, the Palm Springs Yacht Club, violinist Daniel Weltlinger from Australia, and Saga's own Tora Bora Boys.


The NAMM show in Anaheim was again a blockbuster for us. It is always our biggest show of the year, and seems to get bigger each year. Our booth was staffed by our full A-Team: my right-hand-man Gary Mobley, my partner Dave Coontz, and my dear friends Raul Reynoso, Mike Phelan, and Kelly Jordan. Oh, and me, too. Working with such good people makes the show fly by.


Harvey Reid, acoustic guitar virtuoso and partial capo pioneer, favored us with two sets in which he explored the intricacies of using multiple and partial capos. No one does it better. Harvey was largely responsible for our developing our partial capo back in 1995, and he's the perfect performer to demonstrate its use.

Not ALL of the action was at the Friday night show, though. Our 30-foot booth gives us some room to dedicate to playing music — without interfering with business —and we were visited by some truly outstanding musicians.


Latin guitarist Roger Espinoza was with us again this year. During his set, Lulo Reinhardt and I were sitting at the table just about three feet from where he was playing. Lulo was enjoying the music, and tapping rhythmically on the tabletop in accompanyment.
  "Do you play guitar?" asked Roger. While Lulo is well-known in Europe, most people, even players, in the USA aren't yet familiar with him.
The resulting, impromptu jam was truly memorable.


roger, lulo, rick
Roger Espinoza, Lulo Reinhardt, and me horning in on the act.



rick, sonia,luloRick Shubb, SONiA, Lulo Reinhardt


Talented singer-songwriter-guitarist SONiA was on hand. Her infectious style of performance and great songs brought a positive energy and warmth to the booth.


llulo trio
Lulo Reinhardt, Doug Martin, Daniel Wetlinger

On Sunday, Luis Villegas brought his trio and his own brand of Latin jazz to the booth. These guys have really become a favorite of mine and many others, as people asked all weekend if they would be performing. Their set drew quite a crowd, and brought considerable excitement to the booth.

Luis Villegas


My partner, Dave Coontz

Kelly Jordan

mike, gary, raul
Mike Phelan, Gary Mobley,Raul Reynoso

At the 2005 show I took some pictures with our commemorative TWO MILLIONTH capo on the millionth Martin guitar. Well, this year it was SANTA CRUZ GUITARS' turn. A much younger company, they were celebrating their 10,000th guitar. The guitar is really a thing of beauty! Never one to miss a photo-op, I brought the two millionth Shubb Capo (solid gold, engraved, and inlaid with diamonds and a sapphire) down to Santa Cruz Guitars' booth, and company president Richard Hoover and I took some pictures.

What do the millionth Martin and the 10,000th Santa Cruz have in common? Besides both being fine guitars, both were inlaid by the master of guitar inlay Larry Robinson, and both are eye-popping examples of his exquisite art.

Take a closer look at this incredibly beautiful guitar...



tora bora    kenny
Saga's Tora Bora Boys     |     Kenny Blackwell, who was sitting in with New West

rs     jaxon
Rick Shubb introducing New West      |    David Jackson    


palm springs
John Reynolds, Westy Westenhofer (Palm Springs Yacht Club)

John and Westy performing in an act of mutual bi-lobial fricatation
...I guess you had to be there.



Bob Reitmeier, Palm Springs Yacht Club,
best clarinet player on (or off) the planet

lulo   daniel
Lulo Reinhardt      |      Daniel Wetlinger


And last but not least....
the man who made the whole show run smoothly
(and he also sweeps out the booth at night)

the one... the only...

Raul Reynoso!

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MusicMesse Frankfurt 2007
Frankfurt, Germany


Our Messe booth. That's booth assistant Mathias Otterbein.

SONiA performing at our booth.


soina, rick, lulo
Lulo Reinhardt must have just played something amazing, because Sonia and I both look pretty tickled.

shubb girl


On Saturday (public day at the fair) I was chatting with Chris Middaugh at the Schertler booth, when I noticed a pretty girl proudly displaying a Shubb Capos bumper sticker.

Chris had his camera handy, and snapped this picture. We dubbed her The Shubb Girl. The aisles were very crowded, and I never did catch up to her and introduce myself. It's probably better that I didn't.



soniaSonia, Gary Mobley, Terry Irons (SONiA's manager).

Lulo plays a tune on SONiA's guitar.

Sonia performing on Musikmesse's Acoustic Stage

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Summer NAMM show
Austin TX. July 27— 29

kevinDuring setup day, Kevin Johnstone, NAMM's director of trade shows, was zipping around the hall on this two-wheeled scooter thing I'd never seen before. It's called a Segway, and it is quite the rage in Austin. Later that night, I saw dozens of them humming along the sidewalks around town.

Kevin gave me a lesson on how to ride it. It turned out to be pretty intuitive, and didn't take long to feel fairly comfortable.




rick      kevin

"Look Ma, no hands!" I didn't master the Segway to the extent that Kevin had, but he's a two-wheeler from 'way back. I don't doubt that he could pop a wheelie on this thing.


Gary with Texas singer-songwriter Katherine Dawn.
Note the Shubb bumper sticker as fashion accessory

gary, raulGary took a few minutes out on setup day to pick up some pointers on guitar from Raul.

While I was away from the booth, we had a visitor who bore a distinct resemblance to me. Or at least, to me when there were a few more dark hairs. He even dressed like I do. When I returned to the booth, I saw the picture below, but received no explanation. On the small display of the camera, it looked just like me, a few years back. Puzzled, all I could say was "what the hell ...?" An hour or so later I met the guy, who complimented me on being a good-looking fellow.



Richard Gilewitz arrived at the NAMM show around 5:15 on Friday afternoon, and I asked him if he'd like to play a few tunes on our John Jorgenson concert that night. That's pretty sort notice, but he quickly rounded up his gear from a hotel room and a couple of NAMM booths, and made it over to the ballroom just in time for a quick sound check.

A real pro, Richard remained unruffled and played beautifully on the show.


The John Jorgenson Quintet was incredible that night, and presented quite a bit of new material.
John Jorgenson, Charlie Chadwick
Gonzalo Bergara and Rick Reed, Stephan Dudash

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Healdsburg Guitar Festival 2007
Healdsburg CA
Aug. 17 - 19


This festival has been going on for many years, and it is practically in our own back yard, so it's kind of surprising that this was the first year we've exhibited. But better late than never. I'm thinking we will make Healdsburg a part of our regular annual trade show schedule.



It is a showcase for many of the world's finest independent luthiers; a real feast for any guitar lover, and a gathering place for discerning members of the guitar community. While I was unable to be there myself, our stand was capably staffed by trade show veteran Gary Mobley and Cindy Hawkins.


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Music Shanghai 2007
Shanghai, CHINA
Oct. 17 - 20


This year's Shanghai show was very much like last years; fast, busy, exciting, chaotic, and above all, LOUD beyond description.

At this time a year ago I reported that I felt many of the rough edges of this show would be smoothed out as the show matured. If there was any improvement this year, I didn't see it. Despite co-sponsorship by Messe Frankfurt, the Chinese style seems to trump the German influence. Still there is business to be done there, and some of it manages to get done even under these mostly adverse conditions.

Our indispensable interpreter and booth helper, Linda Zheng, joined us again this year and did a wonderful job. Gary Mobley's trade show toughness was put to the test, and he survived to tell the tale.

When I wasn't outside seeking relief from the unbearable volume level in the hall (although true quiet is hard to find anywhere in Shanghai) I could often be found playing banjo with Saga's Tora Bora Boys. We played two sets a day at Saga's booth, and also on the concert stage outdoors. It was fun to introduce so many people to a style of music they may never have heard, or even heard of before. They really seemed to enjoy it.

Gary and me, trying to look like tourists
Linda Zheng was both our booth helper and our guide to Shanghai. We could not have done the show without her.

During the first day a fight broke out among several visitors. I couldn't tell what it was about, but to me it didn't appear to have anything to do with the show itself. It looked like some kind of grudge they already had going. It had the appearance of a hockey brawl, only more genuine. These people were really angry. There were at least a dozen people grappling, punching and kicking, and many more around them pushing and shouting. Although there are hundreds of uniformed security officers on duty, in the narrow aisles it took them a VERY long time to reach the troublemakers and finally remove them from the hall. Meanwhile, the fight persisted intermittently for nearly half an hour. Although the fighting was very close to me at times, it never became necessary to defend myself.

The main activity of the security guards was hassling exhibitors to protect articles from theft. If either Gary or I would put our briefcase down for a minute, a guard would run up and tie it to a table or chair leg with some ribbon. At first they told Gary he could not use his laptop computer at the booth. Well, he sort of needs it. When he persisted, a guard came around and tied it to the table with that same red ribbon. A thief with a pair of scissors would still do OK.

One thing is clearer to me than it was last year: Music China will continue to have its own style. It will not become Frankfurt East, and it will remain a far cry from the well-oiled machine of NAMM. It will remain chaotic, both before and during show days, and at least one of the halls will always be way too loud, because its organizers have shown that they are unwilling to control it.

But this show will also continue to grow in importance, because many in the trade see China as a land of opportunity. Important enough to put up with the negatives? Perhaps. I'll be weighing that decision in the months to come.




The great gypsy guitarist Lulo Reinhardt was on tour in China, and Shubb Capos and Saga musical instruments sponsored a show featuring his jazz quartet at The Melting Pot, a restaurant and bar in Shanghai.

Lulo and his frequent music partner, violinist Daniel Weltlinger from Australia, spent some time at the trade show during three of the four days, as well.

Also on the bill at the Melting Pot on Friday night was Saga's own bluegrass band, the Tora Bora Boys,
and in this case that included me on banjo.

lulo and doug

At one point in the evening Lulo and Doug Martin honored us by using their Shubb capos on a tune. Although capos are almost never used in jazz, they can be, and to good effect. And they weren't just messing around, either. They capoed at the second fret to play the Django Reinhardt classic Manoir Des Mes Reves, also known as Django's Castle.

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