Ryan Bruce performance at the Cleartone Strings booth—NAMM 2015

One of the things I liked the most about the 2015 NAMM Show was how easy it was to come across people I’ve recognised from the Internet and/or bands. For example, I saw John Petrucci, George Lynch, Paul Riario, The Tone King and Ryan Bruce. I know those people aren’t all huge on Twitter, but that’s where I like to hang out (hence the Twitter links). I also came across people who knew who I was (once I gave them one of my business cards or plectrums). That was flattering and weird. Because I am nobody.

Better than just seeing someone I recognised, was watching and listening to them play live at NAMM. That’s exactly what I did when Ryan Bruce played at the Cleartone Strings booth. It was pretty impressive to be honest.

I captured the first two songs on video using just my iPhone. I’ve uploaded the second track I captured to YouTube for your viewing and listening please. Probably your viewing pleasure more than your listening pleasure. iPhone audio is not that great. If I’m lucky enough to go back again another year I’ll invest in something like the iRig Mic Field by IK Multimedia.

I didn’t record the entire performance because I wanted to see the rest of the performance through my own eyes, for myself. Not through the back of my phone. I’m glad I did that. It’s hard to hold a iPhone to record and not let your body move to the music. I love a good riff.

One thing I’ll say before I embed the video is this. For such brutal and heavy distorted tones, I was really impressed with how clear the notes were. I can’t say how much of that was the Cleartone Strings or how much of that was due to the JamUp Pro settings Ryan used, but it was an amazing tone. I have JamUp Pro, but I’d never tried/seen Cleartone Strings. Luckily I found a set at a local Guitar Center on the day I flew back home. I’m looking forward to trying them out myself.

The saddest part of the day for me? Walking back to my hotel at the end of the day and answering my phone. As I pulled my phone out of my pocket I heard a plectrum hit the ground. I had collected a few plectrums that day from exhibitors and the like. It was dusk and I couldn’t see the plectrum on the ground. I gave up, got to my room and worked out that it was the Riffs, Beards & Gear plectrum I’d lost. I was rather pissed to be honest. Oh well, another reason to go back another year I suppose. I’m sure my wife will be OK with that.

Hopefully I’ll have another video to post soon of another performance I captured at NAMM. That place was one living, breathing guitar performance factory. But with better working conditions. Probably fewer unions too.

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