January 29, 2024 I Event

‘Best in Show’ Awards Top Gear, Services at 2024 NAMM Show

The 2024 NAMM Show Best in Show panelists present their top picks during the packed Sunday morning Breakfast Session.

Gear took center stage again at The 2024 NAMM Show, especially during the Best in Show panel in the main ballroom of the Anaheim Convention Center on the last morning of the show. Held Jan. 28, Best in Show, which was moderated by Frank Alkyer, president of Music Inc. magazine and UpBeat Daily, served as the final NAMM U breakfast session with seven retail-buying experts presenting their top picks for the gear and services they saw across the show floor.

The categories were:

Best in Show — The best product or service the panelists saw at NAMM.
Company to Watch — An exhibitor with trendsetting products or services.
Gotta Stock It — A product that retailers should stock right now.
Add-ons & Accessories — A great product from the small-goods arena.

This year’s panelists were:

  • Robert Christie, President of A&G Central Music in Madison Heights, Michigan
  • Lana Negrete, Owner of Santa Monica Music Center in Santa Monica, California
  • Mike & Miriam Risko, Owners of Mike Risko Music in Ossining, New York
  • Laura Penrose, Owner of Nick Rail Music in Santa Barbara, California
  • Cyph Shah, General Manager of Astro Audio Video Lighting in Glendale, California
  • Jim Tuerk, Director of Business Development at Reverb.com in Chicago


KraftGeek Music Stand — Selected by Robert Christie
“This is their first time at The NAMM Show. They saw a need, and they came to solve it. Whenever I see a product that solves an issue, I gravitate that way.”

Eastman Series Plus — Selected by Lana Negrete
“We do something called the hip-hop orchestra at our store, and the kids were gluing on pickups to their string instruments in order to participate. This product solves that problem. It’s really about getting our young, budding musicians interested and continuing to play. This product helps reach that younger demographic of players.”

On-Stage Guitar Workstation — Selected by Mike & Miriam Risko
We love this workstation for our lesson rooms. Usually, we’re putting an amp down and looking for a place for the cables, but built into the bottom of this unit is a pedalboard. On top, there’s a shelf for picks, your phone and all your other accessories. It keeps everything really organized.”

Gator Someone Somewhere Cases — Selected by Laura Penrose
“These Someone Somewhere Cases are really a global idea. They’re made down in Mexico, all the fabric is loomed there and it’s all sustainable. It has a little QR code on the inside that tells you who made it. I was so impressed with Gator’s idea on sustainability with these cases.”

Mackie Mainstream — Selected by Cyph Shah
“This unit can be used as a video mixer. Ergonomically, it’s well-designed. It requires no setup whatsoever — so I think Mackie really hit it out of the park with this one.”

Korg PS-3300 Recreation (along with its entire booth offerings) — Selected by Jim Tuerk
“I always try to chose something for Best in Show that I want to bring back home with me, and literally Korg is it. [Namely the forthcoming recreation of] the PS-3300, which has been brought into the modern world modeled after the original.”


JJ Babbitt — Selected by Robert Christie
“Some of the most iconic artists have used their stuff. They have these 100-year-old legacy brands, and they’re working on how to move those into the future, while still respecting the past. Trace Rorie is their new president and COO and he’s working in that mindset.”

100Group — Selected by Lana Negrete
“As a retail owner, when I took over the family business, I found out that we had three pages of credit card fees. The 100Group is supporting us an industry and taking the time to learn so much about our industry. You think ‘Oh, fees, whatever.’ But it all adds up, and they’re doing more than saving you on your credit card processing fees. They’re also building a POS system that works for us.”

Kala Brand Music Company — Selected by Mike & Miriam Risko
“They really offer everything. They make student ukes all the way up to pro-level instruments.”

John Packer Musical Instruments — Selected by Laura Penrose
“They just purchased Michael Rath Trombones, and they’re just really great people to work with. I can’t wait to expand our work with them with new addition of Rath Trombones.”

Shure — Selected by Cyph Shah
“Shure has done a great job in promoting their products. They are big enough to sit idly by, but they don’t do that.”

Third Man Hardware — Selected by Jim Tuerk
“The brand is curated by Jack White of The White Stripes. White puts his aesthetic into instruments and a tools that work for everyone. I’ve been seeing so much upside and so much innovation from this brand.”


ReedGeek — Selected by Robert Christie
“If you stock it, you will sell it. ReedGeek lets you perfect your reed, and students will get a better result by putting this on their mouthpiece.”

Kala U-BASS — Selected by Lana Negrete
“These are perfectly small but come in awesome, amazing colors. They make such an amazing sound for such a small instrument.”

Gator Cases Grooves Hardshell Drum Cases — by Mike & Miriam Risko
“The cool thing about these cases are they come with a cymbal bag inside, and they lock together.”

Backun Alpha Bass Clarinet by Eastman — Selected by Laura Penrose
“Not only is this an affordable clarinet, but it comes in two different models and it has undercut and overcut tone holes.”

American Recorder Y-SERT — Selected by Cyph Shah
“Everyone who does audio should put one of these in their bag, and everyone who sells audio or musical gear should stock these.”

Yamaha Seqtrak — Selected by Jim Tuerk
“This is a great instrument at a really great value. It’s an all-in-one synthesizer, and it’s a growing market. No matter if you’re a B&O dealer or a guitar dealer, having something like this in stock it would be important for your younger customers.”


Peterson Stroboclip HDC — Selected by Robert Christie
“Clip-on turners are always a great add-on, but we sell ourselves a little short. These new Peterson Stroboclip HDC tuners really reaches that next level of player.”

Boss GM-800 Guitar Synth — Selected by Lana Negrete
“My staff was in love with this. They couldn’t leave the booth. You can connect it to any guitar or bass and turn it into a synth.”

Lava Cables — Selected by Mike & Miriam Risko
“We love this cool cable because it rolls off the highs. Musicians care about having great sound, a great amp, a great pair of speakers, but they should also care about having great cables, and these are that.”

Vox Wah Pedals — Selected by Laura Penrose
“It’s a cool idea and a great way for Vox to get back to their roots with these Wah pedals. Plus, they sound killer.”

Gravity LED Stick — Selected by Cyph Shah
“It’s created for a DJ case or mic stand, but it also works great for product displays, as well.”

Stylophone Theremin — Selected by Jim Tuerk
“This is a super cool product that’s very wiz-bangy! My kids like using it, and I plan to incorporate it into some of my recordings.”

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