April 17, 2023 I Event

Best in Show Highlights Top Gear at The 2023 NAMM Show

The 2023 NAMM Show Best in Show panelists present their top picks during the packed Breakfast Session.

Best in Show, which annually serves as the final NAMM U Breakfast Session during The NAMM Show, was held on the morning of April 15. Seven industry experts presented their top picks for hottest, most innovative gear they saw during the three-day, 2023 NAMM show. The event was moderated by Frank Alkyer, president of Music Inc. and UpBeat Daily.

The categories discussed were:

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

This year’s panelists were:

Chris Tso, Vice President of Merchandising & Marketing for Full Compass in Madison, Wisconsin
Jim Tuerk, Director of Business Development for Reverb in Chicago
DeDe Heid, President of Heid Music in Appleton, Wisconsin
Glen Noyes, Director of Merchandise, Drums & Percussion for Guitar Center in Westlake Village, California
CJ Hockenbury, Co-founder of Impluse Music in Santa Clarita, California
Cindy & Rand Cook, Co-owners of The Candyman Strings & Things in Santa Fe, New Mexico


Shure GLX-D+ Dual Band Digital Wireless System
Chris Tso
“This system can be summed up in three words: ‘connectivity without complexity.’”

T-Rex Binson Echorec, Schara Distribution
Jim Tuerk
“It’s just so cool. If you’re a guitar player or if you like Pink Floyd, this is probably the coolest unit and definitely the [product] I had the hardest time walking away from at the show.”

Martin D-15E
DeDe Heid
“This guitar is the first model to include Martin’s new proprietary pickup system. Besides that, it’s a great guitar for those intermediate players.”

Ludwig NeuSonic
Glen Noyes
“This kit is completely upgraded from the last one, and it just jumps out. Congrats to Ludwig on an incredible product.”

Eminent Technology Model Twenty Guitar Speaker
CJ Hockenbury
“This speaker looks like a picture frame and weights maybe 25 lbs maximum. There’s no collapse, and I think everyone should stock this. Touring is getting harder for musicians, space is an issue and this literally weighs nothing.”

Eastman Winds ETS852 52nd Street DS Model Tenor Saxophone
Cindy & Rand Cook
“We kept coming back to this product over and over throughout the show.”


Xchange Market Platform
Chris Tso
“Xchange is the largest music software marketplace in the world. There’s no inventory carrying cost and no-risk inventory means more cash flow for the retailer using it.”

Jim Tuerk
“Recently acquired by Cortek, DigiTech is back. There’s a whole host of reissues set for the year, and we’re really excited that the original team is assembled and ready to bring the brand back.”

Eastman Music
DeDe Heid
“Eastman Music is really about the people, the product and the possibility. [It’s] adding to [its] portfolio, and the company is all about [its] people and the strength of [its] people. They’re always there for my team.”

Tamburo Drums, Distributed by Proel
Glen Noyes
“This Italian drum company has three different series, and they’re new to the U.S., so it’s nice to have some new competition with [a brand] that’s innovative.”

Neural DSP
CJ Hockenbury
“They care about the people they work with. Their new product is incredibly light, and players can capture other effects. It’s like another version of sampling if you will.”

My Music Staff
Cindy & Rand Cook
“It’s our mission to follow through with the ‘more to start, fewer to quit’ initiative, and My Music Staff really focuses on the ‘less to quit’ part. It makes your program so much more effective. They just keep working and working and adding and adding. I believe they’re part of the reason that our lesson retention is so high.”


Gator Cases’ New Cable Bag
Chris Tso
“If you have cables, it’s like peanut butter and jelly. You need this bag.”

Polyend Tracker Mini
Jim Tuerk
“This portable audio workstation is a great entry point for people to create music. Plus, it allows them to create music differently.”

Noisy Clan Decoder
DeDe Heid
“This interactive learning aid simplifies music theory to help the musician focus on playing.”

Tama Stagestar Drum Set
Glen Noyes
“For the price it is, this is a drum set you have to stock — at the very least for the holidays.”

Laney IRF Ironheart Foundry Loudpedal
CJ Hockenbury
“It’s cool to have a piece of equipment that’s not only professional but has an effects loop that can also power cabinets. As touring gets more expensive, items like these are a must.”

Fishman Acoustic AFX Pedal
Cindy & Rand Cook
“The Fishman Acoustic AFX is a super flexible little pedal system, and it’s a great ‘gotta stock it’ for the acoustic guitar players out there.”


On-Stage SMS7500 Wood Studio Monitor Stands
Chris Tso
“These new monitor stands from On-Stage are a great add on to all studio monitor sales.”

Soma Laboratory Terra
Jim Tuerk
“This is a really cool company that makes really cool synths. The Terra is a piece of wood that has a synthesizer built into it.”

Walrus Audio The Fundamentals Series
DeDe Heid
“This new pedal series features great starter pedals for players to learn on.”

Sela Percussion, Chimes & Singing Bowls
Glen Noyes
“The health and wellness portion of the industry brings new customers into our stores. Sela’s Venti Chimes are perfect for musicians, and they’re unique. There’s nothing else like them. The Harmony Chimes have two models — a seven note and a nine note — and they’re all tuned to C.”

Vega-Trem VT2 Teletrem
CJ Hockenbury
“Installation is so easy that anyone can do it, and it turns a beginner guitar into a professional one.”

Black Mountain Slide Ring
Cindy & Rand Cook
“These slides move easily and slide up to your knuckle so you can shred easily.”

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