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Birmingham Guitar Show 2011 Review

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It was a good weekend for Birmingham. Not only were the “blue half” of the city rejoicing in their first major silverware since 1963 by winning the Carling Cup Final, it also hosted the 2011 Guitar Show, staged at the New Bingley Hall, just a couple of miles outside of the city centre.

…the show didn’t disappoint. A really good venue, with a wide range of exhibitors and it was interesting to spot a few famous faces among the crowd…

The Birmingham Guitar Show was organised by UK Guitar Shows, the company who scheduled the Bristol Show in September 2010.

The New Bingley Hall is a nice venue, perfect for exhibiting a guitar show of medium proportions; free parking, lots of space for exhibitors to display their goods, air conditioning (albeit a bit cold!), a bar, clean toilets and a separate room (upstairs) for live performances/seminars.

On entering the show, one thing struck me; the noise levels. It was loud, almost too loud at times. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sound of a cranked amp, but I did find myself straining to hear what many of the exhibitors were trying to say with regards to their latest stock.

The high noise levels led me to feel somewhat sorry for the acoustic guitar manufacturers. It was nearly impossible to hear their guitars; a side room off the main hall was the only place to truly hear an acoustic in action (and it was VERY cold), so maybe for future shows more thought needs to be considered for the acoustic guitar representation.

Nevertheless, the show didn’t disappoint with an impressive range of manufacturers and guitar products on display. Exhibitors included:

  • Patrick James Eggle Guitars
  • Dave King Acoustics
  • JJ Guitars
  • Beryl Guitars
  • Yamaha
  • Vigier
  • Melancon Guitars
  • Vanquish Guitars
  • JHS
  • Budda Amps
  • Laney
  • Ibanez
  • Vox
  • Line 6
  • Gibson
  • Home of Metal
  • The Guitar School
  • Chickenbone John

and many more…

All the exhibitors that I spoke with were very approachable and engaging and all seemed to be on good form despite being on their feet the entire day.

The highlight of the show for me was probably hearing the Budda V-20 amplifier head in action. I recently read a review of that amp and in the flesh I was seriously impressed as it’s capable of some awesome classic rock tones and reacts extremely well to changes in guitar volume/tone control.

In addition, the guys at Line 6 really impressed me; traditionally, I’m not a huge fan of amp/guitar modelling, but I found myself fighting against liking the new Variax and the Spider Jam amplifier. What awesome guitar products, even if every bone in my body tells me not to say that…

Last but by no means least, I met my good friend “Ben Jammin” at the show, and being naturally drawn to the acoustic guitars on display, he had the opportunity to play on a lovely Ramirez guitar and it sounded fantastic, especially when played by the classically trained girl who was representing “The Guitar School”.

In summary, the show didn’t disappoint. A really good venue, with a wide range of exhibitors and it was interesting to spot a few famous faces among the crowd including Duff Mckagan (Guns n Roses).

For future events, it would be ideal for acoustic guitar retailers to have their own quieter room, as I really feel they probably got the rough end of the stick last weekend.

All in all, a well organised, well presented show with plenty of items to make a serious dent in your wallet.

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About the author:

Sam is passionate about talking all things guitar related and started GuitarJar.co.uk to help encourage all guitarists in their guitar playing journey.

2 Comments

  • i would agree with the comments made regarding the acoustic players lack of a dedicated area.i had a few words with patrick eggle on this very subject whilst at the show who seemed to accept the situation as a fact of life !.
    i saw only one person attempt a try out of one of his works of art.
    the guy in question strummed a d chord and what you heard was the flying v being thrashed a few feet away!.
    i didn’t even notice a side room!.

  • I heard some show deals and they were pretty impressive, very tempted by a takamine at some nice negotiable prices and the spider jam came with one of the most slick demos there…

    Cheers for the guitar porn vid btw :p

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