Photo: John Barkiple

SLAMM Music Expo @ Super Top Secret 08.18

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That electric buzz during a live show? That’s a feature, not a bug. A gritty chord that stretches on and on after a pick leaves the strings? It’s an intentional sound effect cooked up by a clever engineer’s effects pedals, and it comes in many flavors. After Rob Gray attended the National Association of Music Makers (NAMM) expo in Anaheim where he saw thousands of musicians browse hundreds of booths in search of the perfect sound, Gray knew he wanted to give Salt Lake’s music merchants a similar, if smaller, experience.

The first Salt Lake Association of Music Merchants Expo drew hundreds of music-making enthusiasts to Super Top Secret’s event space from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 18. SLAMM offered everyone a chance to meet the people behind the sound. People like Jordan Gale from Highwind or Shea Sterner and Mark Wursten from Transmutation Devices, who build a variety of effects pedals that modify an electric guitar’s sound. Or people like Justin Pearce from Joe’s Guitars and String Kings, who’s building guitars with custom shapes and scale lengths. Salt Lake’s music-maker scene operates offstage, and it provides local musicians with the precision-engineered tools they need to create the sounds they want. And when it’s time to strum a chord, Salt Lake’s Black Harbor Sound will carry that note with alloys perfected for metallic mayhem and optimized for minimal fret wear.

SLAMM drew enough people and generated enough interest that Gray intends to return next year, and he hopes to expand with more makers and more guests. For now, it sounds like Salt Lake’s music engineers and makers are hard at work crafting community with as much care as they put into their instruments and effects pedals.