Legendary Music Business Honored at NAMM Show
By Dean Lee 
Photo by Dean Lee

Long time music store owners Tom Seymour and his son and Rich Seymour were honored at this year’s National Association of Music Merchants show for 50 years of being in the retail music business. The two own and run the legendary Fret House music store in downtown Covina.

Tom Seymour said 1969, the year he opened, was a good year for music, “There was a big expansion in the mid to late '60s and there has been some retrenchment in the last 10 years.”

He said they started the store in 1969 with six acoustic guitars, “four of them came from my home living room.”

He said before that he was teaching guitar while in college.

Both Tom and Rich Seymour said about NAMM “We are looking for innovations in the lines that we carry and new products that are introduced and things that are new to the marketplace. "

They said this year C.F. Martin let them choose the wood for their guitars “We went with high altitude Swiss spruce top and Guatemalan rosewood for sides and back.”

Tom Seymour also said the new Fender American Acoustasonic Series, a hybrid acoustic/electric guitar was interesting but they are not sure yet if they will put them in the store. He said at $1,999 they are a bit pricy.

“Fender is going to have another less expensive model of it out later this year, we might wait for that,” he said.

Longtime friends of  Tom and Rich, Mica Thomas and Ron Wickersham of Alembic instruments were also given awards for 50 years in business for manufacturing.

Ron Wickersham started as the Grateful Dead's sound system engineer and Alembic, the company he started, was the guitar builder for Jerry Garcia.

The NAMM Show, January 24 through January 27 welcomed over 2,000 exhibiting member companies, representing 7,000 brands. NAMM started in 1902 in Baltimore and is the oldest music trade show in the country. The next show will be January 16 to 19, 2020.    

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