Musikmesse 2018: Highlights and Impressions

26.4.2018 by Team Bbop

As usual the European music world focused on Frankfurt last week for Musikmesse 2018, and the Bbop team was there to take it all in.

The event has been shifting in recent years towards a more business focus and away from the casual visitor, and this trend continued in 2018. There were noticeably less major brands offering their line of instruments to try and many fewer testing sessions for guitar pedalssynths, drums etc. Instead, the focus was on trade and connecting shops, distributors and manufacturers.

There is also an increased focus on education and demonstration sessions, and these gave some interesting opportunities. For example, the quick workshop with guitarist Guthrie Govan was very interesting despite his being unable to hide his lack of enthusiasm for the event.

Every year there seems to be a lot more of one item than expected, and this year it was accordions. Around every corner in the acoustic hall it seemed there was another beautiful accordion stand with professionals showing how it’s done. Whether that represents a trend in the industry or our random observation is hard to say. There was also a noticeable increase in companies from Russia and Eastern Europe, and we finally got to try a hurdy-gurdy!

As usual the most interesting gadgets were to be found in the DJ/audio/recording area. One trend seems to be custom-made in-ear monitors. Several booths showed in-ears which can be used for mixing/mastering and can be made to fit your ear exactly.

Though the “Amp World” turned out to be one German store displaying the various amps they sell, the re-launch of Hiwatt amps, now under Canadian ownership, was a highlight. Likewise the “World of Vintage Guitars” was mostly limited to 1960s Fender models.

Most of the drum and percussion hall was taken by GEWA, the German distributor for Paiste, Gretsch, DW and others. The launch of the DW’s electronic drum line gained the most attention.

The event space is a soulless gathering of huge blocks of concrete, with the various halls spread hopelessly far apart and laid out in a confusing and random fashion. And it doesn’t get much better when you leave in the evening, as Frankfurt is perhaps the least musical city in Europe. This combined with the renewed business to business focus gives the fair an overwhelmingly corporate feel.

Still, there were many great instruments to be played and interesting people to meet, and the (expensive) German beer always goes down well at the end of a long day. See you next year!

(We will be profiling some of the cool things we saw at Musikmesse in coming weeks).


Miniature amps from Joyo were part of a larger trend of very small amps.

Dimavery Guitars had the most beautiful exhibit and some well-playing guitars.

1952 Les Paul once owned by Dickey Betts of the "Almann" Brothers :)

Hofner Verythin electrics impressed with their quality and look.