Great Gretsch Fun in the Great White North

May 18th, 2017

On Saturday, May 13, 2017, members of the The Gretsch Pages (GDP) and Gretsch-Talk online communities with support from Gretsch Guitars participated in the fifth annual Canadian Roundup–a gathering of Gretsch Guitar enthusiasts.  Along with live musical performances, attendees were treated to food, prizes, and fire branding with the “official” Gretsch branding iron!  It all happened at the Royal Canadian Airforce Lodge in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Over 100 attendees from near and far brought their guitars to display, jam, and socialize with other like-minded, friendly folks.

Here are some event highlights in pictures:

Gretsch Guitars Everywhere!

Gretsch Display

Paul Overly from Baltimore, MD, and Paul Shannon from Philadelphia, PA found time to jam together.

John Beldman showing off his 1933 model #25 Archtop, serial #113.

Mark Rehkopf from Kitchener, Ontario won a NEW G5622T center-block model from our “Pick-Drop” game. Congrats!

Young guitarist Sebastian Craig's mom, Cylvie, drove her son to the Roundup. Then mom ended up singing with the band!

And the cherry to top off the day was when attendees had the opportunity to fire brand a wooden board that proudly displayed their signed event “proclamation” that stated, “PRESENT & ACCOUNTED FOR AS A MEMBER IN GOOD STANDING”. A few folks got carried away and branded guitar cases. (See videos below.)  One attendee even branded their car bumper!

The "G" Brand ready to roll!!

Branding Videos!

Many thanks to local Authorized Gretsch dealers, Center Stage Music (Kingston, ON) and The Guitar Corner (Kitchener, ON) who were present and showed support by displaying store-stock Gretsch inventory and donating prizes.

And a special, big THANK-YOU to Mr. Joe Carducci, a great Gretsch brand ambassador, who puts his heart and soul into every event for the benefit of Gretsch fans worldwide!!

Joe Carducci with Bill Henry from Kingston, ON.

Joe with Apostolis Kustoms and Marisa from Montreal.

Joe with Solomon Woodland from Napanee, ON.

Thanks to all who attended! Hope to see you next year in the Great White North!



Gretsch Greatest Hits…And Hitters

May 10th, 2017

Nathaniel Townsley: Gospel Groove To Funky Fusion

by Fred Gretsch

Nathaniel Townsley is a relatively new Gretsch Drums artist, having joined the roster in 2016. But he’s certainly not new to the drumming scene. In fact, Nathaniel has earned a reputation as a “quiet giant” among knowledgeable drummers who’ve followed his amazing career over the past two decades.

Like so many drummers of his generation, Nathaniel’s career began in church—his father’s church, as a matter of fact. Playing drums to gospel music from the age of three gave him a spiritual and a musical foundation—as well as an unshakeable sense of groove. As he grew and gained more experience, he also developed astounding technique and versatility, due largely to the diverse influences of drummers like Buddy Rich, Steve Gadd, Joel Smith, Will Kennedy, Bill Maxwell, and Dave Weckl. This versatility, in turn, has made Nathaniel a first-call drummer for a wide-ranging roster of artists. He’s recorded and/or toured with musical legends Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, and Nile Rogers, along with other stars including Corey Glover, Special EFX, Chris DeBarge, R. Kelly, Dru Hill, Public Enemy, and Lalah Hathaway.

While doing all of this, Nathaniel established himself as a drum clinician and educator. His appearance at the 2003 Modern Drummer Festival is still spoken of today by the 1,000 drummers who were lucky enough to see him in person. He also wowed the audience at the Montreal Drum Fest audience two years later, and he’s been conducting workshops around the world ever since.

Nathaniel gained international prominence when he was tapped by Weather Report founder Joe Zawinul to anchor the musical pioneer’s later band, the Zawinul Syndicate. Joe recognized the young drummer’s ability to groove and to burn—and to do everything in between. Nathaniel played with the Syndicate from 2002 until Joe’s passing in 2007.

In the years since then, Nathaniel has continued to work with major artists around the world, including his current primary gig with Grammy-winning Spanish superstar Alejandro Sanz. And he frequently returns to his roots in the Gospel world, recording with leading Gospel figures like Donnie McClurkin, Rev. Timothy Wright, and Tramaine Hawkins. And Nathaniel’s 2007 recording with his own trio, titled The Big Idea, is an absolute gem that showcases his talents as a drummer, composer, and bandleader. (Check it out at

Blessed with a musical passion that’s balanced by a humble and sincere personality, Nathaniel Townsley is still a quiet giant—one who lets his playing do all the talking. And with that playing, he has a lot to say.

Video Clips:

Nathaniel plays and discusses the 2017 Gretsch Renown kit.

Here’s Nathaniel on a live show with singer Kennedy and her band, The Kennedy Administration, at The Groove in New York City, in January of 2017.

Nathaniel did an incredibly funky performance in 2016, with bassist Alex Bershadsky, guitarist Oz Noy, and vocalist Kama Kamila.

While on the most recent Alejandro Sanz world tour, Nathaniel conducted a master class at Inca Drums in Lima, Peru.



Elmhurst College Jazz Festival’s 50th Anniversary

April 26th, 2017

The Elmhurst Jazz Festival featured performances by several top professional bands, including the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.

Any time that Elmhurst College holds its nationally-recognized Jazz Festival, it’s a major event on the musical scene. But the 2017 Festival—held this past February 23 through 26—was especially noteworthy (pun entirely intended). It was the Festival’s 50th anniversary, marking a half-century of presenting stellar jazz artists appearing in combination with the finest high school and college bands from across the country.

Although the roster of “name” artists appearing at the Festival was impressive, the focus was—as it has been from the beginning—on the young musicians who took part. The opening day was dedicated to high school jazz ensembles, while the remaining days saw performances by college bands. Elmhurst College director of jazz studies (and Festival coordinator) Doug Beach commented, “I’m so impressed with the dedication of [these young] musicians, and the seriousness with which they take the music. They’re not fooling around; they really care about it.”

February 23rd was marked by the Festival’s first-ever opening night concert. The evening’s headline artist was legendary jazz vocalist and Grammy winner Dee Dee Bridgewater. And in another nod to the 50th anniversary, National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters honoree Bill Holman closed the Festival on the 26th with his big band, performing a piece commissioned by the college to commemorate the occasion. Performances in between included the Grammy-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra (which evolved from the former Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra) on the 24th, and the Patrick Williams Big Band on the 25th.

Drummer/composer Dennis Mackrel served as a judge for the band competition, and was a guest performer with the Elmhurst College big band.

Additional jazz luminaries who presented master classes and/or served as judges in the band competitions included pianist and composer Michael Abene, baritone saxophonist and flautist Denis DiBlasio, saxophonist Pat LaBarbera, drummer and composer Dennis Mackrel, bass legend Rufus Reid, and trumpet icon Bobby Shew.

The Elmhurst Jazz Festival actually came out of the ashes of the former American College Jazz Festival. That was a nationwide competition for which Elmhurst served as a regional site. Regional winners received all-expense-paid trips to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., where they would compete in the finals. In those days there was substantial financial support, primarily from large corporations. But in the early 1970s the economy took a downturn, and—as often happens—arts financing was one of the first things to go. But when the ACJF organization saw its demise in 1973, the administration of Elmhurst College, led by former dean of students Jim Cunningham, stepped in to keep the concept alive. The result was the institution of the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival, and the rest is musical history.

That history has been paralleled by the growth of the jazz program at the College itself, which now offers a major in jazz studies, as well as courses in music business. The college’s own jazz band is internationally regarded following several major tours. In 2014, no less an authority than Downbeat magazine named the band a winner in the large jazz ensemble category of their Student Music Awards.

Of course, neither the Festival nor the jazz program at the college could survive without financial support. And while that support comes from dozens of organizations, corporations, and individuals, one major contributor has consistently been the Sylvia and William W. Gretsch Memorial Foundation, which was established by Fred W. Gretsch in honor of his parents. In addition to being the president and fourth-generation leader of the Gretsch Company (manufacturers of top-quality drums and guitars), Fred is himself a proud alumnus of the Elmhurst College business program, and he and his wife Dinah have been major supporters of musical activities of all kinds at the college for many years. Along with the financial contributions received by the Festival from the Foundation, Gretsch drumsets were provided for use by all of the professional and student drummers. And beyond the Festival, the college also boasts the Gretsch Electric Guitar Ensemble and the Sylvia and William W. Gretsch recording studio.

Jazz great Peter Erskine anchored the Patrick Williams Big Band, on a drumkit provided for the Festival by the Sylvia and William W. Gretsch Memorial Foundation.

While “popular” music seems to morph from style to style on a constant and unpredictable basis, jazz—referred to by many as the only legitimately original American music—has been around since its inception in the 1920s. But that doesn’t mean it has remained stagnant all that time. As Doug Beach put it, “[Jazz] is very aware of its history, but it’s also looking to see what can develop from what hasn’t been done yet.”

That development is what the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival is really all about. Said Beach, “The Festival provides a place for young students to perform, to be heard, and to develop their craft. It also gives them the chance to hear other musicians. You always learn from listening to someone else. A lot of the pros who have performed here over the years played [at the Festival] when they were in college.”

And it’s entirely likely that some of the students playing at this year’s Festival will return as the pros of the future. In jazz, as in most everything else, what goes around comes around. We can only wait, see, and enjoy.




Dinah Gretsch Named to The Women’s International Music Network New Advisory Board

April 6th, 2017


Leaders from all walks of the music industry join to advance advocacy for women in music

The Women’s International Music Network (the WiMN) is proud to announce the members of its newly-formed Advisory Board. Comprised of a dynamic group of leaders, its members represent a broad range of roles in the music industry. The group will serve to advise and guide the WiMN, contributing time, ideas, and resources to aid its growth and outreach.

Members of the new Women’s International Music Network Advisory board include:

  • Mindi Abair – GRAMMY-nominated saxophone player and singer/songwriter
  • Brian Berman – Vice President of Marketing, Guitar Center
  • Janet Billig Rich – Founder, Manage This Media
  • Dawn Birr – Commercial Manager, Audio Recording, Sennheiser Electronics Corporation
  • Monique Boyer – Director, Artist Relations | PRO Membership, M.A.C Cosmetics
  • Rob Christie – President of A&R, Robo Records
  • Tish Ciravolo – President, Daisy Rock Girl Guitars
  • Lisa Foxx – On Air Personality, MYfm Los Angeles, iHeartRadio
  • Dinah Gretsch – Executive Vice President and CFO, The Gretsch Company
  • Leslie Ann Jones – Director of Music Recording and Scoring, Skywalker Sound, and 4 time GRAMMY® Award-winner
  • Karrie Keyes – Monitor Engineer for Pearl Jam/Eddie Vedder and co-founder
  • Beth Marlis – Vice President, Musicians Institute
  • Dani Markman – Director, A&R, Disney Music Group
  • Heather Dembert Rafter – Principal, RafterMarsh US
  • Paula Salvatore – VP/Studio Manager, Capitol Studios
  • Brad Tolinski – Editorial Director of Special Projects, AMG Parade
  • Karen Webb – Founder, PR Squared Public Relations

“I am thrilled to have so many women and men from varied backgrounds aiding in expanding our ability to advocate for, educate, and provide opportunities for women and girls in the music and audio industries,” notes WiMN founder Laura B. Whitmore. WiMN director Bonnie Gallanter adds, “We couldn’t ask for a more dedicated and enthusiastic group of advisors. I look forward to working closely with all of them.”

To find out more about the members of the WiMN advisory board, visit

About Dinah Gretsch:

Dinah Gretsch is the Executive Vice President and CFO of the Savannah, GA based Gretsch Company. Gretsch has manufactured high-quality drums and guitars since 1883. The Gretsch Company has also owned the Bigsby Vibrato company since 1999.

Dinah has been a prominent figure in the Musical Instrument Industry for almost forty years. Her prominence has been recognized by numerous awards. In 2003 the Atlanta Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) presented her with the Heroes Award, a distinction awarded to community leaders in the Music Industry. In 2008, she was inducted in the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, which honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the Georgia Music Industry. In 2014, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at Georgia Southern University honored her with the prestigious Betty Foy Sanders Patrons of the Arts Award. The same year she was honored by the Women’s International Music Network (WiMN) with the She Rocks Award for her leadership in the Music Industry.

In support of the Gretsch mission to “ENRICH LIVES THROUGH PARTICIPATION IN MUSIC”, Dinah created Mrs. G’s Music Foundation in 2010 to fund music programs in Southern Low Country schools. She also gives grants to individuals to attend guitar and drum camps.

Dinah devotes much of her spare time serving on the Georgia Music Foundation Board and Loyola High School Board in New York City. She also serves on the Finance Board for her church, Sacred Heart in Savannah, GA. Dinah also enjoys her family time with her husband Fred, six children, sixteen grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.



Women of “That Great Gretsch Sound.” Generation 3: Sylvia

April 3rd, 2017

Multi-talented First Lady to Bill Gretsch and mother of current president, Fred W. Gretsch.

Sylvia Gretsch was an independent, outgoing, multi-talented lady who helped her husband, Bill, during the “scaled-down production” war years at Gretsch during World War II. After the war Sylvia was caretaker to Bill during his serious illness until his untimely death in 1948.

Maxine Lois (“Sylvia”) Elsner was born on September 14, 1917 in Joplin, Missouri. As a child Sylvia was fascinated with radio (a relatively new invention), and at an early age began studying dramatics and training in theater and speech.

Sylvia and Bill, July 12, 1940

In 1939 Sylvia graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois majoring in speech. While at Northwestern she crossed paths with Bill Gretsch, a 30-year-old bachelor who managed the operations of Gretsch’s Chicago Distribution Branch, and a special friendship was born.

After college the career-minded Sylvia accepted a job at a Missouri high school teaching English, drama, and supervising the traveling debate team. A year later in 1940, she moved to Wichita Falls, Texas and wrote copy for a radio station. In 1942 Sylvia was hired as the editor of “Western Hotel and Restaurant Reporter” magazine. Sylvia’s relationship with Bill also deepened during this time.

1942 was an important year in the Gretsch family for many reasons. Bill’s father, Fred Sr., retired and Bill’s older brother, Fred Jr., was named Gretsch Company president. Soon afterward he left to serve as a commander in the Navy during World War II. With his brother’s departure, Bill moved from Chicago to New York to assume the reins as company president. Bill, whose polio as a child prevented him from serving in World War II was, nonetheless, very involved in the war effort. Bill worked with the Red Cross to supply Entertainment Kits and musical instruments to thousands of soldiers around the world.

Shortly after relocating to New York, Bill proposed to Sylvia and they were married on December 14, 1942. During their marriage Sylvia helped with the layouts and development of Gretsch ads in music trade magazines. She and Bill had four children (Charlotte, Katie, Fred, and Gretchen). After having been married and Gretsch president for only five years, Bill developed cancer and was very ill for 18 months before losing his battle in 1948 at the young age of 41.

Upon her husband’s untimely death, Sylvia continued the Gretsch tradition of preparing the next generation to learn the family business and continue the Gretsch legacy through her only son, Fred. He began working in the business as a boy, preparing for the day when he would run his great-grandfather’s company. Fred’s grandfather and uncle were both great teachers and exposed Fred to many aspects of the music manufacturing business.

Sylvia never remarried and remained a loyal, loving mother dedicated to raising her and Bill’s four children. In early 1964 Sylvia became seriously ill and passed away on February 29, 1964. Like Charlotte Gretsch, Sylvia lost a brave battle to cancer and died in her mid-40’s, but during her life played an important role in the Gretsch legacy and helped prepare her son for future success. When his uncle sold Gretsch to the Baldwin Music Company in 1967, Fred wasn’t in a position to buy the company. Fortunately, in 1985, Fred’s dream of buying back the family business from Baldwin and reviving the Gretsch name back to prominence came true. Fred remains president of the Gretsch Company today.


NAMM Show Inspiration on Display at Gretsch in Pooler

March 21st, 2017

Music truly is a universal language for Dinah and Fred Gretsch

Inspirational music signs find their way from Anaheim’s NAMM Show to the Gretsch Company in Pooler

Dinah and Fred Gretsch, CFO and fourth-generation president of the Gretsch Company respectively, which has been manufacturing world-famous guitars and drums since 1883, recently attended the annual Winter NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Show in Anaheim, California. In addition to showing off the newest lines of Gretsch guitars and drums (and getting a slight tan), Dinah and Fred also brought back a few mementos: inspirational NAMM Show promotional signs that are now displayed in the front windows of their Pooler office.

Colorful NAMM Show promotional signs are displayed at the Gretsch Company headquarters in Pooler.

“These signs just speak to us. They’re colorful and eye-catching, and I really like their messages,” added Fred. “One reads, ‘Where words fail, music speaks’, and another reads, ‘Music is for every single person that walks the planet.’ Those messages really sum up the special connecting power of music. Whether you live in the state of Georgia, or the country of Georgia over in Eurasia, music is the universal language that connects everyone.”

The Winter NAMM Show is the world’s largest trade show for the music products industry. This four-day, star-studded annual event at the Anaheim Convention Center in California is the music industry’s “Super Bowl” where over 1,700 exhibiting companies (representing 7,000 brand names) show their newest musical products to more than 107,000 attendees from 125 countries. The show is not open to the public, and is the only place in the world where practically all of the distributors and dealers in the music industry come together under one big roof.

The Gretsches were busy being brand ambassadors and connecting with friends and business acquaintances at the Gretsch Guitar and Gretsch Drum booths as well as the Bigsby booth, the guitar and guitar vibrato company Dinah and Fred purchased in 1999. They also took a sixth-generation family member, grandson Logan Thomas, a junior at Thomas Heyward Academy in Ridgeland, S.C., to the Anaheim show.

“It was really special having Logan with us to experience his first Winter NAMM Show,” added Dinah. “He was blown away by how big it was and all the live music events, especially the Gretsch Guitar-sponsored concert featuring rock guitar legends Duane Eddy and Jeff Beck.” Eddy performed on his new line of Gretsch Duane Eddy Signature electric guitars, and Jeff Beck flew over from England to honor one of his guitar heroes:  50s rockabilly legend Cliff Gallup of Gene Vincent and his Blue Caps. Beck performed on one of Gretsch’s new Cliff Gallup Signature Duo Jet guitars; a reproduction of Gallup’s famous 1954 black Duo Jet guitar.

Dinah and Fred Gretsch, along with grandson, Logan Thomas, after an Anaheim dinner with long-time friends and business acquaintances. From left to right: Tauna Tuokkola of TV Jones, Inc., Dinah Gretsch, Tom Jones of TV Jones, Inc., Fred Gretsch, Logan Thomas, and Gretsch guitar endorser Duane Eddy.

When asked about his favorite memories of the trade show, Logan said he really enjoyed attending meetings with his grandparents where they were conducting business with people from around the world, including Japan, Korea, Germany, and China. “It amazes me how people can do business together when they do not speak the same language,” shared Logan. “But, those who didn’t speak English had a translator, and the meetings were very productive and very educational for me.”

Like his grandson, Fred Gretsch attended NAMM Shows as a teenager when his uncle, Fred Gretsch Jr., was president of the family’s Brooklyn-based music manufacturing company.  “In the 50s and 60s, the NAMM Show was a much smaller event and held at the historic Palmer House Hotel in Chicago,” Fred added. “Music companies rented out rooms on the hotel’s floors and you literally went room-to-room to see the latest products. It was a far cry from today’s 800,000-square-foot Anaheim Convention Center extravaganza and floor show.”

Fred also shared that the NAMM Show signs he brought back to Pooler also reinforces the mission of the Gretsch family: to enrich lives through participation in music. Fred and Dinah are both actively involved in foundations they created. The Gretsch Foundation, the charitable arm of the Gretsch Company, has a long history of providing financial support, scholarships, instruments and more, to schools and organizations across Georgia and the United States. Dinah’s Mrs. G’s Music Foundation was established in 2010 and provides funding and instruments for local music programs in Savannah-area schools. “Over 40% of people playing music today got started in school,” added Fred. “That’s why music education in school is so important.  Nothing makes us happier than seeing a child smiling and channeling that inner joy through making music.”



Women of “That Great Gretsch Sound.” Generation 2: Charlotte

March 15th, 2017

Gretsch’s First Lady during the decades of great growth.

Charlotte Gretsch was at her husband, Fred Sr.’s, side to help build the Gretsch Company into the nation’s largest musical instrument manufacturer in 1920.

Charlotte Sommer was born on December 16, 1880 in New York City to American-born parents who owned a successful grocery store in Manhattan. She was the sixth of eight children and grew up in a house with five brothers.

In January 1904, 23-year-old Charlotte married Fred Gretsch, Sr. in a small ceremony at her parent’s home. Charlotte most likely sailed with Fred to Europe on a business trip as part of their honeymoon. Annual musical instrument buying trips to Europe with her husband became part of Charlotte’s life.

Charlotte and Her Three Sons

On March 10, 1905, the first of three sons, Fred Gretsch, Jr., was born. A year later, William Walter (Bill) was born and in 1908, Richard (Dick) Gretsch was born. Bill was stricken with polio as a child which, no doubt, took more of Charlotte’s care and time than her husband’s expanding company. Fred Sr. and Charlotte exposed their children to the family business early. The brothers worked many Saturdays doing everything from packaging phonograph needles to picking up drum heads at the tannery.

The first two decades of the 1900’s were years of astonishing growth and innovation for the Fred. Gretsch Manufacturing Company. In 1916, the growing company expanded again and moved into the famous 10-story Gretsch Building in the Williamsburg District of Brooklyn at 60 Broadway. This landmark building was built by partners, Fred Sr., brother Walter, and their mother, Rosa Gretsch.

Shortly thereafter, Fred Sr. invented the industry’s first “warp-free” multi-ply drum lamination process. This revolutionary new construction method had tremendous advantages over the then-current method of steam bending wood. Drum shells and hoops were not only lighter, but were more perfectly round and stronger.

In April 1928 with her husband and oldest son, Fred Jr., in Europe on business, Charlotte became seriously ill and was admitted to St. Catherine’s Hospital in Brooklyn. Unfortunately, she lost a battle to ovarian cancer and died on May 12, 1928 at the age of 47.

Like Rosa Gretsch, Charlotte was a strong, loving, independent woman who played a key role in supporting and assisting her husband during a critical growth period of the Gretsch Company. She exposed her three sons to the family business at an early age and felt strongly that her sons should attend college (although Fred Sr. did not). She also took up golf when it became a big part of her husband’s life and helped Fred Sr. plan the first unofficial world golf championship in 1921 at the Soundview Club in Long Island. Like Rosa, Charlotte had a big heart and was involved with and supported Goodwill Industries. She was known to often visit stores and pay bills for less fortunate families.

Learn more about Charlotte at

Women of “That Great Gretsch Sound.” Generation 1: Rosa

February 27th, 2017

Rosa Gretsch: Gretsch’s “First” First Lady to founder, Friedrich Gretsch

Next to her husband, Friedrich, Rosa Gretsch is the second most important person responsible for today’s Gretsch legacy and continued family dynasty.

Born Rosa Behman on June 18, 1856 in Brooklyn, New York to German-born parents, Rosa’s parents died in a Cholera epidemic when she was a baby. Fortunately, she was adopted by friends of her parents who had no children.

In February 1879, 22-year-old Rosa married Friedrich Gretsch who had immigrated to Brooklyn from Germany six years earlier and was working at Albert Houdlett & Son, a drum and banjo manufacturing business.

A year after getting married, Rosa and Friedrich started the Gretsch family legacy with the first of seven children. Fred Gretsch, Sr. was born on February 10, 1880. A second son, Walter, followed two years later. Being a talented piano player herself, Rosa was very encouraging to her husband to start a family musical instrument business. In April 1883, Friedrich “Americanized” his name to Fred and opened a small music shop in Brooklyn manufacturing banjos, tambourines, and drums for music wholesalers.

Five more children (Louis, Elsa, Helen, Hertha, and Herbert) were born between 1885 and 1891, and Friedrich’s small music manufacturing shop prospered and expanded to 12 employees. Rosa’s life was nearly shattered in 1895, however, when Friedrich, while in Germany on business, was stricken with Cholera. He was only 39 when he died.

Rosa Gretsch with Her Seven Children

A strong, independent woman for her time, Rosa was determined to pass along her husband’s successful musical instrument manufacturing business to her children. Today’s Gretsch legacy and family dynasty started with Rosa’s bold decision to turn her husband’s company over to their oldest son, Fred, Sr., who was only 15 years old at the time. This proved to be a wise decision as Fred, Sr. guided Gretsch for 47 years, leading it to become one of the world’s largest and most respected manufacturers of musical instruments.

In addition to being remembered as a loving mother, totally dedicated to her seven children and large German-American extended family, Rosa also encouraged and worked with her two oldest sons, Fred Sr. and Walter, to keep the family business growing. In 1905, Rosa, Fred Sr., and Walter also incorporated the Fred Gretsch Realty Company with all three serving as directors.

During her life, Rosa was dedicated to the local Goodwill Industry chapters in New York. Rosa was a great cook and found time to bake and play piano at Goodwill fundraisers and enlisted her children to volunteer as well. Rosa later remarried David Kling (a friend of Friedrich’s who was also born in Mannheim, Germany) and passed away in 1934 at the age of 78. When Rosa’s household effects were inventoried, her most prized possession was her beloved Steinway Walnut Parlor Grand Piano.

Learn more about Rosa at