Archive for the ‘Gretsch.com’ Category

Gretsch Guitars at Abbey Road on the River

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Beatlemania invaded the nation’s capital once again and Gretsch Guitars was there.  The “Abbey Road on the River”  festival happened in the Washington, D.C. area over the Labor Day weekend and featured a near-constant lineup of bands, guest speakers, films, contests and other special events, all of which were staged to celebrate the still-thriving legacy of the Beatles.

Billed as “the world’s largest Beatles-inspired music festival,” Abbey Road on the River took place from Thursday, Sept. 2 to Monday, Sept. 6 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center hotel in National Harbor, MD.  Gretsch co-sponsored the event.

Gretsch girl Kim Falcon was on hand for photos and to sign autographs. Gretsch Guitars also presented Hal Bruce and the Hard Dazed Knights in concert, who played 214 Beatles songs as a single continuous medley with no breaks or intermission.

Gretsch enthusiasts enjoyed a personal appearance by Fred Gretsch and Gretsch product specialist Joe Carducci. They presented the Gretsch Guitars Experience, sharing behind-the-scenes stories about Gretsch history—which included the Beatles—and a multimedia presentation of the sights and sounds of Gretsch.

Abbey Road on the River takes place twice a year, once in Louisville, KY over Memorial Day weekend and then again in National Harbor, MD (Washington, D.C.) over Labor Day weekend.  Mark our calendar now for 2011 and we’ll see you there.

Click here to watch videos from the event.

Tim Armstrong Electromatic Hollowbody

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Tim Armstrong Signature B5191BK

Punk rock war-lord Tim Armstrong makes no apologies that the music radiating from his soul at times can be loud & ferocious. His guitar tone alone has become as infamous as his world renown persona. Gretsch is proud to introduce the G5191BK Tim Armstrong Signature Electromatic Hollow Body guitar. A big sound resonates from the parallel tone bars and sound post mounted under the top of the 17″ wide body, which has a harp tailpiece and a pair of “Black Top” Filter’Tron™ pickups for maximum sustain and tuning stability. Grover® tuners, big block fretboard inlays and gold-plated hardware set against the ominous FLAT BLACK urethane finish is a recipe to incite your senses to euphoria. Also available LEFT-HANDED.  Asked what it is in particular that he loves about the guitar, Armstrong said, “To me, it sounds like a piano, like it’s full body and thick. I hear the chords as if I’m playing a piano. That’s just a simple way for me to explain it.”  Armstrong also commented “It’s an honor for me, and it is designed after my favorite guitar ever, which is that 1971 Country Club Gretsch I play more than any other guitar––in the studio and onstage.” Adding that “I would drag that Country Club all over the place. So, it’s amazing for me. I was playing the signature and it sounds identical to my Country Club. The people at Gretsch have been amazing, super respectful. They kept the ingredients the same.”

To see more photos and get the specs visit Gretschguitars.com.

Jazz Brunch at Fort Stewart Museum a “Splendid Event”

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Fred & Dinah with 3rd ID Jazz Combo Drummer SGT Jason McElveen

Fred and Dinah Gretsch recently attended a jazz brunch at the Fort Stewart Museum as the guests of Brigadier General Jeffrey E. Phillips, 3rd Infantry Division Deputy Commanding General-Rear. Hosted by General Phillips and 3rd ID Command Sergeant Major-Rear, Command Sergeant Major Jeffrey Ashmen, the event featured music by the 3rd ID Jazz Combo and a presentation and tour by the museum curator Walter “Buck” Meeks III.

The museum includes several thousand artifacts in its archives and the current exhibit includes a walk-through timeline of world events, explaining the 3rd ID’s role beginning in 1917, as well as telling its story through the voices and words of Soldiers who have made up the Division.  The museum is one of the first places Soldiers arriving at Fort Stewart are required to visit.

The 3rd ID Jazz Combo with retired SFC Walt Peters (far right)

Sitting in with the band was a special guest, retired Sergeant First Class Walt Peters, a Vietnam veteran and volunteer of the Savannah Chapter of the American Red Cross.  Well known to all the Soldiers at Fort Stewart, Peters has made it his personal mission to greet every single departing and returning Soldier as they pass through Savannah’s Hunter Army Airfield base.  An accomplished guitarist, Peters spent many years as a professional guitarist in Nashville.

“It was an honor to be invited to such a splendid event”, said Fred Gretsch.  “The museum is a fitting tribute to the legacy of the 3rd Infantry Division and we are truly privileged to have such an important institution right here on our doorstep in Savannah.  The 3rd ID Jazz Combo was terrific, absolutely first class. They kept everyone entertained with really great music throughout.”

SGT McElveen

The Fort Stewart Museum is free and open to the public but requires civilian visitors to obtain a pass to enter the installation.  The museum is located in Building T904, 2022 Frank Cochran Drive, Fort Stewart.  For more information, call 912-767-7885. Hours: 10 am-4 pm, Tuesdays-Saturdays (closed Sundays, Mondays, and federal holidays).

Fred & Dinah Attend Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Concert

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

On August 11, Fred and Dinah Gretsch, along with 18,000 highly-energized and eager fans, had the chance to attend the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers concert in Atlanta’s Phillips Arena.  With the equally legendary group–Crosby, Stills, & Nash–opening the show, it was guaranteed to be a night not soon forgotten.

Before the show Fred and Dinah had the opportunity to spend some time backstage visiting with members of both bands.  The Atlanta show followed a week-long break and Tom and the rest of the Heartbreakers seemed to be in good spirits as they prepared to kick off the third leg of their Mojo summer tour.

Mike Campbell on Stage

The Gretsches learned that Mike Campbell, the Heartbreakers’ lead guitarist and one of its original founding members, recently purchased a ‘56 Gretsch Nashville of which he’s reportedly very proud.  They were also delighted with the opportunity to visit with the Heartbreakers’ drummer, family friend, and Gretsch drum endorser, Steve Ferrone.

Fred with Steve Ferrone

This show was the first of several that rock legends CSN will be opening on the Mojo tour.  Gracious as always, Stephen, Graham, and David spent time catching up with the Gretsches and chatting about some of their instruments including, of course, their various Gretsch guitars.

After delivering their best wishes to all, it was on to the show.  Following an amazing 90-minute set by CSN, Tom and the Heartbreakers did not disappoint. “Tom Petty has reached the youth market again,” commented Dinah after seeing the large number of young fans in attendance. Thirty-four years and counting and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are still selling out shows.  With their earlier hits becoming popular with today’s youth, it appears their music will be transcending generations of music lovers for a long time to come.

Two legendary groups; one amazing evening of music.  It can’t get much better than that!

In Concert

New Gretsch Catalina Maple Series

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

Catalina Maple

The new Catalina Maple series starts with the Gretsch maple formula shell. We carefully developed the maple shell specification to produce tones that explode with attack and volume and project a balanced amount of warm, low-end frequencies. All Catalina Maple shells are 7-ply, 7.2mm. We equipped the shells with “Gretsch Classic” features and hardware, including 30-degree bearing edges, fully-adjustable Gretsch ball-and-socket tom holder with 12.7mm tom arms, 9020-style mounting brackets and our famous 5-lug configuration (a standard Gretsch feature for over 50 years) for all 10” / 12” toms. All drums feature a multi-step lacquer process that produces an extremely glassy-smooth finish that is hard and durable. In addition, we partnered with Evans® drum heads to produce a distinctive “Gretsch by Evans” batter and resonant head combination. Drums are easy to tune and produce full tones right out of the box.

The new Catalina Maples are available in two configurations – a 6-piece shell pack set and a 5-piece shell pack set. Add-on drums are also available to allow for further drum set expansion.

Learn more at:

http://www.gretschdrums.com/index.cfm?fa=drums&sid=661

Our Special Friend Fritzi Kramer, 1919-2010

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Frieda “Fritzi” Kramer was the beloved wife of Duke Kramer for over 60 years. Duke’s career and involvement with the Gretsch Company spanned an amazing 70 years and for several years prior to his passing, he and Fritzi together owned and operated D & F Products, a supplier of vintage Gretsch guitar parts. Fritzi passed away in April 2010, five years after losing Duke.

Fritzi Kramer

Fritzi herself had been in the music business since 1940. Many in the music industry knew Fritzi as she and Duke were participants at many past NAMM shows and vintage guitar shows. She is fondly remembered by many, being described as a kind and caring person who had a friendly word and smile to share with everyone.

Fritzi was born in Downers Grove, IL on February 11, 1919. She and Duke had 3 children, 4 grandchildren, and 4 great-grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews. The Kramers lived in Naperville, IL from 1949 to 1971 and then moved to Cincinnati and resided there until 2009. A lover of golf and bridge, Fritzi was active in the school system and volunteered at the Naperville and Cincinnati Hospitals. She and Duke enjoyed traveling to trade shows and were members of the Coldstream Country Club.

Fritzi claimed that her greatest accomplishment was the unconditional love she gave to her family and friends. Once when asked who she would come back as if she could come back as anyone she wanted, she replied herself.

Fritzi and Duke spent a long and happy life together sharing their love of the music business. We truly miss these cherished friends of the Gretsch family.

Remembering Duke Kramer

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Charles Kramer went by many nicknames, “Duke”, “The Silver Fox”, even “Mr. Guitar Man.” You could also call him “The Thread.” Duke Kramer was the thread, the constant connection that bridged eight decades of Gretsch musical history. Sadly, the World’s Gretsch Goodwill Ambassador for 70 years passed away five years ago last month.

Duke Kramer

In 1935, Bill Gretsch was managing the company’s Chicago Distribution office when he met a 19-year-old sax player who played the local clubs. Bill saw something special in the teenager and offered him a job polishing horns for $11 a week. Duke accepted the job and really never left the company. His career and involvement with Gretsch spanned an amazing 70 years.

At Gretsch, Duke practically did it all and saw it all.  His duties over the years included being a purchasing agent, salesman, bookkeeper, general manager, plant manager, inventor, mentor, and trusted advisor to four of the five Gretsch presidents. Duke was also involved in the birth of “The Great Gretsch Sound” after World War II when the company decided to focus only on manufacturing high quality guitars and drums under the Gretsch brand. Duke witnessed and participated in many historical milestone events. He worked with Jimmie Webster and Chet Atkins to forever change the look and sound of guitars. He was instrumental in getting Gretsch drums into the hands of the best musicians in jazz and popular music.

In the fast-changing world of the music industry, Duke was a survivor. He was one of a handful of faithful Gretsch employees who survived the Baldwin acquisition in the late 1960s. He ran the Cincinnati office of the Gretsch Division until his retirement in 1980. When Baldwin was in bankruptcy in the early 80s, Duke was again brought in to run the Gretsch business and was key to arranging the sale back to the Gretsch family. Negotiations were successful and current president Fred W. Gretsch returned the company back to his family in January 1985. But Duke’s involvement didn’t stop there. He played a critical role in bringing Gretsch guitars back into production. Fifty years after he was hired by Fred’s father, Bill Gretsch, Duke Kramer was again on the road talking to musicians and instrument dealers assuring them that the “Great Gretsch Sound” would soon return.

Current president, Fred W. Gretsch, remembers Duke Kramer fondly stating “When I transferred to Chicago in 1969 to work in the Gretsch’s Elmhurst Illinois office, Duke was my boss. He was a great teacher, very hands on, a wonderful mentor.” Duke was a lifetime member of the Guitars & Accessories Manufacturing Association (GAMA) and was also heavily involved in the Music Distributors Association. Duke and his beloved wife, Fritzi, who passed away in April of this year, were married an amazing 62 years and had three children.

The Gretsch family owes a huge debt of gratitude to this tireless, dedicated, loyal friend who contributed so much to the company–and to the music industry as a whole. Duke’s keen insight, deep love of music, warm smile, and zest for living are sorely missed.

Gretsches Honored By Savannah Folk Music Society

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Dinah and Fred Gretsch, owners of the Pooler, Georgia-based Gretsch Company, were surprised with a special presentation by the Savannah Folk Music Society this past July 2 at Savannah’s First Presbyterian Church. At a regular meeting of the Society’s “First Friday For Folk Music,” Dinah and Fred received a portrait of themselves that was specially commissioned by the Society. The portrait was created by Savannah artist Sandy Branam.

Gretsches Receive Portrait from the Savannah Folk Music Society

Society president Hank Weisman comments, “We’ve enjoyed a terrific relationship with Fred and Dinah Gretsch over the past eight years. Through their Gretsch Foundation they’ve been tremendously supportive of the Society’s programs. This includes the donation of guitars for our ‘Guitar Art’ program, in which local artists custom-decorate instruments that are then auctioned to raise funds. Other donated guitars are signed by major artists. All of these guitars are auctioned at the annual Savannah Folk Music Festival, which takes place each October. Over the past eight years the donations made by the Gretsch Foundation have generated more than $40,000 in supporting funds.

“Fred and Dinah have also helped to support our banjo assembly workshops,” Weisman continues. “Thanks to parts supplied by the Gretsch Company, we’ve sent at least seventy-five new banjo players out into the world.”

“The entire folk music scene in Savannah owes a great deal to Fred and Dinah Gretsch,” Weisman concludes. “The special portrait that the Savannah Folk Music Society commissioned is just a small expression of our gratitude.”

For more information on the Savannah Folk Music Society, go to www.savannahfolk.org.