Archive for the ‘Music Industry Events’ Category

The World and Gretsch Came Together in Frankfurt

Monday, April 19th, 2010

In addition to the outstanding combo display of Gretsch Guitars and Drums, Bigsby was in Frankfurt in a big way this year.

The old saying goes that “If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.” Apparently, that goes for guitar vibratos too.

Bigsby Vibratos Were Seen on a Host of Different Manufacturer's Guitars

When the musical instrument world came together at the 2010 Musikmesse in Frankfurt, Germany this past March, Bigsby vibratos were displayed on no fewer than 108 guitar models from twenty-seven different manufacturers. These included major names like Gretsch, Gibson, Schecter, and Hofner, as well as specialty lines like TV Jones, Collings, and LTD. A special highlight was the exhibit of Germany’s Warwick guitars, which featured what may be the largest graphic image of a Bigsby vibrato ever put on display.

This record showing at the Frankfurt Messe reflects the respect and regard that guitarists and guitar makers have felt for Bigsby vibratos ever since Paul A. Bigsby designed his now-legendary tailpieces in the mid-1940s. They were the “better mousetrap” that revolutionized guitar sounds, and the world has been beating a path to Bigsby ever since. Today, that path leads to ten different vibrato models designed to fit virtually any size or style of electric guitar.

Biggest Bigsby Vibrato Display Seen to Date

Get on the path yourself, and hear for yourself what the guitar world regards as the finest vibrato available. Visit your Bigsby dealer, or go to http://www.bigsby.com.

And don’t forget to check out the lastest in Gretsch Guitar products at http://www.gretschguitars.com and Gretsch Drum products at http://www.gretschdrums.com.

Gretsch on Display in Savannah and Frankfurt

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

The Savannah Music Festival is currently running through April 3 and is dedicated to presenting the finest in American and international musical talent. Read the full story.  

Musikmesse in Frankfurt, Germany was held March 24 through March 27.  Check out Fred Gretsch’s daily show report below.

Savannah Music Festival:

The Savannah Music Festival is currently running through April 3 and is dedicated to presenting the finest in American and international musical talent. So it’s logical that the Festival would want their stages equipped with the finest drums available. Fortunately, the Savannah suburb of Pooler, Georgia is home to the company that makes the world’s finest drums: Gretsch.

Gretsch USA Custom Kit in Rosewood

But there’s much more to Gretsch’s involvement in the Savannah Music Festival than a hometown connection. The producers of the Fest understand that Gretsch USA Custom kits represent the ultimate in hand-crafted quality. Manufactured in nearby Ridgeland, South Carolina, Gretsch USA Custom drums feature specially configured maple shells with Gretsch’s original Silver Sealer inner finish, 30-degree bearing edges, die-cast hoops, and hand-applied outer finishes—all factors that contribute to the creation of “That Great Gretsch Sound.” The kits for the Festival are equipped with Gibraltar and Dixon stands and hardware provided by Gretsch distribution partner KMC Music.

Gretsch USA Drum Manufacturing production manager Paul Cooper and production assistant Josh Safer (both talented drummers in their own right) worked closely with Ricardo Ochoa, the Savannah Music Festival’s production director, to provide five Gretsch USA Custom kits for use on the various Festival stages. These kits will be played by the drummers for many of the Festival’s high-profile artists, including country singers Kathy Mattea and Patty Loveless, rocker Derek Trucks, the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Henry Butler & Friends, zydeco specialists Jeffery Broussard & The Creole Cowboys, and soul singer Kristina Train.

The Savannah Music Festival is Georgia’s largest musical arts festival and one of the most distinctive cross-genre music festivals in the world. The event regularly presents commissioned works, unique and imaginative productions, and rare regional appearances by renowned artists in jazz, classical, blues, bluegrass, gospel and other styles of American and international roots music. More information is available at www.savannahmusicfestival.org. For more information about Gretsch drums, go to www.gretschdrums.com.

Musikmesse – Fred Gretsch’s Show Report:

Day 1:  

Gretsch Guitars on Display

So many Gretsch team members in Frankfurt for Messe. Sales, marketing, manufacturing, all assembled to greet customers. Best Gretsch Guitar and Drum display ever. . . that is the challenge so check it out to see if you agree that we have hit that mark again.

Gretsch Drums on Display

It’s always a kick to come into the hall on the first day and see all the carpets and drapes and flowers in place and looking super. The entire Gretsch Guitar and Drum display is in one stand in Hall 4 on the ground level. That is the first time in 10 years that we have it all consolidated. Stop by and say hello if you are here. Come on down, weather in Frankfurt, Germany is spring like.

Day 2:

Larger crowds at the Messe today. Visitors from as far away as New Zealand stopped by and many more from places like Croatia, Brazil, Israel, and more. And the noise level goes up . . . though there is a new 70 db noise level limit at displays. Not sure if it is enforced. The weather continues to cooperate with bands playing on the courtyard between Halls 3 and 4 in the warm afternoon. Photos posted shows the Gretsch Drum and Guitar displays that are located in the same stand (booth) in Hall 4. Friday attendance to rise further in anticipation of Saturday, the big attendance public day.

Day 3:

Messe Grounds

My first Messe was in 1971. Gretsch was here after the war in 1955. One thing we are researching is Gretsch participation at fairs (Messe means fair) before the war. We know that there was a Gretsch company office in Markneukirchen, Germany in the 1920s for many years up to WW2. So it is easy to take for granted so many things about Messe. Back in ‘71 there was just one large hall, #8, that made up the Musikmesse then. Since they have built out the fairgrounds to be truly spectacular. Visit www.musikmesse.com to see the fair layout today with all the halls being used, central courtyard, and facilities that sparkle.

Dick Dale had an interesting comment after signing autographs at the fair yesterday: more people on an escalator than he has seen anywhere. Dick is here through Saturday which is the public day when the crowds are spectacular. At NAMM the Eddie Cochran guitar was in a glass case, at messe it is hung up with all others to be played and checked out by all. Lots of up close and personal contact at Messe. Peter, a local musician stopped by enroute to a gig at Shadow where he will be playing zitar electronically. Cool. He has lots of Gretsch guitars too. Plenty of Duane Eddy fans here, too, waiting for the next Gretsch Duane Eddy model . . .  Stay tuned and check www.gretschguitars.com for more news.

Day 4:

Today we had visitors and friends from South Africa, Turkey, and old friend Bernhardt from Hamburg too. Several bearing gifts for our trip home. As predicted, the  crowds grew throughout the day as did the loud performances. Must be a finesse to the noice control that we have yet to understand.

Memories, too, from my first Messe show in 1971 when the whole event was in Hall 8. Frankfurt was under heavy construction for a new subway back then and it took a decade or more to complete it. All very modern and conveninet at the moment. It is a tickless system with signs saying that if you get caught without a ticket, the fine is 40 Euro and there are no excuses. Fortunately, the Messe ticket provides travel on the trains and busses so not to worry.

Messe Attracts Many Visitors

Get ready for Saturday public day when the halls will be crowded to a point where some places you can’t even move. The good thing is all are enthusiastic music makers out to see the latest gear. At the Gretsch Guitar booth today we spotted a couple photographing their 2-year-old son in a stroller in front of a row of Gretsch Guitars. Wonder where that picture will be 10 years from now.

Final Day & Post-Show:

More than 2,300 exhibitors and 110,000 visitors . . . that’s the tally for Messe Frankfurt for 2010. The numbers are very close to last year which is a good sign for business in the year ahead. Messe 2011 will be in early April and that’s already on our calendar.

A trip to Germany would not be complete without a chance to sample the culture in Frankfurt and again in Dusseldorf. Saturday evening was festive in Frankfurt with music playing in public areas around town and crowds out enjoying the pre-Easter atmosphere. Accordion music is front and center and they celebrate Easter season with a greater flair than in the USA.

Monday we visited the FMIC regional office in Dusseldorf that services 6 countries with ample multi-lingual staff, repair facilities, and a custom shop showroom.

Spring is just getting started and we got to experience Daylight Savings Time in Europe for a second time in 2010 as we “sprung forward” 1 hour early Sunday the 28th. It may be the only time we ever get to do that twice in the same season in the same year again.

The trip home on the Delta non-stop from Dusseldorf to Atlanta of 9+ hours included many musicians carrying their guitars, some of which were Gretsch guitars. One band was returning from a mission trip to the Czech Republic. We sensed that there were US Air Marshals on the flight as well providing an extra level of security. Thanks go out to them and all those who keep us safe.

Weather in Georgia is in the high 70’s and sunny. Back in the saddle again . . .

Read Expanded NAMM Show Coverage

Monday, January 25th, 2010

The 2010 NAMM musical instrument show was held this past January 14 through 17 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. This annual event, sponsored by the International Music Products Association, is America’s largest trade show for the showcasing of musical instruments and accessories.

Gretsch Drums On Display

Gretsch Drums had plenty of great new gear to showcase at this year’s NAMM show. Here are just a few highlights:

US Custom Kits

Gretsch 2010 Ltd Ed USA Custom Black & Silver

Gretsch 2010 Ltd Ed USA Custom Black and Silver (Photo by Rick Van Horn)

Two new Limited Edition USA Custom kits headed up the new-product introductions. One featured an 18×22 bass drum, 8×10 and 9×10 toms, a 16×16 floor tom, and a 6½x14 ten-lug snare—each with a black lacquer finish and silver-sparkle inlays. The other featured a 14×18 bass drum, an 8×12 tom, a 14×14 floor tom, and a 5½ x14 eight-lug snare—all in a classy white finish with a gold sparkle inlays and gold-plated hardware. Each configuration will be limited to thirty total kits worldwide.

New Renown Maple Finish

Gretsch Renown Maple Ruby Sparkle Fade

Gretsch Renown Maple Ruby Sparkle Fade (Photo by Rick Van Horn)

The Gretsch Renown Maple series now offers a striking new finish called Ruby Sparkle Fade. It features mixed-size sparkle flakes that catch and reflect light differently so as to give the finish extra depth and richness. Three sizes of flakes are carefully applied in descending size—large to medium to small. Then each drum is hand-sprayed with a customized ruby red-to-ebony black fade paint. A highly detailed, multi-step lacquering process provides the final touch for a gleaming finish.

Stanton Moore Signature Snare

Stantion Moore Signature Snare

Stanton Moore Signature Snare (Photo by Rick Van Horn)

Gretsch artist Stanton Moore has developed a reputation for his distinctive blend of New Orleans-influenced funky snare-drum grooves. Now Gretsch has collaborated with Stanton to create a snare drum that projects that swampy, nuanced style. The Stanton Moore Signature snare features a single-ply solid-maple shell with reinforcement hoops, thirty-degree bearing edges, eight tuning lugs, a Dunnett throw-off, 42-strand snares, and a gloss natural finish emblazoned with Stanton’s signature. The drum is designed to provide quick response, varying timbres, and a distinctive overall tonality.

Fred And Dinah Gretsch Meet The CoverBand 2010 Drum Winner

A special treat for Fred and Dinah Gretsch was the opportunity to congratulate Didi Negron of Northampton, Pennsylvania, who was the winning drummer in the CoverBand 2010 contest presented by Musician’s Friend and Latin Percussion. Gretsch Drums was a contributing sponsor for the online competition.

CoverBand 2010 Winner Didi Negron

CoverBand 2010 Winning Drummer Didi Negron (Photo by Rick Van Horn)

The contest invited individual musicians and vocalists to upload a two-minute video to coverband2010.com between July 15 and September 15 of last year. A general-public vote determined the finalists. A panel of celebrity judges then selected the winners.

A trip to Anaheim to perform at the NAMM show was part of the prize for the seven winning CoverBand members. For twenty-three-year-old Didi Negron, that was just part of the thrill. She also received a brand-new Gretsch Catalina Ash drumkit, along with the chance to meet Fred and Dinah Gretsch personally. (Didi’s prize package also included Sabian HHX cymbals and a Gibraltar Stealth rack system.)

Dinah Gretsch was particularly pleased to meet Didi, since female participation in music is an issue that’s near and dear to Dinah’s heart. When Dinah asked Didi how she came to be a drummer, Didi replied, “I grew up with music in my family. My dad plays guitar and bass, and there was a lot of music in our church. When I was around eight I started playing along to records. I developed rudimental drumming skills when I was in my school marching band. When I was a teenager I started playing drumset and percussion, and things just went from there.”

Things went pretty far, as a matter of fact. Didi’s self-taught drumming skills were impressive enough to earn a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College Of Music in Boston. Now in her second year, she’s studying with such well-known drummers as Ralph Peterson, Terri-Lyne Carrington, Dave DiCenso, and Eddie Castillo. Not surprisingly, Didi’s goal is to become a professional drummer/percussionist. “It’s all I’ve ever really thought about,” she said.

Didi’s entry for the CoverBand 2010 contest displayed the influence of her Berklee instructors, along with a substantial amount of her own talent and originality. Her two-minute video was a mix of Latin, pop, and fusion-esque styles that burned and grooved at the same time. “I love to solo,” said Didi, “but I love a pocket, too. So for my contest entry I decided to show the groove . . . show the chops . . . just do it all!”

Stephen Ferrone & Gretsch Drums In Concert

An annual highlight of the NAMM show is an after-hours concert called Sabian Live!, presented by the Sabian Cymbal Company (and co-sponsored by Gretsch Drums). This year’s event opened and closed with Gretsch artists.

Sabian Live! Drummer    Photo by Rick Van Horn

Sabian Live! Drummer (Photo by Rick Van Horn)

The opening act was a band of teenage musicians from the Little Kids Rock music-education program. Their performance was powered by a young drummer playing on a Gretsch Catalina Ash kit. What the band lacked in experience they made up for in enthusiasm, and their two-song set was well received by the audience.

At the absolute opposite of the experience scale was the evening’s closer: Stephen Ferrone & The Master Volume All-Stars. Made up of the cream of LA’s studio scene, the band was anchored by its namesake drummer, whose credits include the Average White Band, Eric Clapton, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and hundreds of studio projects.

Stephen Ferrone  (Photo by Jules Follett)

Stephen Ferrone (Photo by Jules Follett)

The evening’s audience was treated to a widely varying repertoire that included songs from all of Ferrone’s previous groups, as well as tunes by guest artists. These included “You Need a Man” and “Your Mama Don’t Dance,” led by surprise guest Jimmy Messina. The evening closed with a spirited rendition of “Man in The Mirror,” in tribute to Michael Jackson. Throughout the entire set Stephen Ferrone provided his legendary combination of groove, drive, and taste.

Gretsch Guitars Launches The Eddie Cochran Tribute Model

Gretsch Eddie Cochran Tribute Guitar (Photo by Rick Van Horn)

Gretsch Eddie Cochran Tribute Guitar (Photo by Rick Van Horn)

Gretsch Guitars is famous for maintaining the highest standards of contemporary quality while still honoring the musical contributions made by great artists of the past. In keeping with that tradition, Gretsch Guitars debuted the Eddie Cochran Tribute model at this year’s NAMM show.

Eddie Cochran was a pioneer of rock ‘n’ roll. Starting out in country music in the early 1950s, he quickly gravitated toward the music being popularized by Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley. In short order he became a contemporary of those stars, appearing in concerts and films throughout the mid to late ’50s. But besides being a talented vocalist, Cochran’s skill as a guitarist set him apart, and it earned him a place as one of Gretsch’s first rock ‘n’ roll endorsing artists.

Cochran was also a talented songwriter, and his teen-angst classic “Summertime Blues” has been covered by hundreds of artists including The Who and Blue Cheer. Tragically, his career was cut short by an auto accident in London on April 17, 1960. Eddie was only twenty-one.

Eddie Cochran Tribute Display

Eddie Cochran Tribute Display (Photo by Rick Van Horn)

The NAMM launch of the Gretsch Eddie Cochran Tribute guitar was accompanied by an extensive historic display featuring photos, records, and other memorabilia from Eddie’s meteoric career. Additionally, Fred Gretsch was on hand to underscore the personal connection between Gretsch Guitars and Eddie Cochran’s legacy.

2010 Gretsch Showcase

The Eddie Cochran Tribute guitar launch was celebrated with a pre-NAMM performance at the Gretsch Guitars booth on Wednesday, January 13. Bobby Cochran—Eddie’s nephew and a fine guitarist in his own right—was backed by Gretsch artist Paul Pigat and his band Uncle Harley on a rendition of Eddie’s classic “Summertime Blues” that delighted the specially invited audience. Meanwhile, models strutted at the foot of the stage displaying Gretsch’s iconic new G6120 guitars.

Paul Pigat

Paul Pigat

Wednesday’s performance kicked off the 2010 Gretsch Showcase. Throughout the NAMM show weekend a roster of stellar Gretsch artists entertained showgoers while demonstrating the unique sound and features of Gretsch guitars. Besides Paul Pigat & Cousin Harley, the lineup featured rockabilly artists including Brophy Dale, Mad Max & the Wild Ones, the Hot Rod Trio, and Buzz Campbell & Hot Rod Lincoln. In addition, Lynda Kay brought her Americana roots style country music to the Gretsch booth, while rock guitar legend Steve Hunter & The Hurricanes proved that you can play blues on a Gretsch guitar.

Civet

Civet

On Friday the 15th the self-described “femme fatale punk rock” quartet Civet strutted their stuff. Friday’s Showcase was also notable for an appearance by Dhani Harrison playing a G6129T-1957 Silver Jet onstage during a performance by thenewno2’s. Dhani is the talented son of legendary Beatle and solo artist George Harrison, who helped Gretsch sell a ton of Duo Jet, Tennesseean, and Country Gentleman guitars.

Tim Armstrong

Tim Armstrong

Punk-rock mainstays Rancid rocked the booth on Saturday the 16th in front of a crowd that was so big it drew the attention of the fire marshal. Rancid’s performance also served to showcase the debut of guitarist/lead singer Tim Armstrong’s new Signature G5191BK Electromatic hollow-body guitar. It’s designed after the 1971 Country Club model that Armstrong has favored for decades. When asked what he particularly loved about his new Signature model, Armstrong replied, “The simplest way for me to explain it is that the sound is full-bodied and thick. I hear the chords as if I’m playing a piano.”

Special Appearances

In addition to the musical performances that highlighted the 2010 Gretsch Showcase, the Gretsch booth featured appearances by several notable individuals. Perhaps the most eye-catching of these was Great Gretsch Girl Kim Falcon, who was on hand to greet visitors and sign autographs throughout the NAMM weekend.

On Saturday the Gretsch booth was graced by a visit from twangy-guitar pioneer and Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductee Duane Eddy. Duane and his wife Deed were hosted at the booth by Fred Gretsch himself, who enjoyed the opportunity to hang out with this musical icon.

For more information and detailed coverage, go to the “News” section of www.gretschguitars.com.

Great Gretsch Roundup In Nashville

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Any time you get a bunch of Gretsch fans together, it’s going to be a rockin’ event.  But get them together for a whole weekend, playing in a 100-year-old tobacco barn on the outskirts of Music City USA, and you have the ingredients for a genuinely historic occasion.

Such was the case this past October 16-18, when Gretsch players from across the country gathered at Hachland Hills Vineyard in Joelton, Tennessee (just outside of Nashville) for the second annual Gretsch Nashville Roundup.  The event was a live-in weekend of jammin’, jawin’, and jivein’ in a camp-like setting.  And, of course, the musical focus was on the great sound of Gretsch instruments.

Gretsch drummer Jason Woodring with Steve Harms on Bass and Dylan Taylor on guitar

Gretsch drummer Jason Woodring with Steve Harms on bass and Dylan Taylor on guitar

As is always the case in any band setting, drummers at the Roundup were outnumbered by guitarists and bassists.  But what they lacked in number they made up for in talent and enthusiasm, providing great rhythmic support for the music that echoed throughout the surrounding woods.

Gretsch drummer John DeVaul of Knoxville provided the kit for the Roundup

Gretsch drummer John DeVaul of Knoxville provided the kit for the Roundup

The drumming trio at the Nashville Roundup consisted of Jon DeVaul (who provided his own beautiful Gretsch kit for use at the event), Dylan Taylor, and Jason Woodring.  And the attraction of the drumset was so strong that it prompted bassist Steve Harms to put down his axe and pick up some sticks for a few tunes.

A special treat for the participants was the presence of Fred Gretsch himself, representing the fourth generation of the Gretsch family.  Fred shared historic anecdotes and stories about the family, the company, and the many great artists who helped to create the Gretsch legacy—all to the delight of the Gretsch enthusiasts in attendance.

Fred Gretsch (left) with Gretsch Guitars master builder Stephen Stern

Fred Gretsch (left) with Gretsch Guitars master builder Stephen Stern

Additional coverage of the event can be seen on the Gretsch Pages discussion forum at http://gretschpages.com/forum/gretsch-events/moments-memories-magic-nashville-roundup-09/25481/page1/.

All photos by Tim Harman.

Gretsch Guitars Present The “Fred & Joe Show” At Gretsch Dealers Throughout The United States

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Gretsch enthusiasts will have the chance to celebrate the music Gretsch has been a part of since their guitar production began in the 1930s. What better way to pay tribute than to have, in-person-the man himself, Fred Gretsch III, and Gretsch marketing honcho, Joe Carducci-sharing the behind-the-scenes stories and musical performances that helped catapult the iconic family business to prominence.

Patrons will be transported through time with a multi-media presentation of sights and sounds including rare Gretsch family archive photos and mind blowing guitar footage from past and future legends. Also featured will be Fred’s famous “$2 Quiz” where Gretsch trivia questions are posed and the person with the correct answer wins a crisp $2 bill. This is the chance to get to know Fred Gretsch up-close-and-personal in a casual open forum at a local Gretsch dealer. (more…)

Gretsch 125th Anniversary Big Event Adds Artists and Industry Sponsors

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

New York City— Legendary drum and guitar manufacturer Gretsch is finalizing plans for an equally legendary celebration of its 125th Anniversary. The “Big Event,” to be held at The Highline Ballroom in New York City on November 18, will feature new and veteran Gretsch artists alike, in an eclectic evening of outstanding musical performances.

The night will open with Colourslide, the Gainesville, Florida-based band that was chosen from among 879 world-wide entrants as the winner of the Next Gretsch Greats Unsigned Artist Competition.

Next on the bill will be David Lee & His Mercenaries. This Gretsch guitar artist will no doubt have (more…)

Fred and Dinah Gretsch Inducted into Georgia Music Hall of Fame

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

Fred and Dinah Gretsch, president and CFO of Savannah-based The Gretsch Company, one of the world’s most well-known drum and guitar makers, have become the first musical instrument manufacturers to be inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

On September 20, 2008, the couple was honored with the “Mary Tallent Pioneer Award,” a distinction given once a year to an inductee who embodies the characteristics of “Mother Mary” Tallent. Tallent was a charter member of the Atlanta Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and longtime supporter of Georgia music until her untimely death in an automobile accident in 1984.

As Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductees, the Gretsches joined the likes of Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, R.E.M., The Allman Brothers Band and (more…)

Summer NAMM Session – Gretsch Celebrates 125 Years

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Nashville, TN June 20-22, 2008

After a 3 year absence the Summer NAMM Show returned to Music City USA. Nashville feels like the rightful host for Summer NAMM. Where else can you get so much music and history. The 3-day event was again held in the Nashville Convention Center in the heart of downtown, just across the street from the Ryman Auditorium — historic home of the Grand ole Opry. NAMM reported a 36 percent increase in show registrants as compared to last year’s show in Austin. As always, the (more…)