Archive for the ‘Music Industry News’ Category

Fred & Dinah Gretsch Honor John Lennon

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Gretsch Guitar Placed at the Imagine Memorial in Central Park

Gretsch Guitar and Beatles Gear Book Placed at Memorial in Memory of John Lennon

Representing the fourth generation of Gretsch musical-instrument manufacturers, Fred and Dinah Gretsch made a visit to New York City’s Central Park on December 8—the 30th anniversary of the assassination of legendary singer, composer, and musician John Lennon. The couple was there to place a Gretsch Historic Series acoustic guitar near the “Imagine” memorial within the Strawberry Fields area. The guitar was inscribed with the word “Imagine” as well as being signed by Fred and Dinah. It was their way of paying their respects to John Lennon and to all his fans.

Although the Gretsches have lived in Georgia for many years, Fred Gretsch spent his boyhood in the New York City area. “I was here in 1964 when the Beatles came,” says Fred. “Coming back to New York, where my family roots are, always kindles many tender reminiscences. But coming this time to honor John Lennon’s memory makes this visit especially poignant.”

Inside the tribute guitar placed by Fred and Dinah was a copy of a photo that’s near and dear to their hearts. It shows John Lennon playing a Gretsch guitar during the recording session for the Beatles’ classic hit “Paperback Writer” in 1966. The following reference to that guitar appears in the Beatles Gear book by Andy Babiuk:

Dinah and Fred Gretsch at Lennon Memorial

“Keeping in step with their scheduled LP and 45 releases, the group set out to record a new single, ‘Paperback Writer.’ The April 13th session was photographically documented for The Beatles Monthly Book providing detailed information on the instruments used. New to their guitar line-up was a Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120 that Lennon used. The early-1960s orange-finished double-cutaway 6120 hollow body guitar had gold-plated hardware apart from its aluminum-colored Bigsby [vibrato tailpiece].”

Fred Gretsch adds, “Aside from the fact that John Lennon played that guitar, it’s special to me for another reason. It would have been made in the 1960s at the Gretsch factory in Brooklyn. My uncle, Fred Gretsch Jr., was running the company at that time. And ironically, Uncle Fred died in 1980—the same year in which John Lennon died.

“John’s music made an impression on millions of people around the world,” Fred concludes. “And it continues to do so, generation after generation. We placed the guitar at John’s memorial as a symbol that we hope will remind people of the power and importance of his music.”

See video clip of an interview with Mr. Gretsch here.

Dinah & Fred Gretsch Being Interviewed at Memorial

Dinah and Fred Gretsch

Stanton Moore Packs PASIC Performance Halls

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Stanton Moore Performs at PASIC

PASIC (Percussion Art Society International Conference) attendees were treated to a double helping of Stanton’s down home “Groove Alchemy.”  On Friday, November 12, Stanton performed an afternoon clinic and then again at an evening concert with his trio (featuring Wil Blades on B3 organ and Scott Metzger on guitar).  The clinic performance hall was packed full with a standing room only crowd and was among the most highly attended PASIC clinics of 2010.  For both the clinic and concert, Stanton used a Gretsch USA Custom kit in Twilight Glass Glitter, a new finish that will be released in 2011.  The kit included a massive 14″x26″ auxiliary bass drum that Stanton incorporated when he wanted access to maximum tonal impact.  He also extensively used his signature 4.5″x14″ solid birds eye maple snare drum for both performances.  When not in use by Stanton, PASIC show goers were able to check out the complete drum set and snare drum at the Gretsch drum booth in the PASIC product hall.

The clinic performance included Stanton’s trio and focused on Stanton’s ability to distill classic funk patterns with sticking pattern breakdowns.  He then demonstrated how those basic sticking patterns are applied to the drum set and morphed to create further beat evolutions.  “Groove Alchemy” printed materials with graphic drum set beat notation were provided to all in attendance.  Stanton’s beats were supported by full band performances, which allowed the audience to experience how the beats are used in a full-band context.

The Friday evening clinic was an all out groove assault that showcased the drummer’s prodigious musical talents.  Stanton’s trio performed a collection of instrumentals that ranged from straight-up funk to a traditional New Orleans dirge to swinging shuffles.  While the emphasis was on the overall musical interplay, each musician applied a liberal amount of solo time.  It was during these moments that Stanton inspired the drum-centric crowd with his press rolls, angular, syncopated rhythmic patterns and bombastic, over-the-bar fills.  After the last note had been played, the audience demonstrated their appreciation for Stanton and his trio by responding with a standing ovation.

Guitar Virtuoso Joe Robinson and ‘The Houdini Tour’

Thursday, November 18th, 2010
Joe Robinson

Joe Robinson, with his Gretsch Guitar, unveils ‘The Houdini Tour’

With the first leg of his ‘Houdini Tour’ well under way, guitar virtuoso Joe Robinson has been astounding sell-out crowds with his unique style and unbelievable technique. The ‘Australia’s Got Talent’ and ‘World Championships of Performing Arts’ winner has been earning rave reviews not only for his extraordinary playing ability but also for his music and superb new band.

The tour which started in the United Kingdom on November 3rd includes dates across Europe and Australia and such has been the incredible reaction to the shows that more dates are quickly being added in Asia and the United States.  The Houdini Tour is rapidly becoming a world tour for the nineteen year old prodigy recently voted “Best New Talent” in Guitar Player Magazine’s annual Reader’s Poll.

Widely known for his solo acoustic tour de force instrumental prowess, Robinson has spread his wings musically by adding vocal selections and touring for the first time with a band. Robinson is being supported by a duo of stellar musicians.  “Almost all of the touring I’ve done over the last 2 years has been as an instrumental soloist… so this time around, I wanted to give people a completely different show,” says Robinson. “Houdini was a crazy escape artist, and in a way I wanted to ESCAPE any preconceived ideas people might have about a Joe Robinson show… I have BERNARD HARRIS playing Bass, and MARCUS HILL playing Drums… and I’m sooo excited about bringing these guys with me. This is going to be a fun, fun show.”

More dates are being added every week with the tour continuing into 2011. Recent months have found Robinson based in Nashville, TN writing a new project expected next year. His critically acclaimed release ‘Time Jumpin’/Midnight In Nashville’ is available now on iTunes.

The Houdini Tour confirmed dates include:

November 3, 2010 Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
November 4, 2010 Melle, Germany
November 5, 2010 Kaarst, Germany
November 6, 2010 Leverkusen, Germany
November 7, 2010 Dresden, Germany
November 8, 2010 Dresden, Germany
November 10, 2010 Freepsum, Germany
November 13, 2010 Mellerud, Sweden
November 15, 2010 Berlin, Germany
November 16, 2010 Dortmund, Germany
November 17, 2010 Wuppertal, Germany
November 18, 2010 Varnsdorf, Czech Republic
November 19, 2010 Prague, Czech Republic
November 20, 2010 Pardubice, Czech Republic
November 23, 2010 Budapest, Hungary
November 25, 2010 Bratislava, Slovakia
November 27, 2010 Vienna, Austria
December 2, 2010 Vignola, Italy
December 4, 2010 Rome, Italy
December 7, 2010 Tokyo, Japan
December 10, 2010 Osaka, Japan
December 11, 2010 Kobe, Japan
January 5, 2011 Eumundi, Australia
January 6, 2011 Toowoomba, Australia
January 7, 2011 Gold Coast, Australia
January 8, 2011 Brisbane, Australia
January 9, 2011 Byron Bay, Australia
January 12, 2011 Sawtell, Australia
January 13, 2011 Port Macquarie, Australia
January 15, 2011 Taree, Australia
January 18, 2011 Newcastle, Australia
January 19, 2011 Central Coast, Australia
January 20, 2011 Dee Why, Australia
January 21, 2011 Sydney, Australia
January 22, 2011 Katoomba, Australia
January 23, 2011 Cronulla, Australia
January 25, 2011 Wollongong, Australia
January 27, 2011 Ulladulla, Australia
January 28, 2011 Canberra, Australia
January 29, 2011 Melbourne, Australia

For more information please visit www.joerobinson.com

Bigsby Vibrato on Permanent Display at USPTO

Friday, November 12th, 2010

For over 200 years, the role of the United States Patent and Trademark Office has been to promote and encourage the progress of science and the useful arts through the issuance of patents and trademarks.  Through the registration of trademarks, the agency assists businesses such as those in the music industry in protecting their investments, promoting goods and services, and safeguarding consumers against confusion and deception in the marketplace.

The Bigsby Division of the Gretsch Company has regularly been invited to participate at the prestigious USPTO Expo in Alexandria, VA.  Bigsby has presented information on the company’s history and has showcased the importance of Bigsby trademarks and the impact they have as source identifiers in the marketplace.  Like most effective trademarks, the very shape of Bigsby tailpieces identifies them, even at a distance when the brand name cannot be read.  This allows Bigsby-equipped guitars to be recognized on concert stages and video broadcasts worldwide.

Bigsby Vibrato Display at USPTO Headquarters

Currently, Bigsby and the Gretsch Company are honored to have an authentic Bigsby Vibrato tailpiece on permanent display at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria.  The display also includes a counterfeit tailpiece to help demonstrate the type of imitation products that can be found in the marketplace.  Appearing similar at first glance, counterfeit products undermine and devalue genuine products.  The display serves as a reminder of the battle and value of protecting patents and trademarks.

According to company owner Fred Gretsch, “The USPTO team enthusiastically supports rights owners through attendance at NAMM shows, their national expo, and an extensive online web site.  We encourage the music industry to make good use of these exceptional resources.  We are also very pleased to have a Bigsby Vibrato product on permanent display at their headquarters so that visitors can see the challenge that counterfeit products present.  We take the protection of intellectual property rights very seriously and appreciate the USPTOs assistance by providing information and education to the public.”

In addition to their ongoing intellectual property protection efforts, the Gretsch Company, along with other leading musical instrument manufacturers, is a member of the Electric Guitar Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition—a group of like-minded organizations that came together with the goal of stemming the proliferation of counterfeit instruments and goods wherever they are manufactured.

The Gretsch Company plans to continue working closely with the USPTO in an effort to strengthen trademark and patent protection for music industry manufacturers while eliminating the proliferation of counterfeit instruments wherever they may be produced.

For more information on the United States Patent and Trademark Office, go to www.uspto.gov.

For more information on Bigsby, go to www.bigsby.com.

Gretsch Answers Readers’ Questions in Premier Guitar

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Fred Gretsch and Joe Carducci

The October 2010 issue of Premier Guitar is a definite must-read. Thanks to Fred & Joe, the magazine’s monthly feature “Go Ahead and Ask” provides their readers with some great insight into the Gretsch Company and That Great Gretsch Sound!  Ten of Premier Guitar’s readers had an opportunity to ask questions of Fred Gretsch, president of the Gretsch Company, as well as Joe Carducci, Gretsch Guitars product specialist. Some great questions were submitted ranging from “What happened to the Electromatic version of the White Penguin?” to “What are the chances of doing a special-edition Electromatic Duo Jet with a Bigsby B70 tremolo and TV Jones pickups?”  In addition, the article gives a brief overview of the company’s amazing family legacy which began in 1883 when Friedrich Gretsch, German immigrant and great-grandfather of Fred Gretsch, opened a small music shop in Brooklyn, NY.

Premier Guitar Magazine October 2010 Cover

Another great reason to check out this issue:  the cover features Daniel Lanois’ 1950s goldtop Les Paul guitar equipped with a Bigsby B7 vibrato tailpiece!

See the entire “Go Ahead and Ask” feature here.  Learn more about the Gretsch Company’s intriguing history here.

Dinah Gretsch Establishes “Mrs. G’s Music Foundation”

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Initiative Supports Music Education In Schools

Visitors to Gretsch.com often read about the activities of Gretsch Company president Fred W. Gretsch. But as Fred would be the first to tell you, his wife Dinah is just as involved in company activities as he is. In fact, as chief financial officer of The Gretsch Company, Dinah Gretsch has been a prominent figure in the musical-instrument industry for more than thirty years.

But Dinah is much more than a key Gretsch Company officer. She is also a parent and grandparent, with an abiding love for children and a keen interest in their development. Given her connection to music, Dinah is particularly concerned with providing children the opportunity to benefit from music education. Accordingly, in June of this year she created the Mrs. G’s Music Foundation. The Foundation’s initial goal is to promote music education in schools located within the greater Savannah area, where The Gretsch Company is based.

“Budget problems have forced many schools across the country to cut out their music programs,” says Dinah. “And that’s sad. But there are many rural schools in our area that have never had music programs, and that’s a tragedy. The Mrs. G’s Music Foundation is tied in with the Savannah Community Foundation as a way to solicit funds for direct aid to those schools.”

The aid in question is being used to fund instructional music programs, as well as seminars, workshops, and concerts by visiting artists. The artist visits serve double-duty as teaching programs and motivational sessions.

Students at THA in Ridgeland, SC take part in a World Drumming Program funded by the Mrs. G’s Music Foundation.

The Foundation’s efforts were inaugurated recently at the Thomas Heyward Academy (THA), which is located near the Gretsch USA factory in Ridgeland, South Carolina. One hundred fifty students are taking part in a World Drumming Program created by noted educator Dr. William Schmidt in conjunction with drumhead and percussion manufacturer Remo, Inc. Funds were provided to supply percussion instruments and workbooks for the students, along with instructional materials for the teacher. In addition, The Gretsch Foundation—the charitable arm of the Gretsch Family—donated guitars to supply guitar students with practice instruments.

“We even refurbished a building on the campus to create a music teaching studio,” says Dinah, enthusiastically. “Now the kids not only have a music program, they also have a dedicated space for that program.”

The Mrs. G’s Music Foundation In-House Visiting Artist program brought top touring drummer Mark Schulman to THA. Schulman played drums, gave an inspirational talk, and spent time with the students.

The Foundation’s In-House Visiting Artist program was also inaugurated at Thomas Heyward Academy with a presentation this past September 10 by top drummer and Gretsch endorser Mark Schulman. Mark has played with such artists as Cher, Foreigner, and Sheryl Crow, and he’s currently touring with pop superstar Pink.

The Thomas Heyward Academy students packed the school’s gym to watch Mark play drums and give an inspirational speech. He spoke to the students about always staying positive, stressing that a good attitude and good behavior will lead to a good life. Mark also believes in the inspiration of music, citing studies that show how students who play music have improved math and English scores. “Music inspires so much joy and such an ability to create,” he said. “Every component of your being wins when you’re playing music.”

Schulman relinquished the drum seat to Heyward Academy sophomore Jacob Rountree for a lively jam session.

But Mark wasn’t the only star of the show. When he asked if any student wanted to sing with him, Jacob Rountree stepped forward. But Jacob didn’t want to sing—he wanted to play the drums. The fifteen-year-old sophomore started playing drums when he was ten, gave it up for awhile, but got back into it about a year ago. When Mark heard that Jacob was a drummer, he stepped aside and let the youngster jam.

"Mrs. G"—Dinah Gretsch—and Joe Robinson

Mark’s dynamic presentation at Thomas Heyward Academy was followed on September 30 with an all-day seminar/workshop and an afternoon concert featuring rising guitar star Joe Robinson. Joe was the winner of the Australia’s Got Talent TV competition in 2008—at the age of sixteen—and he’s already made a name for himself within the Nashville musical community.  His attendance at the school caught the attention of local media.

Six more artist presentations are planned for this year.

Dinah Gretsch (the real-life “Mrs. G”) with Mauldin Sauls, whose logo design will be used for the Mrs. G’s Music Foundation.

Dinah Gretsch also gave students at Thomas Heyward Academy the opportunity to design a logo for her new foundation, to be featured on all written materials and promotional items. The winning design, by eighth-grader Mauldin Sauls, was selected from a large group by Mark Schulman. Mauldin received a $500 prize for her efforts.

The World Drumming Program has also been instituted at Savannah’s Notre Dame Academy. At that location the Mrs. G’s Foundation will also fund the music teacher.

“We want to broaden the scope of the Mrs. G’s Music Foundation as much as possible,” says Dinah Gretsch, “in order to help as many kids as we can. So we’re coordinating with North Carolina’s “Music For Learning” program in a 50/50 funding partnership to put music education into six different Head Start daycare centers in Savannah. We’ll be working with other projects in the future.

Dinah Gretsch and Joe Robinson with Nikki Davis, THA's Music Teacher.

“I believe that music has the power to change children’s lives for the better,” Dinah concludes. “And if we can reach young children with that power, we can set them on a positive path for the rest of their lives. I have the time and the connections with which to implement the Mrs. G’s Music Foundation . . . and the children provide me with the motivation. I think it’s going to be a very productive combination.”

Joe Robinson Scheduled to Perform

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Mrs. G’s Music Foundation proudly presents . . .

JOE ROBINSON
“AUSTRALIA’S GOT TALENT” 2008 WINNER

Performing at the Thomas Heyward Academy
Thursday, September 30, 2010 at 12:15 p.m.
1727 Malphrus Road, Ridgeland, SC 29936

Music lovers who are planning to be in the area are invited to attend.

Standing Room Only!

Mrs. G’s Music Foundation was established by Dinah Gretsch with the goal of enriching children’s lives through music.  Stay tuned for more information about this great new program and about a recent clinic held by Mark Schulman.

ABOUT JOE ROBINSON:
“HAVING QUICKLY ENTRENCHED HIMSELF AS AUSTRALIA’S NEWEST MUSIC PHENOMENON – JOE ROBINSON IS TRULY A VIRTUOSO MUSICIAN.  HIS JAW DROPPING INSTRUMENTAL STYLINGS HAVE GARNERED THE ATTENTION OF MANY GUITAR MASTERS, INCLUDING LES PAUL, STEVE VAI, BRAD PAISLEY, TOMMY EMMANUEL, BRENT MASON, LEE RITENOUR, STEVE CROPPER AND DWEEZIL ZAPPA.  AT A YOUNG AGE JOE HAS PLAYED HEADLINE SHOWS IN MAJOR CENTERS ALL OVER THE GLOBE – INCLUDING LONDON, NEW YORK, HELSINKI, BUDAPEST, SYDNEY, BERLIN, MILAN, VIENNA, BANGKOK, ROME AND AMSTERDAM.  AS AN AWARD WINNING AND PROLIFIC SONGWRITER/COMPOSER, FEARLESS AND ENERGETIC PERFORMER AND HUMBLE, LIKEABLE INDIVIDUAL – ROBINSON SEEMS DESTINED FOR GREATNESS.”

Noteworthy Art Now in Savannah

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

As part of the 21st Annual Savannah Folk Music Festival scheduled from October 8 to 10 in Savannah, Georgia, a special collection of guitars painted by Savannah artists will be on exhibit at the Visitors Center on Ellis Square.  The Noteworthy Art display will run through October 8, daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Exhibited items, including a guitar painted by well-known singer/songwriter Joni Bishop, will be auctioned at two Festival events:  Folkfest on Friday, October 8 in Ellis Square, and a Concert in Grayson Stadium on Sunday, October 10.  Funds raised by these auctions will benefit the upcoming Festival and will help ensure that the annual event continues as a free and open-to-the-public program of the Savannah Folk Music Society.

Savannah artists participating this year include Kathy Miller, Barbara Gentry, Grace Rohland, John Mitchell, Albert Seidl, Bobby Bagley, Ila Scholla, Sue Nichols, Emma Knight, Laura Cody, Alaine Daniel and Tal Willis.  In addition, guitars signed by Jackson Browne, Patty Larkin, Jonathon Edwards, Karla Bonoff, and others will be auctioned at both the Folkfest event on October 8 and the Concert on October 10.

In other fundraising efforts, three artist-signed Gretsch instruments were recently auctioned on eBay. The first, a Gretsch “Chicago” 5-string banjo signed by folk music icon Pete Seeger, and the other two Gretsch Historic Series G3203 acoustic-electric guitars, the first signed by Doc Watson and the second by Ritchie Havens.  These and several of the other signed instruments were donated by the Gretsch Foundation, the charitable arm of the Gretsch family.

For further information, contact Hank Weisman at 912-786-6953 or visit www.savannahfolk.org.