Archive for the ‘Music Industry News’ Category

Gretsch Foundation Supports Sav’h Banjo Workshop

Monday, May 17th, 2010

The third Banjo Assembly Workshop presented by the Savannah Folk Music Society (SFMS) was held on Saturday, May 1. The event took place on the grounds of the Ships of the Sea Museum (SOSM) in Savannah, Georgia and drew many avid enthusiasts.  The workshop focused on the construction of real, playable banjos by amateur banjo enthusiasts.

Members of the Third Banjo Workshop

Hank Weisman of SFMS and Tony Pizzo of SOSM were the workshop teachers. Twenty-three participants were thrilled to create instruments for themselves using banjo parts donated by the Gretsch Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the Gretsch family. Fred and Dinah Gretsch—owners of the Pooler, Georgia-based Gretsch Company—are long-time supporters of the Savannah Folk Music Society.

Workshop Participants Busy at Work

Based on the excitement of those who participated, as well as the availability of additional parts in Gretsch’s Ridgeland, South Carolina warehouse, plans are under way for additional workshops in 2011 and 2012.

The Gretsch Company and the Gretsch Foundation are pleased to be  a part of this unique workshop for the benefit of Savannah area  musical enthusiasts.

For more information on the Savannah Folk Music Society visit  www.savannahfolk.org . For more  information on the Gretsch Foundation and the Gretsch Company, visit www.gretsch.com.

Colin Schofield Joins Gretsch Team

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Colin Schofield has been named to the position of  Business Development Manager for The Gretsch Company. In this newly created role, Schofield will be assisting company president Fred Gretsch in the development and execution of strategies to further build and strengthen the Gretsch brand worldwide. To this end Schofield will be working out of Gretsch company headquarters in Savannah, Georgia.

Dinah Gretsch, C.F.O. (seated); Lena Gretsch-Thomas, Inventory Control Manager; Fred W. Gretsch, President; Colin Schofield, Business Development Manager (standing L-R).

Schofield has extensive experience in the music products industry, in US and international markets alike. He spent nearly twenty years with the Avedis Zildjian Company, eventually serving as vice president of marketing worldwide. Responsible for global brand management and for the development of worldwide marketing strategies, Schofield was the driving force behind numerous innovative marketing programs as well as new product introductions including the A Custom and K Constantinople cymbal ranges. More recently he held sales and marketing management positions with Premier Percussion and Aquarian Drumheads.

Says Fred Gretsch, “We’re excited to have Colin joining our team. We look forward to the significant contributions he will make to the continued growth and success of the Gretsch brand.”

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 . . .

Sticks ‘n’ Skins Features Fifteen Gretsch Artists

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Sticks ‘n’ Skins: A Photography Book About the World of Drumming made its debut at sticksnskins.com October 15, 2009! Fifteen Gretsch artists are highlighted throughout Sticks ‘n’ Skins which features some never-before-seen photos and stories of Alvino Bennett, Cindy Blackman, Karl Brazil, Jay Bellerose, Vinnie Colaiuta, M. Shawn “Clown” Cranhan, Steve Ferrone, Danny Frankel, Ryan MacMillian, Stanton Moore, Seth Rausch, Mark Schulman, Charlie Watts, Tommy Wells, and Stefanie Eulinberg.

Steve Ferrone

Steve Ferrone

A perfect gift for all Gretsch fans! Music lovers will discover the heartbeat of music this holiday season in this 560-page coffee table book illuminating the eclectic world of drumming over the past 70 years. Fotos By Folletts photographers traveled to 53 cities in four countries and photographed over 500 drummers to be included in the pages of this captivating hardcover book. From the true legends to students and teachers, drum-techs to cartage companies and shop owners, Sticks ‘n’ Skins preserves the legacy of this unique group of musicians.

Mark Schulman

Mark Schulman

Dedicated to the late drumming photographer Lissa Wales, Sticks ‘n’ Skins opens with a special tribute to her work. Well known to the drumming community, Lissa was a trailblazer in her field, specializing in capturing the heart and soul of drummers around the world. (To learn more about Lissa, please visit DrumPics.com).

“This book documents our drumming history, thus preserving our talents and our reasons for why we do what we do for future generations to feel. It is a compelling and moving glimpse into the drumming community.” -Dom Famularo, Drumming’s Global Ambassador.

Stefanie Eulinberg

Stefanie Eulinberg

“I have been privileged and blessed to have met and photographed this amazing group of musicians . . . the drummers,” says author Jules Follett. “I thank them all for helping me capture their talent, energy and passion visually.”

For more information or to purchase your copy today, please visit www.sticksnskins.com.

Alvino Bennett

Alvino Bennett

Setzer Releases “Songs from Lonely Avenue” and Heads Out for the Holidays

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Brian recently met with Jim Fusilli of the Wall Street Journal to discuss the Brian Setzer Orchestra’s new album, “Songs from Lonely Avenue”, released earlier this month and which has since debuted in the #4 spot on Billboard’s Jazz Chart.  Brian wrote all 13 songs on the album which is already receiving rave reviews from music lovers and critics alike.  “Lonely Avenue” looks destined to make it onto many’s holiday gift wish list this year.  Be sure to check out the great WSJ interview at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704107204574469560998406626.html

Brian and the Orchestra are also getting ready to hit the road for their 7th Annual Christmas Rocks Extravaganza!  This year some lucky fans will be able to purchase special VIP ticket packages.  Check out Brian’s website, http://www.briansetzer.com/, for the complete show schedule and to purchase tickets before they’re all sold out.

 

Setzer Releases "Lonely Avenue"

Setzer Releases "Lonely Avenue"

Les Paul Remembered

Friday, August 14th, 2009
Les Paul with one of his signature guitars outfitted with a Bigsby Vibrato

Les Paul was a true disciple of the guitar, an innovator in the fields of guitar design, amplification and recording, and a consummate — and lifelong — performer.

In 2005, my wife Dinah and I had the pleasure of attending Les’s 90th birthday celebration show at Carnegie Hall. We were impressed with his humility and his sense of humor…to say nothing of his playing ability. Two years later we saw Les again, this time in the more intimate setting of the Iridium Jazz Club in New York City. We had the opportunity to meet with him personally between shows, and we found him to be a gracious host and a true gentleman.

When guitar great Chet Atkins was ready to design a signature model for Gretsch back in 1954, he turned to his friend Les Paul for advice. Les had designed his namesake guitar for Gibson by that time, and Chet’s own design ultimately proved a similar success for Gretsch. The two great guitarists remained lifelong friends, and when Les came out of retirement in the mid-1970s, he teamed up with Chet for two recordings — including the 1976 Grammy Award-winning Chester And Lester album.

Anyone even slightly connected with guitars or recording owes a tremendous debt to Les Paul for his immeasurable contributions to the art and science of music. He was a genuine American original, and we will miss him very much.

Fred Gretsch
The Gretsch Company

Gretsch Family Memories of Les Paul

In 1934, a young Maxine “Sylvia” Elsner (destined to become the wife of Bill Gretsch and mother of current Gretsch Company president, Fred W. Gretsch) attended the Chicago World’s Fair.  She had her picture taken by a street photographer and the handwritten note “Chicago World’s Fair 1934” is the only memory that has been passed down of her visit.

At the fair a 19-year-old guitarist from Wisconsin named Les Paul was playing in a trio with Fry Peters and Joe Wolverton for the Reliance Manufacturing Company.  They played at the General Exhibition Pavilion.  Their style was popular hillbilly-country, jazz-flavored tunes.  Les and Joe had played previously as the Ozark Appleknockers on radio shows around St. Louis and Chicago.  (The Early Years of the Les Paul Legacy, Robb Lawrence, Hal Leonard Books, 2008).

After the fair, Les went on to play at the Bismarck Hotel in Chicago.  He would become famous in the years to come but in those early years in Chicago, he was a young newcomer to the world of music.

Bill Gretsch was also a newcomer.  He had gone to Chicago around 1933 to work for his father’s company, The Fred Gretsch Mfg. Co.  He was full of energy and his father, Fred Gretsch Sr., felt that Chicago offered more room for his energies than the stayed offices of the company in Brooklyn.  Bill Gretsch was looking to make his mark in the family music business which his grandfather had started and his father was then running.  Bill noticed the young talent of Les Paul both at the Fair and at the Bismarck and he encouraged him, introduced him to others in the business, made some connections for him in New York, and generally welcomed Les into the world of music as Bill had known it since his childhood.

When Sylvia attended the fair she knew nothing yet of Bill Gretsch.  It would be another 3 years until they met and 8 years until they were married.  But, perhaps, she stopped to hear the trio who played such fascinating music for the company which made “Big Yank” work shirts.  Perhaps at that same moment so many years ago, young Bill Gretsch stood near her also listening to Les Paul and his friends.

Louie Bellson Has Passed Away, Longtime Cherished Friend Of The Gretsch Family Will Be Missed

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

With the passing of Louie Bellson, drumming has lost a genuine innovator. Drummers around the world have lost a sweet and gentle man who was at once an icon and a comrade. And the Gretsch family has lost a cherished friend.

When Louie was making his mark on the drumming scene in the 1940s and ’50s, playing with the great bands of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, and Harry James, (more…)