Archive for the ‘Music Industry News’ Category

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…)

Bo Diddley Passes Away at Age 79

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Long Time Gretsch Friend Entertained and Inspired the Globe

Legendary R&B king and long-time Gretsch friend, Bo Diddley, has passed away at the age of 79. With his rectangular Gretsch guitar and trademark “Bo Diddley Beat”, he entertained and inspired the globe. His Ed Sullivan television debut aired way back in 1955. That was America’s first look at a man whose unique rhythm and style would eventually serve as fuel for the Rock’n'Roll, Blues, and Psycodelic genres. (more…)

Jimmie Webster: A Great Gretsch Ambassador

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

Jimmie Webster: Gretsch Celebrates the 100th Birthday of a Colorful Musician, Inventor, and Traveling Ambassador for Gretsch Guitars.

Jimmie Webster was born on August 11, 1908 in Van Wert, Ohio into a very musical family. Both parents played as well as taught piano and his sister, Virginia, became a well-respected jazz pianist. Keeping the family tradition alive, Webster excelled at piano but also had a passion for the guitar.

In the 1930s Webster was a professional musician in the New York City area and married L’Ana Hyams, one of the first women jazz bandleaders. Webster was also an in-demand professional piano tuner, ran a small music store, and began doing a little consulting work for the Gretsch Company.

During World War II Webster served as a musician in the U.S. Air Corps in Iceland. After the war, Webster moved to Long Island, N.Y. where he became more involved with the Gretsch Company. Webster’s long association with Gretsch guitars would span four decades. (more…)

Billy Gladstone: A Great Gretsch Ambassador

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Billy Gladstone: Legendary Percussionist, Innovative Inventor, and Gretsch Drum Ambassador.

Gretsch’s first endorsement superstar, Billy Gladstone, was a rare musical “triple threat.” Not only was Gladstone one of the most respected percussionists of his era (many say the best snare drum player who ever lived), he was also a creative inventor with over 20 U.S. patents to his name, as well as a respected instrument builder.

Born in Rumania on December 15, 1892 into a musical family, Gladstone’s English-born father supervised Rumania’s Government Band. At age seven, Gladstone joined his father’s band more for comedic purposes than for his musicianship. Although the little Gladstone drew laughs on stage struggling to play a big baritone horn, over time he learned to master the horn and other brass instruments as well. (more…)

Phil Grant: A Great Gretsch Ambassador

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Phil Grant: Gretsch’s Greatest Percussion Innovator, Drum Salesman, and Ambassador.

Phil Grant was the “complete package” during his 26-year career with Gretsch that spanned from 1946 to 1972. A superb percussionist, Phil is considered by many as the Gretsch Company’s finest drum salesman, inventor, innovator, drum ambassador, and company friend to countless musicians. Grant literally redefined the Artist Relations role within the music industry and led Gretsch drums through a “Golden Era” in the late 1940’s through the 1960’s.

Master Percussionist and Brilliant Drummer Born Philip Osborne Grant in 1914 to naturally gifted musical parents, Phil attended Penn State and graduated in 1935 with a degree in music education. Upon hearing him play, the Juilliard Conservatory offered Phil a postgraduate scholarship to study the timpani. Grant was a master percussionist and could play any part on any percussion instrument (including the mechanical wind machine he played during performances of “The Flying Dutchman Overture.”) Phil played for the Pittsburgh Symphony during the winter season and for the Goldman Band in New York during the summer. He was such an accomplished musician that he made it a personal policy to never audition for a job. (more…)

Gretsch Guitars – The Artful Icon

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

By Billy Murphy – From Vintage Guitar Magazine

Gretsch But isn’t this the very art and status of Gretsch; giving so many artists a voice? Not simply a twangy voice, or a sustaining voice or a diving Bigsby “is it out of tune or is it in tune ?” voice, but a voice for their words, tones, emotions, passion and image. Even God loves a Strat, but could Eddie Cochran have been the Eddie Cochran without a 6120? If there ever was an illustration to the adage, “The whole equals more than the sum of its parts,” it ’s a Gretsch guitar. With every blistering Setzer run, you not only hear Brian ’s talent, discipline and love, you also feel his guitar -its history and its journey; its womanly curves that Setzer none-too-coincidently hugs as his own.

But how did Gretsch get where it is on this evolutionary six-string food chain? In those beginning days, there were no marketing plans.There was no focus group research. Yet for some reason the Gretsch guitar,in its form and design, has become an icon. Who do we thank? Who do we even congratulate? Was it even a conscious result of the guitar – maker? Gretsch guitars reached their prominence in a time when the cart came before the horse, when guitars were made for the average man to play his average tune. Not like to- day, when guitars seem designed and built for that imaginary star who might someday be playing it. (more…)

Charles Kramer was instrumental to guitarists
Known as ‘Mr. Guitar Man’

Friday, August 5th, 2005

By Jennifer Koehler

Charles “Duke” Kramer, also known as “Mr. Guitar Man,” was pivotal in making Gretsch electric guitars what they are today – for guitar aficionados, they are synonymous with quality workmanship and a unique acoustic, breathy sound. Artists such as Chet Atkins and Brian Setzer have made the guitars famous.

Even though he couldn’t play a lick, “The Silver Duke” Gretsch guitar was named after him. Need a Gretsch guitar? No problem. An out-of-commission silver or gold knob? No problem. Mr. Kramer was the man who knew anything and everything about Gretsch guitars. (more…)

Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young Tour With Gretsch Guitars

Wednesday, August 7th, 2002

Legendary rockers, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recently finished a successful Spring Tour of the US. With a few stops in Canada, the tour rolled through over 40(no pun intended) venues in a little over 2 months. The nearly 4 hour performances were true “concert events” capturing the bands’ greatest and latest tunes. Those in attendance were treated with acoustic and electric sets, and as always, powerful harmonies.

Both Stephen Stills and Neil Young were seen playing their Gretsch Guitars: New White Falcons , a classic Nashville, and even an old Stereo Falcon. Young was also working the Bigsby during classic jams like “Southern Man” and “Cinnamon Girl”; in full Rock mode. “He was wailin’ on the guitar during the entire electric set…the band was really tight, and the vocals were dead on” said Joe Savage, a dedicated CSNY fan who attended the first Philly Show. (more…)