Archive for the ‘Music Industry News’ Category

Gretsch 2012 NAMM Show Highlights

Monday, February 6th, 2012

2012 NAMM Show at the Anaheim Convention Center

The 2012 NAMM musical-instrument show took place January 19 through 22 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. This year’s show was the 110th edition, and attendance reached a record high. A whopping 95,709 visitors filled the halls with an all-new level of energy and excitement.

Gretsch Drums and Gretsch Guitars were a major reason for that excitement, with plenty of new products to display. In addition, Fred and Dinah Gretsch were on hand—joined by other members of the Gretsch family—to lend their special personal touch to all of the Gretsch-related activities.

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.

Fred Gretsch and New Brooklyn Series Kit

The focus of the 2012 NAMM display was the launch of the new Brooklyn Series. Made in Gretsch’s US factory, the new series is a tribute to the city in which the Gretsch Company got its start back in 1883.  And who better to help introduce the new series than Fred Gretsch himself?

Among the beautiful new Brooklyn series kits in the Gretsch booth was a classic five-piece configuration with a Smoke Grey Oyster Nitron wrap. The drums feature Gretsch maple/poplar shells with classic 30-degree bearing edges and the legendary Silver Sealer on their insides. Toms and snares come fitted with new “302” model 3mm double-flanged hoops, which are reminiscent of hoops used by Gretsch up until the mid-1950s.

Gretsch Brooklyn Display

These hoops have the same height profile as the classic Gretsch die-cast hoop in order to provide a playing experience that feels the same as traditional Gretsch USA Custom drums. All other drum hardware components—including lugs, claws, brackets, and spurs—are the same as those used on USA Custom kits. And perhaps best of all for Gretsch “purists,” the return to Brooklyn means a return to a round badge. The Brooklyn Round Badge has a black/pewter color scheme with a classic embossed Gretsch design.

Brooklyn Jazz Kit

Aficionados of jazz will recognize this classic configuration. It’s a Brooklyn Series kit in small “bop” sizes, finished in a mahogany lacquer.

Gretsch Snares

This bevy of beautiful snare drums includes one wood-shell (top left) and three metal-shell (bottom row) Brooklyn Series models, along with two brand-new Brushed Brass snares that feature a hand-brushed finish that creates a distinctive two-toned vintage patina effect.

A just-for-fun monster setup showcased a Gretsch USA Custom kit with a Chrome Nitron finish mounted on an ultra-customized Gibraltar rack.

The distinctive Gretsch Renown 57 kit debuted last year, with a design inspired by the great American car manufacturers of the 1950s. The new Motor City Red finish introduced for 2012 was so hot that the kit had to be displayed behind a plastic shield!

Gretsch Energy Kit

This eight-piece, double-bass kit is from Gretsch’s new affordable Energy Series. “Quick”-sized toms on GTS mounts produce maximum tone, cutting attack, and thunderous low end. Classic Gretsch features include 30-degree bearing edges, 5-lug configurations for the 8”, 10”, and 12” rack toms, and Gretsch-style lugs.

For more highlights-related photos, please visit our photo gallery here.

Goings-On at Gretsch Guitars

Gretsch Guitars Main Display

There’s nothing like a room full of the world’s finest guitars to attract the attention of NAMM show-goers. So there was no shortage of visitors to the Gretsch Guitars exhibit. The fact that Fred Gretsch was also often on hand to greet and chat with Gretsch guitar fans made this year’s exhibit even more special.

Although Gretsch is best known today for the manufacture of great guitars, the company got its start in 1883 making an even more traditional type of American instrument: banjos—as demonstrated by Fred Gretsch.

Fred Gretsch on the Banjo

Not long afterward came mandolins, flat-top guitars, ukuleles, and other instruments that contributed to what we now call “roots” or “Americana” music. Gretsch celebrated this important contribution to American history with a display of authentic recreations of those classic instruments.

Gretsch Roots Disply

When it comes to a recognizable guitar sound, there’s no mistaking the unique twang of rock pioneer Duane Eddy. A long-time user and aficionado of Gretsch guitars, Duane was honored at this year’s NAMM show by having his signature guitar as the focal point of the Gretsch contemporary guitar display.

And a great Gretsch name also returned with the re-introduction of the Rancher acoustic guitars. The richly resonant Rancher first appeared in the early 1950s with its highly distinctive triangular sound hole and sweepingly elegant pickguard. Gretsch proudly re-introduced the model at the show with a great new five-instrument selection of body sizes, styles, and features.

For more highlights-related photos, please visit our photo gallery here.

Gretsch Artists In The House!

A welcome visitor to the Gretsch Drums booth was great Gretsch drummer Stanton Moore. Van Romaine was also on hand to greet and sign autographs for Gretsch drum fans.

Steve, Will, Dinah & Rane

Gretsch artists are considered “part of the family” by Fred and Dinah Gretsch. So it was a family gathering when touring and studio star Stephen Ferrone (far left) stopped by the drum exhibit to sign autographs for show-goers, and to visit with Dinah Gretsch and sixth-generation family members Will (left) and Rane Gretsch.

Gretsch Guitars sponsored a number of artists in live performances throughout the NAMM show. These included guitar stars like Paul Pigat and Duane Eddy, as well as roots musicians Nik & Sam.

Stellar among all the Gretsch artists was Australian guitar phenom Joe Robinson. After breaking onto the scene at the age of sixteen as the youngest-ever winner of Australia’s Got Talent, Joe has gone on to become one of the most exciting and promising young artists on the scene today. His combination of compositional skill and unbelievable technical abilities had jaws dropping at each of his performances.

Fred and Friends

When your name is on the finest drums and guitars in the world, you tend to enjoy the company of others who share a similar status. So it was with Fred Gretsch at the 2012 NAMM Show.

Before the start of the show on Friday, January 20, Fred had the opportunity to share a convivial breakfast with Robert Zildjian and his wife, Willi. After working for many years in the family business that bears his name, Robert Zildjian left in the early 1980s to found his own company: Sabian Cymbals. With generations of business as well as family history behind each of them, Fred and Bob enjoyed swapping stories at breakfast.

Fred and Jeff Pevar

Later in the show Fred enjoyed a visit at the Gretsch Guitars booth from Jeff Pevar. In addition to being a first-call guitarist for artists like David Foster, Rikki Lee Jones, and David Lindley, Jeff is the “P” in CPR, a band in which he plays with rock icon David Crosby and keyboardist/composer James Raymond.

Big Doings At Bigsby

Bigsby Booth

This year saw the Bigsby Vibratos booth taken to a whole new level. The display featured new custom-built vintage-style vibrato cases (like the ones Paul Bigsby made all those years ago) as well as two racks of guitars supplied by thirteen different manufacturers—showcasing the wide array of makes and models that sport Bigsby Vibratos. Visitors to the booth repeatedly expressed how surprised they were at the number and variety of different guitars with Bigsby tailpieces.

Bigsby also set some new records at the show. A total of thirty-two different guitar manufacturers were utilizing Bigsby Vibratos, not only on guitars displayed in their booths, but also in the hands of their performing artists on stage. This was an incredible 39% increase over 2011. In addition, 160 individual Bigsby Vibratos were on display in various booths throughout the exhibition halls—an astounding 44% increase over the number at last year’s show.

Supporting the USPTO

Bigsby Helps Out at USPTO Booth

For the second straight year, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) exhibited at the NAMM Show in an effort to encourage patent and trademark protection and discourage copying within the music industry. Bigsby was happy to aid in this effort by providing a display board that was originally created for the USPTO Trademark Expo in Alexandria, Virginia this past year.

A Celebration of 129 Years

There’s nothing like an anniversary to inspire a celebration. So, to mark the 129th year of business for Gretsch, Dinah and Fred Gretsch invited a group of family, friends, artists, and business partners to a dinner party on Saturday, January 21. The event was held at the Jazz Kitchen restaurant within the Downtown Disney complex in Anaheim.

At one point during the evening Fred and Dinah rose to toast those in attendance, thanking them for helping to make Gretsch an ongoing success. Fred pointed out that between his forty-seven years in the music business and Dinah’s thirty-three, it added up to eighty years of experience…during which time, he said, “We’ve partnered with the best.”

Fred with Alvino Bennett, Mark Schulman, and John Palmer

Gretsch artists in attendance at the dinner included drummers Mark Schulman, Stephen Ferrone, and Alvino Bennett, “roots” musicians Nik & Sam, and guitarists Duane Eddy, Paul Pigat, and Joe Robinson. At Dinah Gretsch’s request Joe pulled out an acoustic guitar and entertained the guests with one of his recent compositions.

When Joe had concluded, Dinah Gretsch expressed her pride in the youth associated with Gretsch. “We need youth and passion to continue the business for the next hundred years,” she concluded. “It’s all about passion for what we do.”

For all highlights-related photos, please visit the photo gallery here.

Gretsch Introduces New Rancher Acoustics

Friday, January 20th, 2012

From the Gretsch Guitars Website:

A great Gretsch name is back with the return of Rancher acoustic guitars.

The richly resonant Rancher first appeared in the early 1950s with its highly distinctive triangular sound hole and sweepingly elegant pickguard, and Gretsch is now very proud to re-introduce the model with a great new five-instrument selection of body sizes, styles and features.

New Gretsch Rancher Acoustics

The G3500 Rancher Folk delivers full, well-articulated acoustic tone worthy of its larger Rancher brothers. Premium features include a vibrant laminated spruce top with scalloped X bracing and the traditional Gretsch Rancher triangular sound hole, laminated mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck with 20-fret rosewood fingerboard, 1940s-style pickguard with Gretsch logo, compensated bridge with rosewood base, nickel-plated hardware, deluxe die-cast tuners and an elegant gloss Natural finish. The G3800 Rancher Orchestra packs those same features into a classic medium-size 21-fret model with a rounded orchestra-style body that fills the hall with full Rancher sound, feel and vibe.

The G5013CE Rancher Jr. is a diminutive but powerful model with an elegant Venetian cutaway for easy access to the fingerboard’s upper reaches and onboard electronics that let it be heard loud and clear. It too has the same features listed above, with the additions of Neo-Classic™ thumbnail inlays on the 21-fret fingerboard and onboard Fishman® electronics that include a Sonicore under-saddle pickup, Isys+ preamp system with onboard tuner, battery life indicator and controls for volume, treble, bass and phase.

The biggest new Rancher is the G5022CE Rancher Jumbo Cutaway Electric, which produces great volume and broadly expansive tone complemented by its elegant Venetian cutaway for easy access to the fingerboard’s upper reaches and onboard electronics. Premium features include a solid spruce top with scalloped X bracing and the traditional Gretsch Rancher triangular sound hole, flame maple back and sides, mahogany neck, 21-fret rosewood fingerboard with Neo-Classic™ thumbnail inlays, 1940s-style pickguard with Gretsch logo, compensated bridge with rosewood base, gold-plated hardware, deluxe die-cast tuners and a gloss Savannah Sunset finish. Onboard Fishman® electronics include a Sonicore under-saddle pickup and Isys+ preamp system with onboard tuner, battery life indicator and controls for volume, treble, bass and phase.

The G5034 Rancher Dreadnought delivers full-size, full-on Rancher sound, feel and vibe with classic Gretsch styling. Premium features include a solid spruce top with scalloped X bracing and the traditional Gretsch Rancher triangular sound hole, laminated mahogany back and sides, mahogany neck, 21-fret rosewood fingerboard with Neo-Classic™ thumbnail inlays, 1940s-style pickguard with Gretsch logo, compensated bridge with rosewood base, gold-plated hardware, deluxe die-cast tuners and an elegant gloss Natural finish.

For all the details and specs, visit the Gretsch Guitars website.

Gretsch Introduces New Brooklyn Series

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

From the Gretsch Drums Website:

Gretsch drums were born in Brooklyn, New York in 1883. They were proudly crafted in the vibrant city for the better part of the 20th Century. Brooklyn and Gretsch share an inseparable history that is part of American music history and folklore. It is a shared legacy that cannot be duplicated. Today, Brooklyn represents a renaissance community that vibrates with contemporary artistic expression, youthful innovation and passionate musical commitment. Gretsch Brooklyn series celebrates the rejuvenated Brooklyn city passion and spirit and expands on its distinctive shared American experience.

Gretsch Brooklyn Series

Sound

Rooted in classic Gretsch design, Brooklyn delivers vintage Gretsch tones that are full, punchy and warm. These classic tones are modified by the 6-ply North American maple/ poplar shells and “302″ hoops. Innovative specs drive a new Gretsch tonal characteristic that is slightly more open and ambient. Brooklyn drums sound like classic Gretsch drums, but speak with their own sonic personality.
The Shells

All Brooklyn drums feature 6-ply North American maple/ poplar shells. Toms are .220″ thick and snare and bass drums shells are .310″ thick, slightly thicker than standard USA Custom shells. All shells have the proprietary Gretsch 30-degree bearing edge. Shell interiors are finished with classic Gretsch Silver Sealer. Each shell comes with a distinctive Brooklyn internal shell label that contains drum shell model number and serial number.

The Hardware

Brooklyn toms and snares come fitted on batter and resonant side with the new Gretsch “302″ hoop. At 3mm thick and double-flanged, it is reminiscent of hoops used by Gretsch up until the mid 1950’s. The 302 hoop has the same height profile as the classic Gretsch die-cast hoop to provide a playing experience that feels the same as traditional Gretsch USA Custom drums. All other drum hardware components – lugs, claws, brackets, spurs, etc – are the same that is used on Gretsch USA Custom.

Snare Drum

Gretsch Brooklyn series metal snare drums add another professional and distinctive voice to the Gretsch snare line up. The straight-sided chrome over brass shell (with Gretsch center knurl pattern) is offered in two sizes, 5×14 (8 lug) and 6.5×14 (10 lug). Also offered is hammered chrome over brass shell in 6.5×14 (10 lug). All shells include Gretsch “302″ 3mm/double-flanged hoops, Lightning throw off and butt plate, “Snap-in” drum key holder, 20-strand snare wire and Gretsch Permatone drum heads. The brass shells resonate with classic, musical tones and are extremely versatile. The “302″ hoops provide a timbre that is more open and ambient than traditional Gretsch die-cast hoops.

The Badge

The return to Brooklyn means a return to a Round Badge. The Brooklyn Round Badge has a black/pewter color scheme with classic embossed Gretsch design.

The Finishes

Satin Finish Colrs: Mahogany (SM), Dark Ebony (SDE), Tobasco (ST), Emerald Green (SEG)
Nitron (Wrap) Finish Colors: Vintage Cream Oyster (CO), Smoke Grey Oyster (GO), Ruby Red Oyster (RO), Royal Blue Oyster (BO)

Brooklyn Series Colors

Series Specs

Shell: Gretsch Maple/American Poplar 6-Ply
Bearing Edge: Gretsch Style 30-degree
Hardware: USA Custom drum hardware in chrome
Shell Interior: Gretsch Silver Sealer with serialized Brooklyn shell label
Hoops: “302″ double-flanged 3.0mm
Badges: Brooklyn Round Badge
Configurations: 6 total configurations
Finishes: 4 Satin, 4 Nitron
BD Hoops/Satin: Maple hoops finished in satin natural
BD Hoops/Nitron: Maple hoops finished in satin black with matching inlay
Drum Heads: Gretsch Permatone by Remo

Brooklyn Metal Snare Drums

Shell: Rolled 1.1mm brass with center knurl pattern or 1.1mm hammered brass
Finish: Chrome with chrome hardware
Hoops: Gretsch “302″ 3mm, double flanged
Throw-off: Lighting Throw-off / Butt plate
Snare Wires: 20 Strand
Heads: Permatone coated batter with white sound dot and clear snare-side heads
Features: Snap-in key holder

For all the details and more photos, please visit the GretschDrums website.

Star In Your Own Bigsby Ad!

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

In a world where advertisements are often ho-hum, Bigsby has upped the excitement level by inviting guitarists around the world to star in their very own Bigsby ad!

The idea is simple:  Bigsby wants to create a series of “personalized” ads using shots of working guitarists playing their favorite Bigsby-equipped axe. Response to this innovative idea has already been tremendous, generating dozens of great photos for the contest.

The first winning entry featured two shots from Steve “Twang Is The Thang” Litvak, guitarist for Rochester, New York’s The Tombstone Hands. Other entries submitted can be seen HERE. While there, be sure to check out the rest of recently renovated Bigsby website.

For a chance to win a spot in a future Bigsby ad, guitarists should send their photos (of YOU with your Bigsby-equipped guitar) to everythingyouneed@bigsby.com. Photos can also be mailed to Bigsby, P.O. Box 2468, Savannah, GA 31402.

Please note that submitted photos will not be returned, and that submission constitutes permission to use any photo in its entirety or in edited form in print, on the web, or in promotional materials.

For everything Bigsby, please visit the Bigsby website.

Gretsch Seen by Millions Over the Holidays

Friday, January 6th, 2012

From the Gretsch Drums website:

Rockin’ in the New Year with Omar Tavarez!

Omar Tavarez with Pitbull: With this being the 40th anniversary of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, ratings were at their highest in 11 years! At one point, there were 22.6 million viewers!

Omar Tavarez on Gretsch Drums

Here is a link to Pitbull’s performance with new Gretsch/Gibraltar artist Omar Tavarez!

Eddie Fisher with OneRepublic

We also had Gretsch placed with Eddie Fisher and OneRepublic. They appeared on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve as well. And did you happen to see the new Disney commercial featuring OneRepublic that premiered on New Year’s Eve? If not, check it out here . . . another Gretsch logo appearance! Even Donald Duck plays Gretsch!!

Eddie Fisher on Gretsch Drums

Update: Louis Messina and Electric Touch

Recent Gretsch/Gibraltar signee, Louis Messina and his band Electric Touch are just under a quarter of a million views on their new video “Don’t Stop.” Amazing Gretsch logo coverage!

Louis Messina on Gretsch Drums

Check the video out here.

For more information on Gretsch drum artists, make sure to visit the Gretsch Drums website.

Dinah and Fred Gretsch Host Drum-Makers Holiday Lunch

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Dinah and Fred Gretsch recently hosted a special holiday lunch for all the staff at the Gretsch USA Drum Manufacturing facility in Ridgeland, SC. The “Drum-makers Holiday Lunch” featured a splendid feast of southern delicacies and this special occasion was very much enjoyed by one and all.

Dinah Gretsch began the lunch by thanking everyone for all their hard work during the year and acknowledged the very important role that they play in upholding the Gretsch tradition for quality and for creating “That Great Gretsch Sound”. Fourth Generation family member Fred Gretsch further demonstrated the long history of this tradition by showing images of some of the earliest Gretsch drums from the pages of a 1912 Gretsch catalog.

With demand for Gretsch USA drums growing all around the world, the factory has recently been expanding its production staff.  So the holiday lunch also provided a great opportunity for the Gretsches to get to know better the newest members of the drum-making team.

Gretsch Drum Team

Front row:  Mrs. Dinah Gretsch, Tonya Munn, Lorena Ortuno, Juana Nunez, Emilia Ortiz, Maria Perez, Barbara Fennell, Harry Dailey, Paul Cooper.

Back row:  Mr. Fred Gretsch, Joshua Safer, Craig Johansen, Lee Vallier, Matt Collett, Adam Dycus.

Chet Atkins: The Lasting Influence of “Mr. Guitar”

Monday, December 19th, 2011

The Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player exhibition which opened in August 2011 continues into the summer of 2012. Located in the East Gallery of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, the exhibit pays tribute to one of country music’s most versatile and visionary artists.

Ten years after Chet’s death in June of 2001, interest in him has not faded in the least.  One only needs to see all that is blogged, tweeted, and otherwise posted about him on a daily basis.  Here are a couple recent examples:

“Chet Atkins: The Lasting Influence of ‘Mr. Guitar’” by Craig Havighurst.  Excerpt:

“It’s not that there weren’t solo guitar players before him — but there weren’t that many. Chet took solo guitar to everybody.

Even to this day, young devotees are embracing Atkins’ style. Ben Hall, a 22-year-old from Okolona, Miss., showcased at this year’s convention. Hall uses the tricky right-hand technique that Atkins adopted from Kentuckian Merle Travis and refined in the 1940s and ’50s.

‘It revolves around a bass note,’ Hall says. ‘The fingers … Merle used one, Chet thought Merle was using two. So he used two and three and sometimes a handful of fingers. They play the melody. And there’s famous stories of so many great guitar players along the way who play other styles listening to this and saying, ‘I had no idea that’s one instrument.’ ”

Read the entire story here.

December 2011 issue of Premier Guitar magazine, “Chet Atkins: Country Gentleman,” also by Craig Havighurst.  Excerpt:

“Refinement. It’s a word we’ve come to associate (sometimes incorrectly) with luxury brands and upscale dining. Musically, maybe the term conjures up a string quartet. It’s not what you see emblazoned on welcome signs to little Appalachian Mountain towns like Luttrell, Tennessee.

But to properly consider the career of Chester Burton Atkins, native son of said mountain town, the true meaning of refinement (‘to make improvement by introducing subtleties or distinctions,’ says Webster) could prove more than a little useful. Chet’s not the only small-town kid to become a major-league musician, cultural force, and executive, though few have achieved so much with such humility. But on the guitar, where nails meet strings, Chet stands pretty much alone.”

Read the entire story here.

Chet Atkins Exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Photo by Donn Jones Photography.

Paul Bigsby Remembered

Monday, December 12th, 2011

Paul Bigsby

On December 12, 1899, Paul Adelbert Bigsby was born in Elgin, Illinois.  Paul was many things:  a successful motorcycle racer, expert pattern-maker, machinist, inventor, poet, guitar-maker, and musician. Most widely known for inventing the Bigsby True Vibrato tailpiece, Paul also made the first modern solidbody electric guitar for musician Merle Travis in 1948.  Paul Bigsby was the “man who could build anything”.

Following are a couple of excerpts from The Story of Paul Bigsby:  Father of the Modern Electric Solidbody Guitar by Andy Babiuk.  This well-researched book tells the fascinating story of Paul’s life and work and is loaded with hundreds of photos and illustrations.

“The musicians who played their custom-made Bigsby guitars helped shape the core of modern electric-guitar playing.  Merle Travis’s inspiration gave rise to the Chet Atkins style, and both men were the fathers of the Scotty Moore and early rockabilly style.  These players in turn heavily influenced the guitarists of the British Invasion and almost every rock player who has ever picked up a guitar since then.”

“P.A. Bigsby achieved nothing less than changing the world of American music. He was a man of vision and extraordinary imagination who possessed the abilities and sense of craft to turn that vision and imagination into a reality.”

To learn more about Paul Bigsby, get a copy of The Story of Paul Bigsby today and visit Bigsby.com.

You can also check out the article in the December issue of Premier Guitar magazine featuring Paul Bigsby. In a series of articles entitled “Forgotten Heroes”, light is shed on legendary figures who have contributed great things to the world of music though their stories may not be widely known.  This article details contributions made by Paul Bigsby to the world of modern music by focusing in on some of his most enduring designs.  Included are details of how he modified the pedal steel guitar into the configuration we know today, used an aluminum case for the shielding of pickups, placed all 6 tuning machines on a single side to promote tuning stability, and, of course, designed the now-famous Bigsby True Vibrato.  The article also discusses the sometimes-strained relationship with Leo Fender and the similarities of a few design components found of most modern electric guitars.  A nicely crafted article to whet your appetite for more history of Paul Bigsby and how he contributed to the world of electric guitars. Available at your local newsstand and online HERE.