Dinah Gretsch Featured In Pooler Magazine

April 4th, 2011

Dinah Gretsch's Pooler Magazine Cover

Already one of the best-known women in the musical instrument industry, Dinah Gretsch can now add “cover girl” to her list of credits. The Gretsch Company CFO (and wife of company president Fred W. Gretsch) was recently the subject of the cover story in Pooler magazine. The publication is a regional title that focuses on key personalities and events in the Savannah, Georgia suburb for which it’s named. Fred and Dinah Gretsch live in Pooler, and the community is just a short drive from the Gretsch drum factory in Ridgeland, South Carolina.

In addition to outlining the 127-year history of the Gretsch Company, the Pooler Magazine cover story also spotlights Dinah Gretsch’s current personal efforts as an activist for music education, including the Mrs. G’s Music Foundation. Dinah founded that organization in 2010 to help local schools keep music instruction in their curriculum. The article quotes Dinah as saying, “I love kids, and kids love music. There are some rural schools in our area that never had music education. So the foundation is helping to start those programs from scratch.” So far the Mrs. G’s Foundation has brought the World Drumming Program to Savannah’s Notre Dame Academy and to Ridgeland’s Thomas Heyward Academy, in addition to funding music teachers and a visiting-artist program that’s already presented drummers Mark Schulman (Pink) and Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers) and guitarists Bob Sabellico, Richard Kiser, and Joe Robinson. In addition, a collaboration with the Lexington, Kentucky-based Foundation For Music Learning, has resulted in music instruction being placed in eight Headstart programs in Savannah.

For more information on Dinah Gretsch’s Pooler Magazine cover story, go to Pooler Magazine’s website.

Dinah Gretsch Sponsors THA’s Got Talent Event

March 23rd, 2011

Mrs. G’s Music Foundation Supports Celebrity Judges at Local Contest

The Mrs. G’s Music Foundation, created by Gretsch Company CFO Dinah Gretsch to support music education in rural schools, recently sponsored the THA’s Got Talent contest at Thomas Heyward Academy in Ridgeland, South Carolina. Held this past March 15, the competition presented performances in vocal, dance, and variety by kindergarten through twelfth grade THA students.

THA's Got Talent Judges

On hand to serve as a celebrity judges for the evening were Stephen Ferrone and Joe Robinson. Currently a member of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Ferrone’s touring and recording credits include The Average White Band, Chaka Khan, Paul Simon, George Benson, and Eric Clapton. Robinson is a guitar prodigy who won the 2008 edition of Australia’s Got Talent at the age of sixteen and has since headlined shows around the world. Completing the panel of judges was Felicia Lem, a local dance instructor and THA alumnus.

Stephen & Joe Perform

In addition to the talent contest, the event featured a performance by Ferrone and Robinson. They were later joined by a battery of THA fifth and sixth graders playing percussion instruments. Ferrone then congratulated all the contestants and saluted the parents for supporting their children’s musical endeavors.

The Mrs. G’s Music Foundation was established in 2010. Since then, the organization has funded a variety of 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.

THA's Got Talent Winners

“I believe that music has the power to change children’s lives for the better,” said Dinah Gretsch. “If we can reach young children with that power, we can set them on a positive path for the rest of their lives.”

Spotlight: Gretsch Renown ‘57 in Motor City Blue

February 24th, 2011

From GretschDrums.com:

Gretsch Renown '57

Gretsch shatters conventional drum design with the Renown ‘57 in Motor City Blue. Inspired by the great American car companies from the 1950s, the Renown ‘57 incorporates timeless, iconic car design elements and applies them to drums. The “hood ornament” is the Renown chevron, an aluminum triangular teardrop painted white with raised beveled chrome edges and embossed chrome Gretsch logo. Matching Gibraltar throne is included FREE for a limited time. Renown ‘57 has standard Renown Maple specifications that produce punchy, full tones and rock solid performance.

Features Include:
• Innovative drum set design
• Proportionately-sized 3-D chevrons
• Gretsch ball-socket tom holder with 12.7 mm tom arms
• Maple shells with 30-degree edges and Silver Sealer interiors
• Heavy duty 12.7 mm FT legs
• Chambered FT rubber tips for enhanced sustain
• Evans EMAD BD batter head
• Evans G1 coated batter heads on toms/snare
• Matching Gibraltar throne (FREE)

Check out the Motor City Blue Renown ‘57 in action here!

New Clear Packs Unveiled at NAMM

January 30th, 2011

B70 Clear Pack

Products sell best when they’re clearly visible to customers looking for them. With this simple but important principle in mind, Bigsby has designed totally new packaging for two of its most popular Vibrato models. Lightning Series I B50 and B70 Vibratos are now available in an innovative Clear Pack designed specifically for mass merchandising.

B50 Clear Pack

In addition to displaying the Vibrato it contains, the new Clear Pack also features a dramatic “flame” graphic to make it stand out. A strategically placed slot hole facilitates slat-wall mounting to maximize high-volume display capability.

Combining a clear view of the product they contain with an attention-grabbing look of their own, Bigsby’s new Clear Packs embrace the best of contemporary packaging designs.

About Lightning Series Vibratos

Bigsby Lightning Series Vibratos were created for players who want the Bigsby sound and “vibe,” but for use on less expensive instruments. Named in tribute to “lightning fast” guitarist Merle Travis who inspired Paul Bigsby to build his first vibrato, the Lightning Series offers a high quality priced Bigsby at an affordable price. They’re made from aluminum like their original Kalamazoo™ Series brothers, but they’re created using less-expensive die-cast methods. The Lightning Series I offers classic designs for a traditional vintage Bigsby look, feel, and function.

The Bigsby B50 Vibrato is based on the original B5 model designed for flat top solid body electric guitars such as the Gibson SG and Fender Telecaster. The B70 is based on the original B7 model designed for arch top solid body and semi-solid body electric guitars such as the Gibson Les Paul Standard/Custom and Gibson ES-335.

Bigsby’s new Clear Packs feature all parts required for installation, including screws, a tension spring, a plastic washer, and alignment string. The back of the packs feature links to multi-language installation instructions at www.bigsby.com/installation. Detailed installation videos are also available at www.bigsby.com.

For more information please contact sales@bigsby.com.

Bigsby is a Division of The Gretsch Company.

Gretsch NAMM Show Highlights

January 30th, 2011

Anaheim Convention Center

The 2011 NAMM musical-instrument show was held this past January 13 through 16 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 and Gretsch Guitars were both major participants in this year’s show, with plenty of new products to display. In addition, Fred and Dinah Gretsch were on hand—along with other members of the Gretsch family—to lend their special personal touch to all of the Gretsch-related activities.

Here are a few of the many highlights from this year’s show:

Fred and Kanda Shokai

Fred Speaks with Kanda Staff

The NAMM show always involves lots of terrific new product introductions, thrilling artist performances and generally a great deal of excitement all around.  But ultimately all the companies are there to do business and as pictured here, Fred briefs representatives from Kanda Shokai, Gretsch’s Japanese distributor, on all the new products being introduced at the show.  Kanda Shokai is one of Gretsch’s longest-serving international distributors and the Gretsch family have enjoyed a close relationship with the company for many, many years.

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:

JUST-FOR-FUN MONSTER SETUP SHOWCASES A GRETSCH NEW CLASSIC KIT WITH BLACK SPARKLE LACQUER FINISH MOUNTED ON AN ULTRA-CUSTOM GIBRALTAR RACK.

GRETSCH RENOWN MAPLE DRUMSET—CALLED THE RENOWN 57—WAS INSPIRED BY THE GREAT AMERICAN CAR MAKERS OF THE 50s. ITS MOTOR CITY BLUE FINISH FEATURES WHITE PANELS SET APART BY CHROME CHEVRONS AND EMBOSSED CHROME GRETSCH BADGES.

USA CUSTOM KIT FEATURING GOLD HARDWARE AND FITTINGS, FINISHED IN A BEAUTIFUL SAVANNAH SUNSET DUCO LACQUER, ONE OF SEVERAL SUPERB NEW USA CUSTOM LACQUER FINISHES INTRODUCED AT THE SHOW.

AFICIONADOS OF JAZZ WILL RECOGNIZE THIS CLASSIC CONFIGURATION--A USA CUSTOM KIT IN SMALL “BOP” SIZES FITTED WITH VINTAGE-STYLE “RAIL CONSOLETTE” TOM HOLDER AND FEATURING ANOTHER STUNNING NEW USA CUSTOM LACQUER FINISH: CHESTNUT DUCO.

THE NAME OF THIS KIT’S FINISH IS AS BIG A MOUTHFUL AS ITS STRIKING LOOKS ARE AN EYEFUL. IT’S A CATALINA BIRCH KIT FINISHED IN EBONY DIAMOND HALOGEN BURST.

GRETSCH DISPLAYED NO FEWER THAN TWELVE UNIQUE SNARE DRUMS AT THE SHOW . . . DESIGNATED AS “THE DANGEROUS DOZEN.”

AMONG THE “DANGEROUS DOZEN”, MARK SCHULMAN'S SIGNATURE MODEL FEATURING A MAPLE SHELL WITH BUBINGA INLAY, DIE-CAST HOOPS, AND 42-STRAND SNARE WIRES. IT’S AVAILABLE IN SIX-LUG 6X12 AND EIGHT-LUG 6X13 SIZES.

THIS NEW SNARE DRUM HAS METAL HOOPS SURROUNDED BY CONTOURED WOOD HOOPS. THE COMBINATION PROVIDES UNUSUAL SONIC POSSIBILITIES AS WELL AS ADDITIONAL HOOP RIGIDITY.

A WELCOME VISITOR TO THE BOOTH--GREAT GRETSCH DRUMMER STANTON MOORE.

Fred Gretsch Meets CoverBand 2011 Drum Winner

Fred and Tohbias (Photo by Tom Schwarz, Courtesy of KMC Music).

Fred Gretsch enjoyed a special treat at the NAMM show this year: the opportunity to congratulate Tohbias Juniel of Denver, Colorado, who was the winning drummer in the CoverBand 2011 contest. Gretsch Drums was one of several major musical instrument manufacturers who combined to sponsor the online competition.

The contest invited individual musicians and vocalists to upload a two-minute video to the CoverBand 2011 website between July and December 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 winning CoverBand members. For thirty-one-year-old Tohbias, that was just part of the thrill. He also received a brand-new Gretsch Renown four-piece kit in a classy Satin Black finish, along with a Full Range Hammered Steel Shell snare drum. The kit was complemented with a terrific cymbal package from Sabian and road-tested hardware from Gibraltar.

Fred and Tohbias met at the Gretsch Drums booth on Saturday morning, January 15. They had the opportunity to chat a bit before Tohbias left to rehearse for the CoverBand 2011 concert later that evening. During their meeting, Fred was particularly pleased to learn that Tohbias is already a dedicated Gretsch player. As Tohbias explained, “I’ve been playing Gretsch drums for most of my career. I bought a Renown Maple kit about ten years ago, and it’s all I’ve been playing. So I’m thrilled to be getting a new Gretsch kit to work with.”

When Fred asked Tohbias how he came to be a drummer, Tohbias replied, “My father, Chester Juniel, was a director of a drum & bugle corps in the Denver area. So from the time I was about two years old I was always around drumming. I learned how to read music and how to read books at the same time.”

But drum & bugle corps wasn’t the only style of drumming that Tohbias was exposed to at home. “My father also played drumset,” said Tohbias, “and so did my older brother Steven. So I was playing on a set by the time I was in elementary school. Later I went to high school at the Denver School of the Arts. Orlando Otis, the instrumental music director there, pushed me to pursue drumset seriously, since I was already heavily into marching and concert percussion.”

Tohbias did, indeed, pursue drumset seriously. In fact, he took every possible opportunity to expand his musical skills. “When I was fourteen I was playing with cats in their forties and fifties,” he related. “My dad would take me to shows and then stay in the parking lot and read a paper until the gig was finished, since I had to have a parent around. I was sitting in on blues and rock gigs, but the jazz cats wouldn’t let me sit in because there was so much more to jazz music than just pocket. Fortunately for me, a local drummer named Rudy Roysten—who’s played with everybody—took me under his wing and showed me how to do some things. Still, it took me a while to get to where I could do the things I wanted to—the way I heard guys like Brian Blade and Jeff Watts do them.”

Tohbias in Action with CoverBand 2011 Performing at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel (Photo by Tom Schwarz, Courtesy of KMC Music).

Tohbias’s entry for the CoverBand 2011 contest displayed the influence of his musical education, along with a substantial amount of his own talent and originality. His two-minute video was a mix of funk, pop, and fusion-esque styles that burned and grooved at the same time. When Fred Gretsch asked Tohbias about his favorite musical style to play, he replied, “I really love everything. Right now I’m playing a lot with a singer-songwriter from Nashville named Calvin Locklear. And I’m playing in a funk/alternative band called Bop Skizzum here in Denver. I play pop, R&B, Latin . . . I love it all. I feel that as a drummer it’s important to be diverse. Basically I’m on call for whatever anybody wants. I try to study, do my homework, and keep up with all the different genres. If I sit down on a gig and the song is a polka, I want people to think I specialize in polka music.”

Finally, Fred asked Tohbias about his aspirations and goals. The talented drummer responded, “Right now I’m looking to move up in my career . . . to play on the big stages. I’d really like to get some tours and some recording sessions with top artists around the world. I also want to do some writing and see where that goes. So I’m looking to relocate to the L.A. area. I was out there in the summer of 2008, doing some sessions and playing with a hip-hop group. I want to be where things are happening in the music scene. I’ve been fortunate to meet some pretty talented people with kind hearts who are willing to share information. I definitely want to pursue those possibilities.”

Gretsch Guitars Launches George Harrison Tribute Model

Harrison Tribute Guitar

There was lots of excitement at the Gretsch Guitars booth, where a large display of George Harrison and Beatle memorabilia was highlighted by a case containing a new Gretsch guitar created as a tribute to the great George Harrison.

The tribute guitar is a faithful reproduction of a guitar that George played and favored in the 1960s, in the early days of his career. That instrument, well worn and road-traveled, was loaned by the George Harrison estate to the skilled guitar customizers at Gretsch to use as the basis of a modern replica. At the same time, Fred and Dinah Gretsch communicated with George Harrison’s family to obtain their blessing for a tribute instrument bearing of the late former Beatle’s name.

Harrison Tribute Display

Time and loving care were invested in both efforts, and the result is the Gretsch Custom Shop G6128T-GH George Harrison Tribute Duo Jet guitar. This exceptionally special instrument will be available in a very limited edition.

And Then There’s Kim . . .

Fans of Gretsch guitars also tend to be fans of the Great Gretsch Girl . . . Kim Falcon. The lovely pin-up girl has appeared for Gretsch on posters, in ads, and at live events all across the country. Now she’s on her very own guitar. It features a gloss white finish as a background for an artistically created rendering of Kim herself, with her autograph shown below. It turned a lot of heads while in a glass case at a trade show. Imagine the effect it will have on stage!

Kim Falcon on a Gretsch Guitar!

A Family Gathering

Rane, Fred Gretsch, and Fred Jr.

Three generations of Gretsches were on hand at this year’s NAMM show. Fred and Dinah were joined by son, Fred Gretsch Jr., who is actively involved with the Gretsch Foundation and is becoming a regular attendee at NAMM shows. In addition, one of their 16 grandchildren, grandson Calvin Rane Gretsch, was in attendance and saw duty behind the counter of the Bigsby Vibrato booth.

This year’s NAMM show was a great success with many new products on display and excitement to spare. Gretsch is now busy preparing for other events in 2011 including the Summer NAMM show which will feature a “Wanna Play” public day on July 23.

Check back often for all the latest news and updates.

Joe Robinson’s Houdini Tour Going Strong into the New Year

January 17th, 2011

Since kicking off his “Houdini Tour” in early November 2010, Joe Robinson, “Australia’s Got Talent” and “World Championships of Performing Arts” winner, has been busy astounding sell-out crowds with his jaw-dropping instrumental stylings. Dates were originally planned throughout Europe and Australia but as more shows were added including some in Japan, it quickly became a bone fide world tour for the young guitar virtuoso.

Gretsch 6122 Guitar on Display at Shibuya Show

Attendees at the show in Shibuya, Japan on December 7 were amazed by Robinson’s technique, commenting on their surprise at how much talent a musician could possess at such a young age.  Show-goers in Shibuya also received an extra treat as a Gretsch 6122 guitar was on display at the venue and Robinson performed with his Gretsch guitar on several songs.  Robinson also graciously stopped for photographs with some special show attendees that evening.

Robinson and Friends

Robinson has been earning rave reviews not only for his extraordinary ability and music but also for his superb new band.  The nineteen-year-old prodigy was voted “Best New Talent” in Guitar Player Magazine’s annual Reader’s Poll last year and is widely known for his solo acoustic tour de force instrumental prowess.  Robinson, however, has spread his wings musically by adding vocal selections and touring for the first time with a band–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,” said 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.”

Based in Nashville, TN Robinson is working a new project to be completed this year. His critically-acclaimed release “Time Jumpin’/Midnight In Nashville” is available on iTunes.

Remaining Houdini Tour dates include:

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.

USA Today Features the Gretsch Custom Shop G6128T-GH George Harrison “Tribute” Duo Jet

January 11th, 2011

From the Gretsch Guitars Website:

Take a look at today’s USA Today (1/10/11) for an article on the Gretsch Custom Shop G6128T-GH George Harrison “Tribute” Duo Jet, a limited-run tribute model of the instrument Harrison described as his “first really decent guitar.”

“I’ve never seen a more precise and detailed replica of any guitar in my life,” says Harrison’s son, Dhani in the USA Today piece.

Read the entire article for more details here.

Christmas Poem 2010

December 24th, 2010

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through music land,
The Gretsches were stirring to strike up the Christmas band.
The guitars were all strung by the chimney with care,
Along with the drums you’d also find there.
And Dinah in her ‘kerchief and Fred in his cap,
Had just settled down for a short winter’s nap,
When out on I-95 there arose such a clatter,
They sprung from the office to see what was the matter.
When, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But a group of guitar pickers with holiday cheer.
They played with their instruments as Fred gave a whistle,
And I heard Fred and Dinah exclaim all full of delight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night”.

As first recited by it’s author, Father John Lyons,
at The Gretsch Family Christmas Dinner
December 17, 2010, Pooler, Georgia USA.