Christmas Cheer at Gretsch

December 21st, 2009

The holiday season is a great time to reach out to the community.  This year we were happy to have been involved in a couple very worthy events.
 
Christmas 4 Kids:

Christmas 4 Kids is an organization with a goal of making Christmas a happy and joyful time for some special children in the Nashville community.  Throughout the year they raise funds for a very special two-day event held each December.  The Gretsch

Winning bidder of Gretsch 6120

Winning bidder of Gretsch 6120

Foundation was very pleased to have contributed a Gretsch 6120 guitar for their annual autographed guitar auction this year.  At a benefit concert held the Monday before Thanksgiving, the guitar was auctioned off to the highest bidder and became a major part of that night’s earnings

Tour Bus Show

Tour Bus Show

Day one, The Tour Bus Show, was held on December 14. On this day the public has the opportunity to tour buses of some of their favorite country music stars.  The bus companies and artists generously lend their buses for the event.  This year the Tour Bus Show had 60+ buses on site, and several artists from Gretchen Wilson to Darryl Worley available to sign autographs.  The weather was perfect and the crowd had a ball.

Shopping Day

Shopping Day

Day two, the kids shopping day, was held on December 15. On this day all the buses are sent to area schools to pick up participating children. The children are taken to enjoy a meal at a local church as well as a photo session with Santa.  They are then taken for a fun-filled day of shopping.  This year Christmas 4 Kids had over 400 children included.  Because of generous donations from special contributors, they were able to increase the children’s spending money from $150 per child to $175.  Each child also received a goody bag filled with donations from soccer balls to stuffed animals, in addition to a free Titans coat they get every year.
 
To learn more about Christmas 4 Kids, visit www.christmas4kids.org.
 
The Salvation Army:

Area Students Help With Bell Ringing

Area Students Help With Bell Ringing

The Salvation Army endeavors to keep the real meaning of the season from being forgotten at Christmas.  Their red kettle bell ringing collects million of dollars in generous donations each year. These donations provide Christmas meals and other items such as clothing and gifts to families in need.

Gretsch employees and friends annually participate in The Salvation Army’s bell ringing in the Savannah area.  This year staff took shifts on Saturday, December 19 at the Sam’s Club in Pooler.  A group of enthusiastic honor students from Richmond Hill High School also participated earlier in the month. They helped spread some extra Christmas cheer by playing Christmas music and caroling while collecting donations.
 

Donations Make a Difference

Donations Make a Difference

To learn more about the Salvation Army, visit www.salvationarmyusa.org.

Gretsches to Grace Cover of Smart Living

December 14th, 2009

Fred and Dinah Gretsch, owners of the Savannah-based Gretsch Company and residents of nearby Pooler, Georgia, will grace the cover of Smart Living magazine’s first edition of 2010.

Smart Living is a publication of the St. Joseph’s/Candler Healthcare System, which is highly regarded as the premier health provider in the Savannah region. The magazine brings together knowledge and insight from physicians and medical experts, and also features entertaining and informative stories about compelling personalities in and from the area. Past interview subjects have included actress Olympia Dukakis, Arizona Cardinals receiver Ben Patrick, and sailing guru/TV commentator Gary Jobson.

Gretsch Smart Living CoverFred and Dinah Gretsch were chosen for Smart Living’s cover in recognition of their accomplishments within the musical instrument manufacturing industry. The story—titled “Married To The Music: Fred and Dinah Gretsch Keep Their Signature Sound in the Family”—also details their ongoing focus on the family nature of the almost 127-year-old Gretsch Company, as well as their contributions to the arts through the Gretsch Foundation.

Online and print versions of Smart Living are scheduled for release on January 2. For more information on Smart Living magazine, visit www.sjchs.org. For more information on the Gretsch Company, visit www.gretsch.com.

Gretsch Celebrates Bigsby Birthdays

December 7th, 2009

December 12th 2009 marks the 110th birthday of Paul Adelbert Bigsby. When it comes to guitar history, names like Leo Fender, Adolph Rickenbacker, and Les Paul may be more widely known. But their work would not have been possible without the man who designed and built the first solidbody electric guitar.

Paul Bigsby

Paul Bigsby

A skilled motorcycle machinist—and also a music fan—Paul Bigsby got into the world of guitars in the mid-1940s when he designed a replacement vibrato mechanism for C&W artist Merle Travis’s Gibson L-10. Paul’s device set a new standard, and it rapidly became the vibrato of choice for most guitar manufacturers the world over—a reputation it still enjoys today.

In late 1946, Travis approached Bigsby with a concept for a new guitar. Travis’s rough sketch depicted a solidbody electric with all six tuning pegs on one side of the headstock. Bigsby, whose personal philosophy was “I can build anything”, immediately went to work to make the concept a reality. When the guitar was completed, Merle Travis played it on recordings, on radio, and on public performances. The revolutionary design caught the eyes and ears of guitar players and builders alike—and it changed the sound and look of guitars forever.

Paul Bigsby continued to hand-craft custom guitars and vibrato units for the next twenty years. But by 1965 health issues prompted him to sell the Bigsby name and inventory to his friend Ted MCarty. That sale that was effective on January 1, 1966. Paul Bigsby died on June 7, 1968, leaving a legacy of innovation and craftsmanship for which every guitarist today should be grateful.

Speaking of Ted McCarty, his is the other Bigsby birthday to be celebrated (his 100th, as of October 10th of this year). Ted was no stranger to the guitar business when he purchased the Bigsby Company. In fact, he’d been president of Gibson Guitars since 1948, having led that company through its one of its most successful periods.

Ted McCarty with Fred Gretsch

Ted McCarty with Fred Gretsch

When Ted McCarty took over Bigsby, he retired from Gibson. He focused on filling the demand for Bigsby’s True Vibrato, which was being ordered by virtually all major US guitar manufacturers. Of all Bigsby customers, Gretsch Guitars was the single largest, establishing a strong relationship between the two companies.  That relationship led to Bigsby’s purchase by Gretsch in 1999 when Ted McCarty retired after sixty successful years in the music business. Ted died on April 1, 2001.

Fred Gretsch describes the care that has been taken to preserve the Bigsby heritage, saying, “Gretsch guitars have featured Bigsby vibrato tailpieces for fifty-five years. Gretsch and Bigsby are often thought of together, and now we’re one company. We’re continuing to manufacture vintage-style Bigsby vibratos and bridges using the same hand-made methods prescribed by Paul Bigsby more than half a century ago.”

U2 Takes Billboard’s Top Boxscore Honors

December 1st, 2009

Held November 4 and 5 in New York City, the 2009 Billboard Touring Awards honored the concert industry’s top artists and industry professionals for 2009. Billboard’s Boxscores chart, actual box office performance figures reported between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009, were used to determine finalists and award winners.
 
Our friends, U2, were finalists in three major catagories:  Top Tour, Top Draw, and Top Boxscore.  With multiple July dates in Croke Park in Dublin, U2 took the honors as Top Boxscore for 2009.  U2’s dates at Croke Park also won the group this award in 2005.  Top Boxscore recognizes the top-grossing single engagement.
 
Gretsch sends its congratulations to Bono, The Edge, Adam, and Larry.  They are true international superstars and undoubtedly among the hardest working musicians and road warriors in the business.

Sticks ‘n’ Skins Features Fifteen Gretsch Artists

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

Gretsch Shines at Yokohama Music Fair

November 16th, 2009

The biennial Musical Instruments Fair Japan was held November 5 through 8 at Pacifico Yokohama. Regarded as the world’s largest consumer show for music products with attendees at the last three shows averaging 90,000 strong, this year’s fair was another great success.  The Gretsch booth was rated among the top at the fair with a steady stream of enthusiasts stopping in to admire the many eye-catching Gretsch guitars and drums on display.

Joe Carducci Demonstrates That Great Gretsch Sound

Joe Carducci Demonstrates That Great Gretsch Sound

Joe Carducci, Gretsch guitar marketing manager, was on hand to help bolster the fervor of Gretsch fans by demonstrating the great sound of Gretsch guitars with his masterful playing skills and with his seemingly endless knowledge of the Gretsch brand and history.

On the drum side, Aki, our friend and Gretsch drum specialist in Japan, discussed the many desirable and unique features of Gretsch drums with countless Gretsch devotees who came by to get a glimpse of their favorite drum brand.

Gretsch Drum Specialist Aki

Gretsch Drum Specialist Aki

All around it was a tremendous show and we’re looking forward to participating in the Musical Instruments Fair again in 2011.  Hope to see you there!

Gretsch Guitars on Display

Gretsch Guitars on Display

Great Gretsch Roundup In Nashville

November 10th, 2009

Any time you get a bunch of Gretsch fans together, it’s going to be a rockin’ event.  But get them together for a whole weekend, playing in a 100-year-old tobacco barn on the outskirts of Music City USA, and you have the ingredients for a genuinely historic occasion.

Such was the case this past October 16-18, when Gretsch players from across the country gathered at Hachland Hills Vineyard in Joelton, Tennessee (just outside of Nashville) for the second annual Gretsch Nashville Roundup.  The event was a live-in weekend of jammin’, jawin’, and jivein’ in a camp-like setting.  And, of course, the musical focus was on the great sound of Gretsch instruments.

Gretsch drummer Jason Woodring with Steve Harms on Bass and Dylan Taylor on guitar

Gretsch drummer Jason Woodring with Steve Harms on bass and Dylan Taylor on guitar

As is always the case in any band setting, drummers at the Roundup were outnumbered by guitarists and bassists.  But what they lacked in number they made up for in talent and enthusiasm, providing great rhythmic support for the music that echoed throughout the surrounding woods.

Gretsch drummer John DeVaul of Knoxville provided the kit for the Roundup

Gretsch drummer John DeVaul of Knoxville provided the kit for the Roundup

The drumming trio at the Nashville Roundup consisted of Jon DeVaul (who provided his own beautiful Gretsch kit for use at the event), Dylan Taylor, and Jason Woodring.  And the attraction of the drumset was so strong that it prompted bassist Steve Harms to put down his axe and pick up some sticks for a few tunes.

A special treat for the participants was the presence of Fred Gretsch himself, representing the fourth generation of the Gretsch family.  Fred shared historic anecdotes and stories about the family, the company, and the many great artists who helped to create the Gretsch legacy—all to the delight of the Gretsch enthusiasts in attendance.

Fred Gretsch (left) with Gretsch Guitars master builder Stephen Stern

Fred Gretsch (left) with Gretsch Guitars master builder Stephen Stern

Additional coverage of the event can be seen on the Gretsch Pages discussion forum at http://gretschpages.com/forum/gretsch-events/moments-memories-magic-nashville-roundup-09/25481/page1/.

All photos by Tim Harman.

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

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"