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. Read the rest of this entry »
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. Read the rest of this entry »
December 12th, 2007
In the spirit of entrepreneurial cooperation, the Gretsch Company has registered the URL www.est1883.com and is developing a website that can help promote all organizations that have “Established 1883″ in common. Designed as an Internet portal for American companies founded in 1883, the website will serve as a single online location for providing information and upcoming events in celebration of the 125th Anniversary and beyond.
Since 1883, the Gretsch Company has designed and manufactured the world’s best drums, guitars, and musical instrument accessories. The year 2008 will mark the company’s 125th anniversary. To commemorate the legacy as well as celebrate the “first year of our next 100 years”, Gretsch has planned a worldwide celebration, including publicity campaigns, limited edition instruments and identity items, and special events. In the course of planning for 2008, the Gretsch Company discovered that many other leading American companies and institutions were also established in 1883.
- Wente Vineyards
- Lucchese Boots
- Kroger Stores
- University of Texas
- The Brooklyn Bridge
- Life Magazine
- The First Rodeo
The Gretsch Company invites any and all organizations that were established in 1883 to join us in commemorating our past, present, and future through est1883.com!
For more information visit: www.est1883.com
December 6th, 2007
The Gretsch Company, one of the world’s most well-known drum and guitar manufacturers, received the Cox Family Enterprise Center’s 2007 Georgia Family Business of the Year Award at a reception at the Cobb Galleria Center in Atlanta on May 23. Based in Savannah, GA, the company was recognized for its enduring commitment to manufacturing professional quality, hand-crafted instruments for nearly 125 years.
The Gretsch Company was the recipient of the 2007 Century Award, designated for family businesses at least 100 years old. President Fred W. Gretsch attended the awards ceremony along with his wife and company CFO, Dinah Gretsch. Upon receiving the Century Award, Fred shared insights into the company’s remarkable history as well as his thoughts on family and business. Read the rest of this entry »
November 24th, 2007
Gretsch’s “First” First Lady to founder, Friedrich Gretsch
Next to her husband, Friedrich, Rosa Gretsch is the second most important person responsible for today’s Gretsch legacy and continued family dynasty.
Born Rosa Behman on June 18, 1856 in Brooklyn, New York to German-born parents, Rosa’s parents died in a Cholera epidemic when she was a baby. Fortunately, she was adopted by friends of her parents who had no children.
In February 1879, 22-year-old Rosa married Friedrich Gretsch who had immigrated to Brooklyn from Germany six years earlier and was working at Albert Houdlett & Son, a drum and banjo manufacturing business. Read the rest of this entry »
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. Read the rest of this entry »
November 16th, 2007
The University of West Georgia announced today a gift of $120,000 by Fred and Dinah Gretsch and The Georgia Music Hall of Fame Foundation to create the Joseph Johnson Scholarship in commemoration of the Hall of Fame’s tenth anniversary. The scholarship, established in perpetuity and named for the museum’s longest-serving employee, will benefit a deserving University of West Georgia graduate student in the Public History or Museum Studies program. The recipient of the scholarship, which begins in Fall 2007, will work 15 hours per week during each semester on a project that documents the musical heritage of Georgia, working collaboratively with the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and the Center for Public History’s Regional Music Project at the University of West Georgia.
“The Joseph R. Johnson Scholarship will provide opportunities for West Georgia graduate students to research and document the musical heritage of the state,” said Dr. Thomas Hynes, Acting President of University of West Georgia. “We are deeply grateful to Fred and Dinah Gretsch for their support, and we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship with them, with the Gretsch Company, and with the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.” Read the rest of this entry »
November 4th, 2007
An endowment in the memory Charles “Duke” Kramer has been set up at Georgia Southern University by The Gretsch Foundation.
Kramer started selling musical instruments for the Gretsch Co. in 1935 at age 19. By the time he passed away in August 2005, he was a 70-year employee affectionately known as “Mr. Guitar Man.”
The endowment creating the “Duke Kramer MBA Graduate Assistantship” will be held in perpetuity by the Georgia Southern University Foundation, with annual interest being used to award a scholarship each year to one or more deserving MBA applicants who meet the award criteria. The scholarship committee will select recipients based on academic qualifications, and the scholarship will be renewable for no more than two years.
Those interested in adding gifts to the “Duke Kramer MBA Graduate Assistantship” may contact the Georgia Southern University Foundation at (912) 681-5253. Those interested in learning how to qualify for the “Duke Kramer MBA Graduate Assistantship” and other Georgia Southern scholarships may contact the University’s Financial Aid Office at (912) 681-5413 or go to the Web site at students.georgiasouthern.edu/finaid/.