Phil Grant: A Great Gretsch Ambassador

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 »

New Scholarship at the University of West Georgia Commemorates Georgia Music Hall of Fame’s Tenth Anniversary

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 »

Gretsch Foundation Announces Duke Kramer MBA Graduate Assistantship

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

Gretsch Foundation Announces Ernie Gadzos Music Scholarship

October 27th, 2007

Drummer’s Memory Lives on Through Georgia Southern Scholarship

Georgia Southern’s percussion faculty member, Dr. Matt Fallin (seated), Dinah and Fred Gretsch and a Georgia Southern percussion student (standing).

Savannah, GA – When Savannah’s legendary drummer, Ernie Gadzos, passed away in June 2005, Fred Gretsch sought a way to honor his dear friend and longtime Gretsch Music Company employee. At Georgia Southern University he found an inspiring method of keeping Ernie’s memory alive. He created the Ernie Gadzos Scholarship in Music with funding from the Gretsch Foundation. Read the rest of this entry »

Gretsch Bo Diddley Guitar Auction

September 15th, 2006

Gretsch Bo Diddley Signature Model Guitar Autographed by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers!

Calling all Collectors!!

Gretsch Bo Diddley and Grestch designed this guitar in 1958. The signature model bears Bo Diddley’s ‘John Hancock’ on the head stock of the instrument. On the neck of the guitar, the Grestch nameplate is proudly displayed.

This GRETSCH BO DIDDLEY signature model guitar has been signed by Tom Petty and all of the band members of the Heartbreakers. It was signed in 2006, marking their 30th anniversary. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are now on tour celebrating this monumental anniversary, making the guitar even more collectible. Read the rest of this entry »

Gretsch Guitars – The Artful Icon

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Gretsch at Winter Namm 2005

January 26th, 2005

Anaheim, CA January ‘05

With approximately 80,000 registrants, this year’s NAMM Show broke attendance records for the second straight year. 1,428 exhibiting companies gathered from over 90 countries. Musical products from around the globe were showcased for all to see, play, and buy.

The Gretsch Company enjoyed its annual visit to sunny southern California as one of the more historic registrants at this year’s 103rd NAMM. With 3 booth locales, Gretsch exhibited their much sought after guitars, drums, and trademark merchandise in celebration of “That Great Gretsch Sound.” Read the rest of this entry »