Posts Tagged ‘Bigsby’

Gretsch: 130 Years and Four Generations . . .

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

An Excerpt From The Savannah Morning News:

Gretsch: 130 years and four generations of strummin’ and drummin’

The small forest of guitars is tucked into what Fred W. Gretsch calls his “studio.”

To anybody who can play even a few chords, it’s more a Shangri-la.

Colorfully decorated Gretsch Super Axes flank richly wooded acoustic guitars and stylish Thunderbirds. Renowned Chet Atkins models dot the rows.

One instrument in particular garners Gretsch’s attention. The banjo is perhaps the most unassuming of the lot. The strings and head reflect its great age — it is a 1920s model — and the aluminum rim doesn’t shine like the metal parts of its peers in the collection.

But to Gretsch, the instrument signifies what has sustained his family’s business for 130 years.

Innovation and dedication.

“We started using aluminum for banjo rims in the 1920s, and the advances we made from there we drew on in building drums in the 1930s and 1940s,” Gretsch said. “What we learned from drums we put into practice at the dawn of the rock and roll era in the 1950s and on and on. We are a company that’s consistently built on its past.”

The company is celebrating that history this year. Gretsch is the fourth generation of his family to head the Pooler-based business since his great-grandfather, German immigrant Friedrich Gretsch, opened a small music shop in Brooklyn in 1883.

The original shop specialized in banjos, drums and tambourines. The company grew as the accordion and other band instruments gained popularity in the first half of the 1900s. Rock and roll guitars and drums made Gretsch a household name starting in the 1950s.

Fred Gretsch expects the company to thrive for several more generations and continue to be renowned for the “great Gretsch sound” made famous by music legends such as Chet Atkins, George Harrison, Charlie Watts, Davy Jones, Bono, Bo Diddley and Brian Setzer.

“Antonio Stradivarius also made amazing stringed instruments and led a prosperous life,” Gretsch said of the famed violin maker. “But his family did not benefit from his name and his designs. I want to ensure that the Gretsch family remains a key part of this company for the next 100 years of business.”

See Photos and Read the Entire Article at SavannahNow.com.


TIMELINE – 130 YEARS OF THAT GREAT GRETSCH SOUND!

1883 Friedrich Gretsch, 27, who emigrated from Germany at 16, opens a small music shop in Brooklyn, N.Y., making banjos, drums, and tambourines.

1883 - Friedrich Gretsch Opens Small Music Shop in Brooklyn.

1895 Friedrich Gretsch becomes ill while traveling in Germany and dies at age 39. Fifteen-year-old son, Fred Gretsch, Sr., takes over family business.

1916 Company moves to 10-story building at 60 Broadway in Brooklyn, N.Y.

1916 - Gretsch Opens Ten-Story Building at 60 Broadway, Brooklyn (sketch).

1918 Fred Gretsch, Sr. develops revolutionary multi-ply drum lamination process resulting in the world’s first “warp free” drum hoop.

1920 Gretsch’s manufacturing facility expands to become the world’s largest music instrument manufacturing factory.

1927 Company introduces historic Gretsch-American drum series, featuring the industry’s first multi ply drum shell. Gretsch uses its own name on guitars for the first time, rather than just selling to wholesalers.

1935 Broadkaster drum line introduced. Duke Kramer begins his 70-year career at Gretsch. Known as “Mr. Guitar Man,” Kramer would become pivotal in making Gretsch® electric guitars what they are today.

"Mr. Guitar Man" Duke Kramer

1937 Historic partnership with master drummer and inventor Billy Gladstone begins. The Gretsch-Gladstone drum line is introduced.

1939 Gretsch introduces its first electric guitar – the Electromatic – and the Synchromatic archtop guitar series. Jimmie Webster, guitar innovator and player, joins Gretsch. Distinctive triangle sound hole appears on Gretsch acoustic guitars.

1942 Fred Gretsch, Sr. retires from the company, leaving the day-to-day operations to his sons, Fred Gretsch, Jr. and William “Bill” Gretsch, both of whom had been active in the business since 1927. Gretsch stops instrument production to assist in war efforts. After a brief term at the company’s helm, Fred Gretsch, Jr. leaves the company to serve as a commander in the U.S. Navy. Bill Gretsch becomes president.

William "Bill" Gretsch and Fred Gretsch, Jr. pictured with Brother Richard Gretsch.

1946 Gretsch resumes instrument production. Phil Grant, master percussionist and innovator, joins Gretsch. Gretsch and Louis Bellson team up to introduce first production double bass drum kit.

Louie Bellson with his 1946 double bass kit.

1947 Gretsch forges relationship with legendary Birdland Jazz Club in New York, N.Y.

1948 Bill Gretsch dies from illness. Fred Gretsch, Jr. assumes control of the business, kicking off a new age of prosperity for the company–the age of rock ‘n’ roll.

1951 First cutaway bodies appear on Electromatic and new Electro II guitar models.

1953 Duo-Jet production starts, sparking the entire Jet line of Gretsch solid-body guitars.

1954 Jimmie Webster strikes a deal with guitarist Chet Atkins to develop a Chet Atkins-designed Gretsch guitar. Gretsch begins its eye-catching “color revolution” by introducing sparkling Silver Jet and famous Western Orange, Cadillac Green and Jaguar Tan finishes. First Bigsby® vibratos offered on Gretsch electrics.

1955 Gretsch introduces White Falcon and 6120 Chet Atkins models.

Gretsch White Falcon

1957 Gretsch begins production of Chet Atkins Country Gentleman guitar model. The model would soon rise to popularity with other legendary guitarists.  Twang is born: Duane Eddy purchases new 6120 at Ziggie’s Accordion & Guitar Studio in Phoenix, AZ.

The King of Twang Duane Eddy

1959 Project-O-Sonic stereo guitar system introduced. Gretsch builds Bo Diddley his futuristic Jupiter Thunderbird guitar. Gretsch drum endorsee Jimmy Cobb records “Kind of Blue” with Miles Davis.

1960 George Harrison buys a used ‘57 Gretsch Duo Jet, the guitar featured during The Beatles’ earliest recordings and tours. “Gretsch Drum Night at Birdland” is recorded by four legendary Gretsch drum endorsees: Art Blakey, Charlie Persip, Elvin Jones and “Philly” Joe Jones.

Harrison Tribute Duo Jet

1962 Double-cutaway Electrotone thinline series introduced.

1964 “Beatlemania” is born on The Ed Sullivan Show. George Harrison’s use of a Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentleman guitar ignites frenzy among aspiring guitarists.

1965 George Harrison adds a Gretsch Tennessean to his guitar collection.

1967 Fred Gretsch, Jr. retires and sells The Gretsch Company to Baldwin Music Company. His nephew, Fred W. Gretsch, vows to buy the company back.

1969 The Rolling Stones tour the U.S. with Charlie Watts playing Gretsch drums.

1970 Baldwin moves Gretsch drum & guitar production to Booneville, Ark.

1972 Baldwin moves Gretsch’s New York business offices to Chicago. Chet Atkins’ “Super Chet” guitar introduced.

1973 Baldwin signs over production duties to Bill Hagner and his newly formed Hagner Musical Instrument Corp. Two major fires damage Arkansas guitar & drum plant.

1977 Chet Atkins’ “Super Axe” guitars introduced.

1978 Gretsch drum & guitar production reverts from Bill Hagner back to Baldwin.

1979 Baldwin moves Gretsch sales and administration offices to Chanute, Kansas.

1980 An attempt by Baldwin to re-launch guitar production in Juarez, Mexico fails after only a handful of guitars are built. Baldwin shuts down Gretsch guitar production.

1982 Rockabilly returns with Gretsch guitar slinger Brian Setzer and The Stray Cats releasing their first U.S. single, “Rock This Town.” The group also features Slim Jim Phantom on Gretsch drums.

1985 Eighteen years after the company was sold to Baldwin, Fred W. Gretsch, great-grandson of the company founder, fulfills his promise to buy the company back and return it to the family fold. Gretsch establishes drum manufacturing center in Ridgeland, S.C.

1988 George Harrison collaborates with Gretsch to produce the unique Traveling Wilburys collector guitar.

1989 Modern Gretsch guitar production begins in earnest. Gretsch introduces professional line of Gretsch electric and acoustic guitars.

1993 Gretsch begins production of Brian Setzer signature guitar model.

Setzer Signature Guitars

1998 Gretsch announces budget-priced “Electromatic,” “Synchromatic,” and “Historic” guitar lines.

1999 Gretsch purchases Bigsby Accessories from owner and former Gibson CEO Ted McCarty. Bo Diddley signature rectangular guitar re-introduced.

1999 - Gretsch Acquires Bigsby

2000 Kaman Music (KMCMusicorp) becomes exclusive Gretsch Drums worldwide distributor.

2002 Gretsch grants Fender Musical Instruments Corporation exclusive rights to develop, produce, market, and distribute Gretsch Guitars worldwide.

2006 Gretsch teams up with legendary Bo Diddley and Billy F. Gibbons to design the “Billy-Bo” Jupiter Thunderbird guitar. Stephen Ferrone signature series drums introduced.

2007 Chet Atkins’ name once again adorns extensive line of Gretsch electric guitars.

2008 Gretsch celebrates 125th anniversary.  Endows scholarship at Berklee College of Music in honor of Jimmie Webster.

For Gretsch's 125th Anniversary in 2008, a Portrait of Four Past Presidents was Commissioned. Artist: Amy Hahn-Lind.

2011 Gretsch introduces George Harrison Duo Jet tribute guitar. Chet Atkins Exhibit opens at The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum.

Chet Atkins Exhibition

2012 New Brooklyn drum series, Rancher Acoustics, and Roots Collection introduced.

2013 Gretsch celebrates 130th Anniversary.  Iconic Round Badge returns to Gretsch Drums.

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Gretsch’s New Anniversary, Professional, and Center Block Guitars

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Gretsch Guitars Press Release:

In celebration of Gretsch’s 130th anniversary, the iconic guitar company is releasing two limited anniversary models, a new addition to the Professional Collection, as well as the new Center Block series.

Custom Shop Anniversary Models

Custom Shop 130th Anniversary Hollow Body

To commemorate Gretsch’s 130th anniversary, the Gretsch Custom Shop introduces the beautiful new U.S. Custom Shop 130th Anniversary Hollow Body guitar. Its 2 1/2″-deep single-cutaway three-ply maple body has a 15 1/2″ lower bout, arched top and back, and trestle bracing. The guitar is a striking beauty with its two-tone gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish in Metallic Gold on the top and Black on the back and sides, with multiple silver-sparkle bindings. The three-piece maple neck has a 12″-radius ebony fingerboard with 22 medium vintage frets, mother-of-pearl Neo-Classic™ “thumbnail” inlays and polished aluminum nut; and a mother-of-pearl Gretsch 130th Anniversary headstock logo. Other premium features include dual TV Jones® Filter’Tron™ Classic pickups, a black pickguard with 130th Anniversary logo, “G” Arrow control knobs and chrome hardware, an Adjusto-Matic™ bridge with pinned ebony base and Bigsby® B6C tailpiece, and Gotoh® open-back tuners. The guitar comes in a deluxe black faux-alligator skin TKL hard-shell case with a Gretsch 130th Anniversary leather strap, embroidered  utility bag and certificate of authenticity signed by Gretsch Custom Shop Senior Master Builder Stephen Stern.

G6118T-LTV 130th Anniversary Jr.

Gretsch is proud to introduce a beautiful new Professional Collection guitar—the G6118T-LTV 130th Anniversary Jr. model—as part of its anniversary celebration. Its 2 1/4″-deep single-cutaway three-ply maple body has a 14″ lower bout, arched top and back, and spruce “ML” bracing. Especially striking is the nitrocellulose lacquer finish, which is Black on the top and Metallic Gold on the back and sides, with single-ply binding. Other premium features include a three-piece maple neck; 12″-radius ebony fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets, pearloid Neo-Classic “thumbnail” inlays and bone nut; Anniversary model plaque and pearloid Gretsch logo on headstock; and dual TV Jones® Power’Tron™ pickups. The guitar also has a metallic gold pickguard, “G” Arrow” control knobs and chrome hardware, an Adjusto-Matic™ bridge with pinned ebony base and Bigsby® B3CB tailpiece, and Sperzel® locking tuners. Available in right- and left-handed models, and deluxe hard-shell case included.

Professional Collection

G6128T-DCM Duo Jet

The Gretsch Professional Collection now also includes the striking new G6128T-DCM Duo Jet™, which features a double-cutaway chambered mahogany body finished in black and a three-ply arched maple top finished in Dark Cherry Metallic with single-ply binding. The one-piece mahogany neck has a single-ply bound headstock with pearloid Gretsch logo, 12″-radius ebony fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets and pearloid Neo-Classic “thumbnail” inlays, a bone nut and a zero fret. Other features include dual High Sensitive Filter’Tron pickups, “G” Arrow control knobs and chrome hardware, Adjusto-Matic bridge with pinned ebony base and Bigsby B3C tailpiece, Grover® Sta-Tite™ tuners and Schaller® strap locks. Deluxe hard-shell case included.

Center Block Series

Gretsch is extremely proud to introduce the Center Block series, which feature a long spruce center block. The center block runs the entire length of the body and imparts several sonic advantages. First, it minimizes body-resonant feedback and creates a more “high gain-friendly” performance. Second, it’s made of spruce, which produces a spirited, lively tone. Third, the center block itself is chambered at the lower bout to minimize weight. Fourth, the pinned wood bridge base extends over the sides of the center block about 5/8″ on either side, transferring string-vibration energy to the two f-hole-vented body chambers to produce a full-bodied tone.

G6137TCB Panther Center-Block

The brand-new Professional Collection Center Block model, the G6137TCB Panther Center-Block, features a beautiful 1 3⁄4″-deep double-cutaway three-ply maple body with a 16″ lower bout, arched top and back and elegant f holes. Other premium features include a three-piece maple neck, 12″-radius bound rosewood fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets and pearloid Neo-Classic “thumbnail” inlays, single-ply bound headstock with pearloid Gretsch logo, and dual High Sensitive Filter’Tron pickups. The guitar also has a top- mounted output jack, “G” arrow control knobs and chrome hardware, an Adjusto-Matic bridge with pinned rosewood base and Bigsby B6C tailpiece, Grover Sta-Tite tuners and Schaller strap locks. Available in Black and White. Deluxe hard-shell case included.

G6139CB Falcon Center-Block Single Cutaway

The Gretsch Professional Collection introduces an innovative new version of the venerable Falcon design with the arrival of the G6139CB Falcon Center-Block Single Cutaway guitar. It features a beautiful 1 3⁄4″- deep single-cutaway three-ply maple body with a 16″- lower bout, arched top and back, multi-ply sparkle appointments and oversized f holes. Other premium features include a three-piece maple neck; 12″-radius ebony fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets, pearloid Neo-Classic “thumbnail” inlays and multi-ply sparkle appointments; Gretsch “winged/vertical” sparkle logo; and dual High Sensitive Filter’Tron pickups. The guitar also has jeweled-arrow knobs and gold hardware, an Adjusto-Matic bridge with pinned ebony base and Cadillac® “G” tailpiece, Grover Imperial™ tuners and Schaller strap locks. Available in White with Gold Sparkle appointments and Black with Silver Sparkle appointments. Deluxe hard-shell case included.

G6139T-CBDC Falcon Center-Block Double Cutaway

The Gretsch Professional Collection introduces another new Falcon, the G6139T-CBDC Falcon Center-Block Double Cutaway guitar. It features a beautiful 1 3⁄4″-deep double-cutaway three-ply maple body with a 16″ lower bout, arched top and back, multi-ply sparkle appointments and oversized f holes. Other premium features include a three-piece maple neck; 12″-radius ebony fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets, pearloid Neo-Classic “thumbnail” inlays and multi-ply sparkle appointments; Gretsch “winged/vertical” sparkle logo; and dual High Sensitive Filter’Tron pickups. The guitar also has jeweled-arrow knobs and gold hardware, an Adjusto- Matic bridge with pinned ebony base and Bigsby B6G tailpiece, Grover Imperial tuners and Schaller strap locks. Available in White with Gold Sparkle appointments and Black with Silver Sparkle appointments. Deluxe hard-shell case included.

For more information on these and other Gretsch guitars and accessories, visit the Gretsch Guitars website.

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Great Gretsch Weekend in Nashville

Monday, July 30th, 2012

The weekend of this past July 13 and 14 saw a once-in-a-lifetime confluence of events in Nashville, Tennessee, otherwise known as “Music City USA.” And Gretsch was an important participant in all of them.

NAMM In Nashville

To begin with, there was the summer NAMM show, an annual trade show conducted by The National Association of Music Merchants. That organization is a not-for-profit association created to strengthen the global musical instruments industry, while promoting the pleasures and benefits of making music to people of all ages. NAMM is comprised of more than 9,000 member companies in eighty-seven countries around the world.

Each summer’s NAMM show brings many of the world’s top musical instrument manufacturers to Nashville to display their wares. This year’s show, presented July 12 through July 14 at the city’s downtown convention center, featured 372 exhibitors from across the globe.

As you might expect from its Nashville setting, the summer NAMM show tends to be heavily populated by manufacturers of guitars and guitar accessories—and heavily attended by guitar aficionados. So it was the perfect place for The Gretsch Company to showcase its Bigsby brand of True Vibratos.

Paul Bigsby was a musician, a guitar-maker, and an inventor. In 1951 he presented the first Bigsby True Vibrato to guitar pioneer Merle Travis—immediately revolutionizing guitar design. From that day to this, Bigsby Vibratos have been making major contributions to guitar history.

They’ve been featured continuously on Gretsch guitars since 1955, and they’ve been heard on recordings in almost every musical genre from punk to folk and from country to rock. Versions are now available to fit almost every brand and model of guitar on the market.

Visitors to the Gretsch/Bigsby booth during the three days of the summer NAMM show had the opportunity to examine all of the Bigsby True Vibratos first-hand. But visitors on Friday, July 13 got a special treat: the opportunity to meet and speak with Fred W. Gretsch himself. Representing the fourth generation of Gretsch musical instrument makers, Fred greeted and signed autographs for Gretsch fans from across the country.

Also on hand at the booth was Gene Haugh, a long-time Gretsch guitar craftsman who was instrumental in the development of the famous Chet Atkins “Super Chet” signature guitar model.

Gretsch guitar craftsman Gene Haugh (left) and Gretsch Company representative Adam Seutter (center) were joined by Fred W. Gretsch at the Gretsch Company booth at the summer NAMM show in Nashville.

These Bigsby True Vibrato tailpieces were the focal point of the Gretsch Company booth.

Gretsch drums were at the show in spirit if not in fact, as represented by this T-shirt sporting the classic Gretsch drum logo.

The Gretsch Company also holds title on another classic American drum brand: Leedy. This custom-crafted Leedy snare drum is a faithful reproduction of a vintage Leedy model.

For more information about Bigsby True Vibratos visit www.bigsby.com. For more information about NAMM visit www.namm.org.

Closing Ceremonies For The Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player Exhibit At The Country Music Hall of Fame® & Museum

Just three blocks away from the Nashville Convention Center is the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum, which is home to a variety of unique historic exhibits.

On this particular weekend the Hall was holding a series of events to mark the closing of one such exhibit: a fond and fascinating look at the life and career of Chet Atkins. Titled Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player, it paid tribute to the versatility and vision of the legendary guitar artist, with historic information, personal memorabilia, performance clips, and guitars of all descriptions on display.

After opening on August 12, 2011, the exhibit was originally scheduled to run through June 11, 2012 but was extended due to popular demand. Throughout its duration it was accompanied by an ongoing series of educational and performance programs. By the time of its closing on July 15, 2012 it had hosted more than 300,000 visitors.

The Gretsch Company was the title sponsor for the Chet Atkins exhibit. Gretsch enjoyed a long and fruitful association with Chet, during which he helped design and popularize several guitar models that are still best-sellers today.

At a reception held prior to the public opening of the Chet Atkins exhibit in August of 2011, Fred Gretsch, said, “As a guitar manufacturer Gretsch is proud of its long association with Chet. As a family, we cherish the special relationship that we had with such a fine individual. We’re honored to be the title sponsor for the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s tribute to Chet, and we share the Hall’s commitment to ensuring that his unrivaled legacy will continue to be celebrated for generations to come.”

A highlight of the exhibition’s opening weekend came on Saturday, August 13, 2011, when Steve Wariner and Chet Atkins’ daughter Merle read a proclamation bestowing the final “Certified Guitar Player” honor on Paul Yandell, who was Chet Atkins’ bandleader, friend, and confidant for more than thirty years. Chet coined the term “Certified Guitar Player” to describe an artist who personified the ultimate in performance skill and musical quality. Only four other guitarists—Wariner, Jerry Reed, Tommy Emmanuel, and John Knowles—had received such recognition from Chet. It was a bittersweet tribute, as Yandell was ill and would pass away only a few months later.

A Quick Walk Through The Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player Exhibit

The exhibit featured multiple screens showing clips of Chet from throughout his career.

By the mid-1950s Chet had established himself as one of the most successful guitar soloists of all time—earning him the name of “Mr. Guitar.” And in 1954 he began his long association with the Gretsch company.

Pictured below and on the left is a 1959 Gretsch Country Gentleman that was one of Chet’s primary guitars throughout the 1960s and ’70s. Chet modified it with a Super ’Tron neck pickup and an internal phase shifter. On the right is a 1954 Streamliner special-order model that became the basis for the legendary Gretsch Chet Atkins Signature (6120) hollow-body guitar.

In addition to his performing skills, Chet enjoyed success as an executive with RCA Records. Below is a letter written to Chet in 1968 by then-Gretsch Company president Fred Gretsch Jr., congratulating Chet on his appointment as vice president at RCA.

Chet was a skillful and talented producer. In addition to signing and producing many top country artists, he also branched out into the pop field. This photo below shows him in the studio with crooner Perry Como in 1973.

Of course, it was as a performer that Chet made his greatest impact…and earned his greatest rewards. Below are the Grammys he won in 1967 for his Chet Atkins Picks The Best album and in 1971 for his recording of “Snowbird.”

Chet was an inveterate “tinkerer” whose hobbies included photography and ham radio in addition to electronics and recording. The exhibit included a faithful display of Chet’s home workshop, just as it was left upon his passing in 2001.

Closing Luncheon

To commemorate the Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player exhibit at its closing, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum hosted two special events. The first was a private luncheon held on Friday, July 13, 2012 and attended by a select group of individuals who had been instrumental in the establishment of the exhibit.

Attendees included Hall board chairman Steve Turner and museum director Kyle Young, as well as exhibit sponsors Fred and Dinah Gretsch (and their grandson Logan Thomas), Merle Atkins Russell (Chet’s daughter), Marie Yandell (widow of Paul Yandell), and CGP guitarist John Knowles.

Fred and Dinah Gretsch and grandson Logan with Merle Atkins Russell, daughter of Chet Atkins.

As a gesture of thanks for the Gretsch Company’s support of the exhibit, Kyle Young presented Fred and Dinah Gretsch with a scrapbook containing photos and other material documenting every stage of the exhibit’s creation.

Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum director Kyle Young (left) and board chairman Steve Turner (rear) presented Fred and Dinah Gretsch with a scrapbook documenting every step of the creation of the Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player exhibit.


Friends & Flamekeepers Concert

The second special closing event took place on Saturday, July 14 in the Hall of Fame’s Ford Theater. A concert “Chet Atkins: Friends And Flame Keepers,” featured a stellar group of performers. Some were veteran artists who had enjoyed personal relationships with Chet; others were rising stars who were influenced by Chet and are carrying on and expanding his unique fingerstyle guitar technique. The lineup included John Knowles, Muriel Anderson, Meagan Taylor (great-niece of Chet Atkins), Ben Hall, Thom Bresh, Brooks Robertson, and Gretsch guitar artists Guy Van Duser and Joe Robinson.

Anecdotes and stories about Chet Atkins were plentiful, and the musical performances were heartfelt and beautiful. It was an amazing—and entirely appropriate—tribute to the memory of a man who had such an important impact on guitarists everywhere.

A full-length performance video of the Friends & Flamekeepers concert may be viewed HERE.

For additional information on the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum visit Countrymusichalloffame.org. For more information on Gretsch and its association with Chet Atkins, visit gretsch.com.

Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Convention

While the Summer NAMM show and the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum events were taking place in downtown Nashville, the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society was holding its 28th annual convention at the Music City Sheraton Hotel & Convention Center just outside of town. From July 11 through 14 attendees enjoyed fully-packed days and nights of the music of the legendary guitarist.

Through 2000, Chet Atkins himself participated in the CAAS conventions, and his presence was warmly appreciated by the members. Since his passing in 2001, the Society has continued to preserve his legacy and to encourage young and old alike to keep his music alive and appreciate the many contributions he made to the guitar and the music of America.

Current CAAS president Dr. Mark Pritcher, his wife Carol, and an able staff of dedicated volunteers keep the organization running and growing. Although membership is around 1,000, this year’s CAAS convention welcomed over 1,500 avid Chet Atkins fans.

The convention hosted a variety of guest artists who performed concerts, played at intimate close-up sessions, and conducted top-notch workshops for attendees. Performances ran concurrently on two stages and in nearby meeting rooms. The main stage hosted concerts each night until late evening. In between all of these activities, retailers, collectors, and guitar makers displayed instruments, recordings, and memorabilia for sale. Personal interaction between established artists, professional and hobbyist musicians, and just plain fans was a great part of the fun for everyone in attendance.

A particularly popular feature at the convention was the Gretsch guitar display (presented in cooperation with Broadway Music of Nashville.) Not only did the display showcase a bevy of beautiful instruments, it also presented ongoing performances by great Gretsch guitar artists including Pat Corn, Bobby Gibson, and Richard Kiser. And, to the delight of convention goers, Fred W. Gretsch dropped by the display on Friday, July 13 to introduce some of the performers. Fred then stayed to chat with fans and sign autographs—which he did on programs, T-shirts . . . and one brand-new Gretsch guitar!

From left: Pat Corn, Bobby Gibson, and Richard Kiser performed at the Gretsch Guitars display.

Fred Gretsch was on hand to autograph programs, T-shirts...and this Gretsch guitar.

Veteran Gretsch guitar craftsman Gene Haugh (who helped develop the “Super Chet” model) admired the display of beautiful new Gretsch guitars.

The Gretsch Family and Gretsch Guitars have been major supporters of the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society for many years. As a result, coming to the CAAS convention has become a regular family event for Fred and Dinah Gretsch—as well as for their grandson Logan, who was at the show this year.

Logan Thomas, grandson of Fred and Dinah Gretsch

When asked how he was enjoying the convention, the articulate twelve-year-old replied, “This is the fourth or fifth year that I’ve come here, and it’s always great. But it’s especially great for me this year, because I’ve been studying the guitar myself for the past year. One of my favorite players is Joe Robinson, and he’s playing at the convention, which is really cool.”

In addition to pursuing his musical goals, Logan is also an athlete, playing quarterback for his team at Thomas Heyward Academy in his home town of Ridgeland, South Carolina. Ridgeland is also home to the Gretsch USA drum manufacturing operation. As a sixth-generation member of the Gretsch family, Logan occasionally helps out at the factory. As he proudly explained, “I’ve been helping move things around to make more space for The Vineyard.” Logan’s reference is to Gretsch’s unique collection of vintage drum shells from the 1980s and earlier, which are used to create historically authentic custom drumkits.

Chet Atkins Tribute Concert

The CAAS convention came to a rousing conclusion on Saturday, July 14 with a gala Chet Atkins tribute concert. This show featured special guests from the Nashville pantheon of performers, as well as international guest artists. Most of these had taken part in earlier convention activities, and many had also appeared at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum’s “Friends & Flamekeepers” tribute concert. Like that earlier event, this concert showcased fingerstyle guitar playing by newcomers and established stars alike.

The evening’s many fond recollections of Chet Atkins were joined by remembrances of Paul Yandell, whose long association with Chet—as well as his own noteworthy musical accomplishments—had made him an important figure on the Nashville scene for decades. The verbal and musical tributes offered to these two guitar giants gave a very personal quality to each performance.

Family and friends at the CAAS closing concert, from left: Judy Edwards, Nokie Edwards, Deed Eddy, Gretsch guitar great Duane Eddy, Dinah and Fred Gretsch, and Logan Thomas.

Special moments abounded during the concert. Just a few of those included:

The introduction of Fred Gretsch by CAAS president Mark Pritcher, and Fred’s comments regarding Paul Yandell and Chet Atkins, both of whom had long associations with Gretsch guitars.

Fred and Dinah Gretsch and grandson Logan presenting a 1959 Gretsch 6119 guitar to lucky raffle winner Jimmy Lapham, who came to the CAAS convention from Camilla, Georgia.

Fifteen-year-old Australian phenom Josh Needs playing an original composition on a Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar that had been given to the CAAS by guitar great Scotty Moore—who had himself been given the guitar by Chet Atkins.

Gretsch artist and guitar icon Duane Eddy presenting a custom replica of Buddy Holly’s guitar to long-time Ventures lead guitarist Nokie Edwards. Nokie was being honored with the Buddy Holly Legacy Award, presented by the Buddy Holly Education Foundation in recognition of outstanding artistry.

Rising Gretsch guitar star Joe Robinson wowing the crowd with his unique combination of blazing technique and musical creativity on an original tune appropriately titled “It’s Not Easy.”

After relating how they each had learned Chet Atkins’ “Happy Again,” a moving trio performance of the tune by John Knowles, Thom Bresh, and Brooks Robertson.

Gretsch artist Guy Van Duser—and the entire concert audience—performing “We Love You Chet,” an original tune composed in tribute to the guitar great.

In addition to the artists named above, the roster of performers at the CAAS closing concert included Shane Adkins, Rick Allred, Craig Dobbins, Phil Hunt & Eddie Estes, Pat Kirtley, Jimmy, John, and Morning Nichols, Ben Owings, Eddie Pennington & Paul Moseley, and Sean Weaver.

For more information on the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society, go to ChetSociety.com.

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Gretsch Day 2012 at Street Sounds in Brooklyn

Friday, June 1st, 2012

A Huge Success!

Street Sounds and Gretsch guitars teamed up once again to present the Gretsch Fred & Joe Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival event on Saturday, June 2, 2012, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Street Sounds music store on 9206 3rd Avenue in Brooklyn, NY.

The free event featured top-notch musical performances beginning with Foxy Studs, followed by The Octanes, Paul Pigat and Cousin Harley, Nik & Sam, and headliners, the pop rock quartet Fountains of Wayne.

Fred Gretsch and Gretsch Guitars product specialist Joe Carducci presented their popular “Fred & Joe Show” and OK Go frontman Damian Kulash kicked off the evening by signing autographs for fans.  In addition, guests were treated to a hands-on guitar clinic with Gretsch Guitars Custom Shop Master Builder, Stephen Stern, as well as the opportunity to meet Gretsch Girl Kim Falcon who graciously signed her new posters for attendees.

During the evening two lucky attendees won guitars including a Gretsch Double Jet with Bigsby and a Chet Atkins Country Gentleman 12-String.  Other prizes were awarded as well.

A special thank-you to The GretschPages for streaming the event, and to Rocky and his fantastic team at Street Sounds.

Check out images from the evening below:

Street Sounds Brooklyn--Rocky & Gretsch families baked Gretsch collector cookies for event. First-come, first-served!

Fred Gretsch Gets Damian Kulash's Autograph for Granddaughters!

Gretsch Master Builder Stephen Stern Talks Gretsch Guitars

Stephen Stern Knows His Stuff

Fred & Joe - What a Team!

The Foxy Studs Kicked Off the Evening's Live Music

The Foxy Studs

Joe Introduces Our Lovely Gretsch Girl Kim Falcon

Adam Burchfield of The Octanes

The Octanes

Paul Pigat & Cousin Harley

Paul Pigat Working His Guitar Magic

Nik & Sam

Fred Gretsch with Nik & Sam

Toni from Brooklyn Wins a Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentleman 12-String Guitar!!

Headliners Fountains of Wayne

Fountains of Wayne

Fountains of Wayne

Thanks Everyone! See You Next Year!

Musikmesse–Where the Music World Comes Together

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

With over 1,500 exhibitors, Musikmesse, “the world’s most international fair for musical instruments, sheet music, music production and marketing, and . . . the foremost meeting place for the musical-instrument industry for over 25 years,” took place from March 21 to 24 in Frankfurt, Germany.

This year Bigsby Vibratos worked in cooperation with the Warwick and Framus companies and set up shop at their booth.  In addition to showcasing the Bigsby vibrato line, product specialist Adam Seutter kept very busy conducting twice-daily installation demonstrations and answering attendee questions.

Framus Panthera with Bigsby

Guitars that received special Bigsby installations courtesy of Adam included the Framus Panthera and Mayfield models.

For all things Bigsby as well as a post-Messe report and pictures, please visit Bigsby.com.

Other Sights and Sounds at Messe:

Gretsch drummer Mark Schulman participated as part of the Fender Rock Trio along with Greg Koch and Roscoe Beck and gave standing-room-only daily performances on the Agora Stage.

GuitarPoint Vintage Instruments brought along a beautiful 1955 Gretsch Roundup to display at the International Vintage Show. A very nice example to be appreciated by all, not just vintage guitar collectors.

1955 Gretsch Roundup

Gretsch Brushed Brass Snare

And Gretsch Drums released a new Brushed Brass Snare combining the sound of a brass shell with the look and feel of a hand-finished shell.  Due to the hand-brushing process, no two shells are identical.

Bigsby Display Looking Good

Gretsch USA Brooklyn Kit

Tower of Gretsch Drums

And Here’s Some Photos of Dinah, Fred, and Friends (Old and New).

Dinah & Fred with Messe thumbpicking enthusiast Roger, a regular visitor. Nice t-shirt too!

The GuitarPoint Germany family photo: Detlef, Fred, Petra, Wolfgang, & Karolin.

Fred and Mark Schulman

Musikmesse 2012 is now in the history books.  It was another great trade show for Gretsch Guitars, Drums, and Bigsby Vibratos.  We look forward to being back in Frankfurt in 2013.

Bigsby on the Road in 2012

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Bigsby will be busy and on the road in 2012! Hitting the biggest and best consumer based guitar shows across the country, 2012 stands to be the best year yet! Whether you want to take advantage of FREE Bigsby Installations* on your favorite guitar or get your current Bigsby-equipped guitar playing great via a Pit-Stop, Bigsby will be there for you! From Pomona to Philly, Bigsby is traversing the country to visit you! Check out the list of events below.

Spartanburg Guitar Show

February 25-26

www.bee3vintage.com

Dallas International Guitar Festival

April 20-22

www.guitarshow.com

Chicago Guitar Show

May 19-20

www.texasguitarshows.com

SoCal World Guitar Show

July 21-22

www.texasguitarshows.com

GuitArlington

October 20-21

www.texasguitarshows.com

Great American Guitar Show

November 10-11

www.bee3vintage.com

*Some restrictions may apply.  Stop by the booth or email Adam Seutter at adam@bigsby.com for more details.

For more information on Bigsby Vibratos, visit the Bigsby website.

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.

Recap of Recent Gretsch Events 2014, 2013 & 2012

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Here are some highlights so far from 2014:

Gretsch Twang-O-Rama Concert in Tempe – 3/22

On Saturday, March 22, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. attendees enjoyed a Gretsch Twang-O-Rama concert event at the Tempe Guitar Show. Music by Jason Lee and the R.I.P. Tides, Jet Weston and his Atomic Ranch Hands, Gamblers Mark, The Octanes, and Jay Gordon & Blues Venom.

These Youngsters from Liverpool: The Beatles, Ed Sullivan, and Gretsch Guitars – 2/4  to 2/28

A terrific exhibit of Beatles-related memorabilia and instruments was held at the Georgia Southern Museum from February 4 through 28. An opening reception was held on February 4 during which Fred Gretsch spoke about how The Beatles’ performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” changed the musical instrument business forever.

Bigsby Vibratos at South Carolina Guitar Show – 2/22 & 23

The South Carolina Guitar Show in Spartanburg took place February 22 & 23. Attendees had the opportunity to take their Bigsby-equipped guitars for special pit-stop check-ups a well professional Bigsby Vibrato installations at no charge with purchase.

Winter NAMM – 1/23 to 1/26

Gretsch had a plethora of gorgeous guitars and drums on display at the NAMM Show in Anaheim.  Of special note this year for Gretsch Guitars, the Gretsch Roots Collection was selected as a “Gotta Stock It” item and Gretsch was proud to have the 9100-L Soprano Long Neck Ukulele selected as a “Best in Show” item.  In addition to some exciting new products, Gretsch Drums had on display a kit belonging to Matt Sorum of Guns ‘n’ Roses and Velvet Revolver fame, and also to the legendary Phil Collins.  Take a look at our highlights story for much more about the show.  On Saturday night, 1/25/14, Gretsch Guitars and Drums sponsored an unforgettable Twang-O-Rama event at the Juke Joint in Anaheim.  Check out the Gretsch YouTube page for video clips from all the terrific musical performances.

Here are some highlights from 2013:

Bigsby Vibratos at Fall Philly Guitar Show – 11/9 & 10

Bigsby was at the Great American Guitar Show (also known as the Fall Philly guitar show) on November 9 & 10 offering the usual 8-point pit-stop service check of Bigsby-equipped guitars and free Bigsby installs during the show.

Gretsch 130th Anniversary Multi-Media Presentation at Class Axe Guitars – 10/12/13

Due to high demand to attend the Class Axe Guitars multi-media presentation, the event which was originally scheduled in store was moved to a larger venue. Class Axe Guitars in Kemptville, Ontario hosted the final 130th Anniversary event on Saturday, October 12, beginning at 7:30 p.m.  In addition to the special multimedia presentation hosted by Fred & Dinah Gretsch which explored a remarkable musical journey that began in 1883, there were great prizes including a Gretsch G5420T Electromatic® guitar .  A true Gretsch extravaganza!!

Gretsch 130th Anniversary Twang-O-Rama Concert Event at Blues Angel Music – 9/14/13

The Gretsch 130th Anniversary Twang-O-Rama concert headed to Blues Angel Music in Pensacola, FL on Saturday, September 14 with music by The Romantics, Rosie Flores & the Rivetors, Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project, The Octanes, and Gretsch Lyles and the Modern Eldoradoes. The fun began at 1 p.m.

Gretsch 130th Anniversary Twang-O-Rama Concert at Cream City Music – 8/17/13

Cream City Music in Brookfield, WI hosted a Twang-O-Rama concert event on Saturday, August 17, beginning at 2 p.m. Music by Paul Pigat & Cousin Harley, The Mike Elred Trio, and Jet Weston & his Atomic Ranch Hands. Surprise appearance by Fred & Dinah Gretsch delighted attendees.

Gretsch 130th Anniversary Twang-O-Rama Concert at Guitar Center Central Chicago – 8/15/13

Guitar Center Chicago hosted a Gretsch 130th Anniversary concert event on Thursday, August 15 at their North Halsted location. Music was provided by the Joe Robinson Trio, Mister Barrington and performing members of CAAS. Fred & Dinah Gretsch were also in attendance.

Gretsch 130th Anniversary Events and Steve Maxwell Vintage Drums & Rudy’s Music Shop – 8/3/13

One day, two events! Steve Maxwell Vintage & Custom Drums as well as Rudy’s Music in Soho were hosts on Saturday, August 3 for two great Gretsch 130th Anniversary events! Music by Paul Pigat & Cousin Harley, the Kimberly Thompson Quartet and performing members of CAAS (the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society). Fred Gretsch was on hand as well!

Gretsch 130th Anniversary Concert at Sam Ash Music in Hollywood – 7/20/13

Sam Ash Music in Hollywood, CA, hosted a Gretsch 130th Anniversary Concert Event. Presented by Gretsch Guitars & Drums.  Performances by Steve Ferrone, the Joe Robinson Trio, and the Michelle Marie TrioBilly Duffy was emcee.

Three Gretsch 130th Anniversary Events in June -

Three great Gretsch dealers hosted 130th anniversary events In June. Each included lots of great music, meet & greets, giveaways, and a whole lot more!

STREETSOUNDS NYC
StreetSounds, Brooklyn, NY, Saturday, June 15. Presented by Gretsch Guitars. Music by The Romantics, Michelle Marie Trio, Jet Weston & His Atomic Ranch Hands, and Foxy Studs.

SWEETWATER GEARFEST

Sweetwater GearFest, Fort Wayne, IN, Saturday, June 22.  Presented by Gretsch Guitars & Drums. Music by Fountains of Wayne and the Joe Robinson Trio.

BIZARRE GUITAR
Greg Golden’s Bizarre Guitar, Reno, NV, Saturday, June 29. Presented by Gretsch Guitars & Drums. Music by Rosie Flores & the Rivetors, Zach Danziger (Mister Barrington), The Octanes. And Billy Duffy was the emcee!

Bigsby at the Ohio Guitar Show – 6/9

New in 2013, Bigsby exhibited at the Ohio Guitar Show at  the Aladdin Shrine Temple Complex in Columbus with free installations and pit-stop checks of attendees’ Bigsby-equipped guitars. Visit the Bigsby site for a recap of the event.

Abbey Road on the River – 5/23 to 5/27

Abbey Road on the River, the world’s largest Beatles-inspired festival took place from May 23 through 27. Gretsch Guitars proudly presented the legendary Peter Asher on Saturday & Sunday, May 25 & 26, the Steve Sizemore Group performed each day, and a special Gretsch guitar auction preceded both of Peter Asher’s shows.

Chicago Guitar Show – 5/18 & 19

Bigsby Vibratos once again exhibited at the Chicago Guitar Show at the DuPage Expo Center and completed free Bigsby installations and pit-stop checks of attendees’ Bigsby-equipped guitars.

Dallas International Guitar Festival – 4/19 to 4/21

The annual Gretsch Guitar Extravaganza took place in Dallas from April 19 to April 21 with Bigsby Vibratos, Gretsch Guitars, and TV Jones once again teaming up at the Dallas International Guitar Festival.

That Great Gretsch Day in Germany – 4/17 & 4/19

Thanks to all the great Gretsch fans in Germany who came out for That Great Gretsch Day at No. 1 Guitar Center in Hamburg on April 17 and to Music Store Professional in Köln on April 19. A special thanks to The Adriano BaTolba Trio who provided great music for the enjoyment of all, and also to Gretsch Guitars and everyone at each store for all the hard work that went into ensuring that That Great Gretsch Day was truly great!

Musikmesse Frankfurt – 4/10 to 4/13

A fantastic show this year with a record 113,000 visitors from 142 countries attending! Bigsby Vibratos exhibited with TV Jones Pickups and Gretsch Guitars and Drums had a great setup in Hall 4. Check out our picture gallery and check the Bigsby site for a post-show report.

Tempe Guitar Show & Gretsch 130th Anniversary Twang-O-Rama Concert – 3/23

On March 23, the 2013 Tempe Guitar Show presented by CE Distribution hosted Gretsch Guitar’s 130th Anniversary Twang-O-Rama concert event featuring performances by Lee Rocker and Buzz Campbell, the Mike Elred Trio, Big Nick & the Gila Monsters, and the Saucy Jacks.  A total of 48 vendors, 5 bands, and 1,800 people attended the show.

Gretsch Day at Musicroom Salisbury – 3/9

Musicroom Salisbury hosted a special Gretsch Day on March 9. The event featured talks and demonstrations from Gretsch brand manager Adam Bowden Smith, a meet-and-greet with other Gretsch team members, a chance to win a Gretsch G5420T guitar, and more!

Elmhurst College Jazz Festival – 2/21 to 2/24

The 46th annual Elmhurst College Jazz Festival took place from February 21 through 24 in Elmhurst, Illinois–one of the oldest and best college jazz festivals in the United States! Learn about Elmhurst’s great music department and performing ensembles including the Gretsch Guitar Ensemble.

5th Annual Rockabilly Reunion – 2/15 to 2/17

Gretsch Guitars once again co-sponsored the Rockabilly Reunion in Lake Havasu City, AZ which took place February 15 to 17.  Attendees were treated to performances by The Octanes, Voo Doo Swing, and The Chop Tops!

Winter NAMM Show – 1/24 to 1/27

Gretsch created quite a buzz at this year’s show with lots of exciting new guitar and drum products. Take a look at some great photos from the show: Gretsch NAMM Show Album, Bigsby gallery, Gretsch Guitars and Drums Facebook pages, and the GretschPages.

Here are highlights from 2012:

Christmas 4 Kids Concert – 11/19

The 11th Annual Charlie Daniels Band & Friends concert benefiting Christmas 4 Kids took place on November 19 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. During the concert attendees were able to place a  bid on a Gretsch Anniversary guitar donated by the Gretsch Foundation.

Great American Guitar Show – 11/10 & 11/11

Bigsby Vibratos attended the Great American Guitar Show, also known as the Fall Philly Show at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center on November 10 & 11 and offered free installs with purchase along with the popular pit-stop program. Additionally, to help support victims of Hurricane Sandy, Bigsby offered to match 100 percent of all show sales with a donation to The Salvation Army.

GuitArlington – 10/20 & 10/21

Gretsch Guitars and Bigsby once again teamed up with pickup and guitar extraordinaire Tom “TV” Jones to bring you a one-stop GUITAR EXTRAVAGANZA! Attendees were able to check out their favorite products from all three companies! Special features of the booth included FREE Bigsby Installations, Bigsby Pit-Stops, guitar setups by TV Jones, and much, much more!

Savannah Folk Music Festival & Noteworthy Art Auction – 10/12 to 10/14

The Savannah Folk Music Society’s 23rd annual Savannah Folk Music Festival took place October 12 through 14. For the ninth year, the Society presented the “Noteworthy Art” Exhibit and Silent Auction in support of the festival with guitars donated by the Gretsch Fundation, the charitable arm of the Gretsch family. Some of the guitars were autographed by the biggest names in folk music including Grammy Award-winner Alison Krauss & Union Station, National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion and harp guitar expert Muriel Anderson, and Grammy Award-winner singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan. Watch as Chris Desa talked with WTOC11 in advance of the festivities.

Nashville Roundup – 9/27 to 9/30

The beautiful Hachland Hill Farms in Joelton, TN and the gracious Ms. Phila Hach once again hosted the Nashville Roundup.  The perfect setting for a great Gretsch event! The Gretsch Pages UStream channel broadcast live streaming during the event.

Gretsch Family & Paul Bigsby Named Manufacturing Legends by Guitar Player Mag – Nov 2012 Issue

The November issue of Guitar Player Magazine included their inaugural GP Hall of Fame awards and Paul Bigsby as well as the Gretsch Family were inducted as “Manufacturing Legends”. Truly a great honor presented by one of the preeminent industry publications.

Gretsch Euro Roundup – 9/22 & 9/23

The fifth annual Euro Roundup, a fun weekend of rock ‘n’ roll, blues, country, and jazz along with Gretsch guitars took place 9/22 and 9/23. This years’ event was held at hotel De Steenen Man in Zurich, Netherlands.

NorCal Roundup – 9/14 to 9/16

An extraordinary weekend of music and friendship in a setting of great natural beauty–the Clair Tappaan Lodge in Norden, CA. Gretsch Guitars was be on hand along with pop and rock industry legend, Peter Asher. Highlights and pictures via the GretschPages.

Abbey Road on the River, Washington DC – 8/30 to 9/3

The “Fred & Joe Show” made a stop in Washington DC over Labor Day weekend for the annual Abbey Road on the River Beatles festival. Gretsch Guitars presented The Love Album Live and the Steve Sizemore Group performed each day and also met with fans at the Gretsch exhibit. Some great Gretsch guitars were auctioned for worthwhile charitable organizations including the American Red Cross. PHOTO GALLERY.

SoCal World Guitar Show – 7/21 & 7/22

Bigsby Vibratos was in attendance at the SoCal World Guitar Show at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA July 21 and 22.  Visitors to the Bigsby booth were able to get a pit-stop check of their Bigsby-equipped guitars, enjoy install demonstrations, and more!

Great Gretsch Weekend in Nashville Recap

The weekend of  July 13 and 14 saw a once-in-a-lifetime confluence of events in Nashville, Tennessee, otherwise known as “Music City USA.” And Gretsch was an important participant in all of them. Read the weekend RECAP.

Chet Atkins: CGP Exhibition at the Country Music Hall of Fame® & Museum – 8/12/11 to 7/15/12

After an 11-month run in the Country Music Hall of Fame® & Museum’s East Gallery, the cameo exhibition Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player came to an end on July 15, 2012.  Originally scheduled to close in June, the exhibit was extended to accommodate members of the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society as well as NAMM during the final weekend.  Employing a wealth of instruments, vintage photos, personal possessions and correspondence, career-spanning audio and video, as well as special programs scheduled throughout its duration, the exhibit explored the life and impact of this incomparable musician, producer, and executive.  The exhibition was made possible through support of the Gretsch Company with additional support provided by the Great American Country Television Network.

Chet Atkins Appreciation Society Convention – 7/11 to 7/14

The Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville again hosted the annual members-only Chet Atkins Appreciation Society (CAAS) Convention.  The Society, whose members have a sincere interest and appreciation of Chet’s music, was founded in 1983 and meets annually in order to preserve Chet’s legacy and encourage young and old alike to keep his music alive.  This year the Gretsch booth included a special tribute to Paul Yandell, Chet’s long-time friend and band leader who was bestowed with the fifth and final “Certified Guitar Player” (C.G.P.) title by the Atkins family in 2011.

Summer NAMM Show, Nashville, TN – 7/12 to 7/14

The annual Summer NAMM Show took place at the Nashville Convention Center from July 12 to 14.  Featuring a Public Day on Saturday, attendees were treated to Bigsby Vibrato installation demonstrations at the Gretsch booth along with a sampling of authorized Gretsch Company merchandise from GretschGear.  In addition, the full line of Bigsby Vibratos were on display along with a copy of the beautifully-illustrated book Paul Bigsby: Father of the Modern Solidbody Electric Guitar.

Gretsch Day at Cream City Music, Brookfield, WI – 6/30

Gretsch Guitars and Cream City Music joined forces to present Gretsch Day on June 30.  The event featured free guitar re-stringing, the unveiling of a specially-painted Gretsch guitar by Sarah Gallenberger, as well as the Fred & Joe Show which included music by Jake Allen, Bobby Gibson, and Nik & Sam.  For event photos, click HERE.

Gretsch Day at Street Sounds Brooklyn – 6/2

Street Sounds in Brooklyn hosted Gretsch Day 2012 on June 2.  Billed as the Fred & Joe Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival, the evening featured live music from 3 to 6 p.m.  Performers included the Grammy-winning quartet Fountains of Wayne, sisters Nik & Sam, Paul Pigat & Cousin Harley, The Octanes, and Foxy Studs. Making special appearances were Damian Kulash of OK Go and Gretsch Girl Kim Falcon. For images from the event, click HERE.

Dinah & Fred Meet Gretsch Drummer Mark Pontius – 5/30

The Gretsches had the opportunity to meet with Gretsch-endorsed drummer Mark Pontius and the rest of the popular Indie pop band Foster The People during a concert at Rumsey Playhouse in New York City’s Central Park on May 30.  Here’s a great photo from their meeting.

Abbey Road on the River – 5/26 & 5/27

The Fred & Joe Show with Fred Gretsch & Joe Carducci was at Abbey Road on the River in Louisville. The world’s largest Beatles-inspired festival ran May 24 through 28. The Fred & Joe Show took place on May 26 with an encore presentation on May 27 . Take a look at some pictures from the booth HERE.

Dallas Guitar Show – 4/20 to 4/22

Bigsby Vibratos once again teamed with TV Jones and Gretsch Guitars for a Guitar Extravaganza at the 35th Annual Dallas International Guitar Festival held at the Dallas Market Hall from April 20 to 22.  Installation demos by Bigsby as well as Tom Jones, “pit stop” service checks of Bigsby-equipped guitars, and Kim Falcon signing autographs were just some of the highlights.

Balto-DC Roundup – 3/30 & 3/31

The third annual Gretsch Balto-DC Roundup took place March 30 & 31 at the Hartford Park Community Association Center in Parkville, Maryland. Pictures here.

Meeting with Charlie Watts – 3/28

While in Vienna, Austria, Dinah & Fred Gretsch were able to get together with Charlie Watts,  long-time Gretsch drummer and member of the Rolling Stones as well as the ABC&D of Boogie Woogie. Read the entire story here.

Musikmesse Frankfurt – 3/21 to 3/24

Gretsch Guitars, Drums, and Bigsby Vibratos were on hand in Frankfurt for Musikmesse 2012.  Bigsby product specialist Adam Seutter performed twice-daily installation demonstrations at the Warwick/Framus booth. Gretsch drummer Mark Schulman, as part of the Fender Rock Trio, performed daily to standing-room-only crowds.

The Fred & Joe Show at Blues Angel Music – 3/2

The Fred & Joe Show made its first stop of 2012 at Blues Angel Music in Pensacola, FL on March 3 for their Grand Opening and charity raffle event benefiting the Red Cross and United Services Organizations (USO). The event took place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in its brand new facilities at 657 N. Pace Blvd. The new 14,000-square-foot building boasts modern retail, music lesson, and musical instruments and electronics repair space.

Lake Havasu Rockabilly Reunion Weekend – 2/17 to 2/19

The 2012 Lake Havasu Rockabilly Reunion Festival took place from Februrary 17-19 at Lake Havasu Arizona State Park.  Sponsored by Gretsch, the festival featured live music, hot rod cars, Ms. Lake Havasu Rockabilly Pinup Girl Contest and much, much more! Gretsch was there with a fabulous display of guitars as well as the lovely Gretsch Girl, Kim Falcon, who signed her new poster for festival-goers.

Gretsch and Superbowl ILVI – 2/5

OK Go climbed into a specially-equipped Chevy Sonic and utilized 148 black Gretsch G5105 and 140 red G5103 Electromatic CVT III guitars in their latest video for “Needing/Getting” which aired during Superbowl XLVI. More here.

The NAMM Show, Anaheim – 1/19 to 1/22

The 2012 NAMM Show took place at the Anaheim Convention Center January 19 to 22. Gretsch Guitars and Gretsch Drums were on hand with some exciting new products including the Gretsch Rancher Acoustics and Roots Collection as well as the Gretsch Brooklyn Series drums.  Bigsby Vibratos also had an exciting new display featuring Bigsby-equipped guitars from 13 different manufacturers.  Check here for coverage provided by our friends at The Gretsch Pages and here for videos from the show.

For a recap of Gretsch events from 2011, click HERE.