Posts Tagged ‘Gretsch Guitars’

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!

German Guitar Heroes–Legendary Craftsman from Germany to America

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

By Fred Gretsch

Not long ago I was on a visit to New York City. While there, I took the opportunity to attend an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art titled: “Guitar Heroes—Legendary Craftsmen From Italy to New York.” The exhibit showcased the history of guitar making in Italy, and how Italian luthiers brought their craft with them when they emigrated to New York City in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

As the namesake of one of America’s premier guitar brands, I was fascinated by the Met’s exhibit. However, as an individual of German heritage, whose family has been keenly involved with guitar production for four generations, I felt that an important part of history was not being represented.

My feelings were made all the more acute by the fact that my granddaughter Chelsea (a sixth-generation Gretsch) was at the Met with me. I wanted her to know and appreciate how important the contributions of German immigrant craftsmen—including members of her own family—were and still are to guitar innovation and production in America. So I decided to prepare this examination of those contributions.

Using the format of the Met’s exhibit as a basis for my look at German Guitar Heroes, I discovered a fascinating array of comparisons, contrasts, and connections. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

It Starts With C.F. Martin

To begin with a contrast: Significant emigration of Italian luthiers to New York took place between 1880 and 1920. But German luthier Christian Frederick Martin arrived half a century earlier, in 1833. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because Christian Martin was the founder and namesake of C. F. Martin & Company, makers of world-famous Martin flat-top acoustic guitars. Christian Martin was born on January 31, 1796 in Markneukirchen, Germany. Born into a family of cabinetmakers and woodworkers, he eventually moved to Vienna, where he apprenticed to noted Austrian guitar maker Johann Georg Stauffer.

At that time European craftsmen operated under the guild system. The guitar (as we know it today) was a relatively new instrument, and most guitar makers—including C.F. Martin—were members of the Cabinet Makers’ Guild. But the Violin Makers’ Guild claimed exclusive rights to manufacture musical instruments. They filed appeals on three occasions to prevent cabinet makers from producing guitars. The cabinet makers successfully defended their right to build guitars, but Martin felt that the guild system was too restrictive. He wanted to work where his skill could advance his personal success without limitations. So in 1833 he emigrated to New York City.

Martin established a shop at 196 Hudson Street on the Lower West Side of Manhattan, with a workshop in the back and a small retail music store in the front. He remained in New York City for five years, then relocated to Nazareth, Pennsylvania. The company is still family-owned and operated to this day.

In an example of German craftsmanship and innovation, the Martin company employed the X-bracing system for guitars during the 1850s. In fact, X-bracing was used by several guitar makers in the 1850s—all German immigrants who knew each other—and there is no evidence that C. F. Martin invented the system. But the Martin Company was the first to use it on a large scale.

What makes this important is that from the 1860s on, fan bracing was the standard in Europe. Martin and other American builders (including such forgotten German names as Schmidt & Maul and Stumcke) used X-bracing. The sound produced by X-bracing on a guitar with gut strings may be considered less delicate. But it prepared the American guitar for steel strings, which emerged in the first quarter of the 20th century and eventually dominated the acoustic guitar market.

The German-heritage family leadership of the Martin company continued to result in important innovations as time went on. When the Great Depression of 1929 drastically reduced sales, the company came up with the 14-fret neck, which allowed players to reach higher notes more easily. Martin intended it to appeal to banjo players interested in switching to guitar for increased work opportunities. The longer neck became so popular that Martin made it standard on all of its guitars, and the rest of the guitar industry soon followed. Classical guitars, which were evolving on their own track largely among European builders, retained the 12-fret neck design.

Martin’s second major innovation within the period between 1915 and 1930 was the dreadnought guitar. First designed in 1916 as a collaboration between Martin and prominent retailer Oliver Ditson Co., the dreadnought body style was larger and deeper than most guitars. It took its name from the British Royal Navy’s HMS Dreadnought, which at the time was the largest battleship ever built.

HD-28 Dreadnought in moulded case

The greater volume and louder bass produced by the dreadnought design was intended to make the guitar more useful as an accompaniment instrument for singers working with the limited sound equipment of the day. Martin gave the dreadnought X-bracing in 1931, and two years later gave it a modified body shape to accommodate a 14-fret neck. From there it quickly became their best-selling guitar. Today the dreadnought size and shape is a “standard” acoustic guitar design, highly regarded for its usefulness in a wide variety of musical genres.

Enter Gretsch

The appearance of the Gretsch name as part of the German Guitar Heroes story also pre-dates the Italian emigration to the U.S. It happens in 1872, when my great-grandfather Friedrich Gretsch moved from Germany to Brooklyn at the age of sixteen. Very shortly thereafter he went to work at Albert Houdlett & Sons—a musical-instrument manufacturer that specialized in drums and banjos.

By the time 1883 came around, Friedrich was in his mid-twenties and had been married for four years. He had done many different music-related jobs, including expanding his skills to include guitars. That’s when he founded his own business, operating out of a small shop in Brooklyn.

Sadly, Friedrich didn’t remain at the helm of the business he founded for very long. In 1895, while on a trip to his German homeland, he died unexpectedly at the age of thirty-nine.

The Second Gretsch Generation

Friedrich’s death left the leadership of the company to the enterprising mind of his fifteen-year-old son, Fred Gretsch, who was still in knickers at the time. Energetic as he was enterprising, Fred Gretsch, Sr. built the business on a reputation for precision and quality. In 1916—two decades after assuming direction of the company—Fred Gretsch Sr. moved the factory and sales operation into a ten-story building at 60 Broadway in Brooklyn. From this headquarters he responded to the growing demand for more specialized instruments, including guitars.

In one of the contrasts I mentioned earlier, New York’s Italian luthiers worked on a local, artisan basis. By 1920 Gretsch was the world’s largest instrument manufacturer, making and selling guitars across the country. (At that time, guitars were sold to wholesalers, who put their own brands on them.) And, in one of the connections I mentioned earlier, Gretsch was also distributing Martin guitars.

In 1927 the popularity of Gretsch-made guitars prompted the company to officially create their own brand of guitars. Thus the Gretsch name appeared on guitars for the first time. Back in 1918 Fred Gretsch Sr. had developed a revolutionary multi-ply lamination process that resulted in the world’s first “warp-free” drum hoop and led to the development of multi-ply drumshells. (Prior to that time drum shells and hoops had been made of steam-bent single-ply boards.) This historic innovation later had a major impact on guitar manufacturing, as we’ll see in a bit.

In 1935, Fred Gretsch Sr.’s son Bill was managing the company’s Chicago distribution office when he met a nineteen-year-old saxophonist named Charles “Duke” Kramer, who was playing in local clubs. Bill saw something special in the teenager and offered him a job polishing horns for $11 a week. Duke—himself of German heritage—accepted the job and never left the company. His career with Gretsch spanned an amazing seventy years, during which time he came to be known as “Mr. Guitar Man” for his pivotal role in making Gretsch electric guitars what they are today.

Gretsch Sychromatic Guitar

And what they are today began in 1939 with the introduction of the first Gretsch electric guitar—the Electromatic—along with the Synchromatic archtop guitar series. In that same year guitar player and innovator Jimmie Webster joined the company. Meanwhile, Gretsch acoustic guitars appeared with a distinctive triangle-shaped sound hole.

The Third Gretsch Generation

In 1942 my grandfather, Fred Gretsch, Sr., retired, leaving the day-to-day operations of running the company to his sons, Fred Gretsch, Jr. (my uncle) and William “Bill” Gretsch (my father). Both had been active in the business since 1927. After a brief term at the company’s helm, Fred Gretsch, Jr. left to serve as a commander in the US Navy. Bill Gretsch became president, and during his tenure the company forged a musical relationship with the legendary Birdland jazz club in New York City.

The company lost its president, and I lost my father, to illness in 1948. Fred Gretsch, Jr. assumed control of the business, just in time for the dawn of rock ’n’ roll at the beginning of the 1950s. While other guitar manufacturers held to traditional designs tied to older musical styles, Gretsch embraced rock ’n’ roll as an opportunity for innovation and expansion. The early years of the decade saw the first cutaway bodies appear on Electromatic and new Electro II guitar models, as well as the introduction of the legendary Duo-Jet model (which sparked the entire Jet line of Gretsch solid-body guitars).

In 1954 Jimmie Webster struck a deal with guitar great Chet Atkins to design and develop a Gretsch guitar. In this same year the first Bigsby vibratos—designed by inventor, machinist, musician, and engineer Paul Bigsby—were offered on Gretsch electrics. The two brands have since become inseparably identified.

Special Connections

The 1950s featured several fascinating connections between Gretsch and one of the Italian guitar makers showcased in the Metropolitan Museum’s Guitar Heroes exhibit: John D’Angelico. In the 1950s D’Angelico’s Manhattan shop and Gretsch’s Brooklyn factory were at opposite ends of the Williamsburg Bridge. John used to take the subway from Delancy Street over to the Brooklyn side, then walk down to our building, where we sold him our remaining stock of solid-wood tops, backs, sides, and wood blocks for neck-making. That material was surplus to us, but it was the basic ingredient for his stock in trade. Gretsch was a large buyer of wood and wood products; John was a small buyer. And he was able to buy things from us, including ebony and rosewood, which we were importing in large quantities. So John D’Angelico was a customer of ours.

Chet Atkins' D'Angelico Guitar. Courtesy Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Photo by Bob Delevante.

The lead picture on the Met exhibit calendar is a D’Angelico guitar built in 1959. It’s a beautiful blonde spruce-top guitar, and I’m pretty certain that we sold John some or all of the wood that he used to build that instrument. And the August 2012 page of the calendar depicts a 1950 D’Angelico guitar that was owned and played by Chet Atkins prior to his coming on board with Gretsch. It’s currently on exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. That guitar is also probably made of wood obtained from Gretsch. And it features an early Bigsby bridge and pickups—characteristic elements of Gretsch guitars.

More Innovation

In 1955 the multi-ply drum construction method introduced by my grandfather back in 1918 had its impact on guitar design. Up until that time, virtually all hollow-bodied electric guitars were made with one-piece tops and backs. When these instruments were played at the new volume levels of rock ’n’ roll music, they tended to feed back. In 1955, with input from Chet Atkins, Gretsch pioneered three-ply tops and backs on their guitars. This resulted in the White Falcon and 6120 Chet Atkins models, and set the stage for artists like Eddie Cochran, Duane Eddy, and Beatle George Harrison.

Gretsch 6120 Nashville Guitar

As the 1950s continued, Gretsch began production of the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman guitar, as well as the futuristic Jupiter Thunderbird guitar designed for Bo Diddley. And as the decade ended and a new one began, an event took place that changed the course of musical history. That was when, in 1960, a young British guitarist named George Harrison bought a used 1957 Gretsch Duo Jet guitar. He used that guitar on the earliest recordings and tours by his band, The Beatles.

Only four years later “Beatlemania” was born on The Ed Sullivan Show. George Harrison’s use of a Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentleman guitar ignited a frenzy for that model among aspiring guitarists. And, in yet another connection to German guitar manufacturing, Harrison’s bandmate Paul McCartney performed on a German-made Hofner “violin” bass . . . an instrument that has since become a Beatles icon.

The Fourth Gretsch Generation

In 1967 my uncle, Fred Gretsch, Jr. retired. At the same time he sold The Gretsch Company to the Baldwin Music Company. Over the next eighteen years instrument production facilities and sales offices were moved around the country. Guitar production was limited, and was ultimately shut down completely in 1980. During all that time, it was my fervent desire to return the company to Gretsch family ownership. I was able to achieve that goal in 1985, when I bought the Gretsch Company back from Baldwin.

Shortly after the reacquisition of the company, Gretsch guitar production was started up again. This was helped immeasurably by the resurgence a few years earlier of the rockabilly sound of Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats—a sound that depended largely on Brian’s classic hollow-body Gretsch electric guitar.  In 1988 there was another boost when George Harrison collaborated with Gretsch designers to produce the unique Traveling Wilburys collector guitar. By 1989 Gretsch guitar production had begun in earnest, with full professional lines of Gretsch electric and acoustic guitars.

From the early 1990s through today, Gretsch guitar innovation has continued. This innovation includes the introduction of the Brian Setzer signature model (1993), budget-priced Electromatic, Synchromatic, and Historic guitar lines (1998), the purchase of the Bigsby Accessory company and the re-introduction of the Bo Diddley rectangular signature guitar (1999), the Bo Diddley/Billy Gibbons Billy-Bo Jupiter Thunderbird guitar (2006), a reintroduced line of Chet Atkins models (2007), an Eddie Cochrane tribute model (2010), the George Harrison Tribute Duo-Jet (2011), and a Duane Eddy signature model (2012).

The Legacy Continues

I now represent the fourth generation of Gretsch Company ownership, dating back to my great-grandfather Friedrich. And when it comes to the subject of guitar manufacturing, I’m proud to represent not only my own family’s contributions, but also a legacy of craftsmanship and innovation brought to this country from Germany over 175 years ago.

For exclusive souvenirs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art Guitar Heroes exhibition please visit the following links:

Calendar

Postcards

Calendar & Postcard Set

Introducing the New Gretsch Roots Collection

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

From the Gretsch Guitars website:


Gretsch is very proud to take players on a musical journey through nearly a century of great Gretsch history by introducing its Roots Collection of acoustic instruments. This exciting new family of banjos, mandolins, resonator guitars and ukuleles feature classically authentic Gretsch designs that transport players to a bygone era well before rock ‘n’ roll blasted off in the 1950s.

The Collection:

Banjos -
The Gretsch Roots Collection’s five new banjo models feature solid modern craftsmanship and sparkling good-time sound and feel while authentically evoking the company’s innovative banjo models of the early 20th century. From the 5-string mahogany-neck Broadkaster® Deluxe and Broadkaster Special resonator models and Dixie open-back model to the diminutively striking Clarophone™ Banjo-Ukulele and the guitarist-friendly Dixie 6 Guitar-Banjo, all provide a splendid Southern surfeit of outstanding sound, performance and value for established artist, seasoned player and eager student alike.

Resonators -
Three remarkable Gretsch Ampli-Sonic™ resonator guitars add powerfully distinctive tone to the Roots Collection. The mahogany-body Boxcar™ Standard and Bobtail™ Deluxe each come in round-neck and square-neck models, and the round-neck Honey Dipper™ has a nickel-plated brass body. The heart of each richly resounding guitar is the new Gretsch Ampli-Sonic resonator cone, hand-spun in Eastern Europe from nearly 99-percent pure aluminum for fantastic volume and sonic projection.

Ukuleles -
At the request of Gretsch fans worldwide, the Roots Collection also presents half a dozen new Gretsch ukulele models. The uke is experiencing one if its phenomenal resurgences in popularity, once again bringing the lilting sounds of the South Sea islands to delighted ears everywhere, Gretsch’s three deluxe ukuleles—the Concert Deluxe, Tenor Deluxe and Tenor Cutaway Electric models—boast premium construction features such as quartersawn solid mahogany top, back and sides; one-piece mahogany necks and handsome semi-gloss finishes. The three standard ukes—the Soprano Standard, Concert Standard and Tenor Standard models—deliver laminated mahogany build and other fine features. All six new Gretsch ukuleles deliver great looks, smooth feel and wonderfully singing tone.

Mandolins -
The Roots Collection also heralds the return of the revered Gretsch New Yorker™ mandolin. Styled after the brightly ringing 1950s classic, a trio of modern—day models-the New Yorker Standard, New Yorker Deluxe and New Yorker Supreme—offer premium features with authentic vintage touches, full-bodied tone, smooth-playing performance and eye-catching design beauty.

For all the details including demo videos, visit the Gretsch Guitars website HERE.

Spotlight: Gretsch Rancher Acoustic Guitars

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

From the Gretsch Guitars website:

A great Gretsch name is back with the return of Rancher acoustic guitars. The richly resonant Rancher first appeared in the early 1950s with its highly distinctive triangular sound hole and sweepingly elegant pickguard, and Gretsch is now very proud to re-introduce the model. With a great new selection of body sizes, styles and features that combine the best of the guitar’s acclaimed past with the best in modern sound, strength, style and playability, Gretsch now gives you the best of all Ranchers.

The biggest and fullest-sounding Rancher is the G5022CE Rancher Jumbo Cutaway Electric, which produces great volume and broadly expansive tone complemented by its elegant Venetian cutaway for easy access to the fingerboard’s upper reaches and onboard electronics that let it be heard even more loudly and clearly. Premium features include a solid spruce top with scalloped X bracing and the traditional Gretsch Rancher triangular sound hole, flame maple back and sides, mahogany neck, 21-fret rosewood fingerboard with Neo-Classic™ thumbnail inlays, 1940s-style pickguard with Gretsch logo, compensated bridge with rosewood base, gold-plated hardware, deluxe die-cast tuners and a classic gloss Savannah Sunset finish. Onboard Fishman® electronics include a Sonicore under-saddle pickup and Isys+ preamp system with onboard tuner, battery life indicator and controls for volume, treble, bass and phase.

Pictured below:  G5022CE Rancher Jumbo Cutaway Electric.

Specs HERE.

G5022CE Rancher Jumbo Cutaway Electric

Enter HERE for your chance to win this guitar.  Enter until June 6, 2012.

For information on other Rancher models and other Gretsch acoustics, visit the Gretsch Guitars website.

Chet Atkins Exhibit Extended Through July 15!

Friday, April 13th, 2012

From the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum:

COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME® AND MUSEUM TO EXTEND ITS EXHIBITION CHET ATKINS: CERTIFIED GUITAR PLAYER THROUGH JULY 15, 2012

Upcoming Programs Include April 28 Interview with Jerry Bradley and May 5 Concert, Guitar Man: A Tribute to Jerry Reed

The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s special exhibition Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player, which was originally scheduled to close June 11, 2012, has been extended through July 15, 2012, museum officials announced.  The exhibit is being held over in part to accommodate members of the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society, who will visit Nashville in July; the extension also allows the museum to present additional public programs exploring the Hall of Fame member’s robust career and lasting influence.   Among the upcoming programming highlights are an April 28 interview with Jerry Bradley, and a May 5 concert saluting Jerry Reed.

On April 28, music executive Jerry Bradley will sit down with museum Senior Historian John Rumble for an interview at 1:30 p.m. in the museum’s Ford Theater. Bradley, son of Country Music Hall of Fame member Owen Bradley, learned record engineering and production from his father before working at RCA Records with Chet Atkins. First Atkins’ assistant then his successor, Bradley headed RCA Nashville from 1973–82. He signed Alabama and Ronnie Milsap, among others, and contributed greatly to the creation of country music’s ‘Outlaw’ movement. Bradley will discuss his career and the influence Atkins had on it.

On May 5, Guitar Man: A Tribute to Jerry Reed, a concert celebrating the music of Chet Atkins’ friend and collaborator, will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the museum’s Ford Theater. Jerry Reed was known for his innovative fingerstyle guitar playing; his catalog of boisterous country hits including “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” and “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)”; and his good-humored film roles (Smokey and the Bandit). Chet Atkins helped shepherd Reed’s career at RCA, recorded dozens of his musical compositions and gave him the coveted honorary designation certified guitar player (c.g.p.).  Thom Bresh, Craig Dobbins, John Knowles c.g.p., Brent Mason, Richard Smith, Mark Thornton, Darrell Toney and Sean Weaver, backed by a house band of Steve Bryant, Ric McClure and Matt Raum, will perform their favorite Reed tunes.

Both programs, offered as part of the special exhibition Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player, made possible through the generous support of the Gretsch Company with additional support provided by Great American Country Television Network, are included with museum admission and free to museum members. The Ford Theater offers limited seating. Museum ticket or membership does not guarantee entry to museum programs. Both programs will also be streamed live at www.countrymusichalloffame.org.

Chet Atkins:  Certified Guitar Player Upcoming Programs Schedule

All programs are included with museum admission and free to museum members, except as noted below.

Sunday, April 29, 1:00 p.m., CDT

Fingerstyle Guitar Demonstration: Pat Kirtley

Guitarist Pat Kirtley blends the musical heritage of Merle Travis and Chet Atkins with an eclectic and contemporary repertoire, in genres from bluegrass to Brazilian. Kirtley has won the title of U.S. National Fingerstyle Champion, and in 2006 he was inducted into the National Thumbpicking Hall of Fame.

Sunday, April 29, 2:00 p.m. CDT

Film Screening: Chet Atkins: Rare Performances 1976-1995 (FREE)

Saturday, May 12, 1:00 p.m. CDT

Family Program: Introduction to Thumbpick Guitar (FREE)

Learn to play guitar like Chet Atkins and Merle Travis. This hands-on workshop will teach the basics of thumbpick guitar. Led by versatile guitar player Sean Weaver, recipient of awards from Home of the Legends Thumbpickers Contest and the Jimi Hendrix Electric Guitar Competition. Guitars provided. Ages 6 to 18. No reservations required.

Sunday, May 13, 1:00 p.m. CDT

Fingerstyle Guitar Demonstration: Craig Dobbins

Craig Dobbins is an Alabama-based guitarist, writer, and composer. He has authored many books and recordings about fingerstyle guitar, and has contributed to Acoustic Guitar, Acoustic Guitar Workshop, Fingerstyle Guitar and Just Jazz Guitar magazines.

Saturday, May 19, 2:00 p.m. CDT

Community Outreach: Introduction to Thumbpick Guitar at Nashville Public Library, Goodlettsville Branch

205 Rivergate Parkway, Nashville, TN 37072. (615) 862-5862. Ages 13 to 19. No reservations required. Free.

Museum programs are made possible, in part, by grants from the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission and by an agreement between the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Accredited by the American Association of Museums, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is operated by the Country Music Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) educational organization chartered by the state of Tennessee in 1964. The museum’s mission is the preservation of the history of country and related vernacular music rooted in southern culture. With the same educational mission, the foundation also operates CMF Records, the museum’s Frist Library and Archive, CMF Press, Historic RCA Studio B and Hatch Show Print®.

More information about the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is available at www.countrymusichalloffame.org or by calling (615) 416-2001.

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.

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 2016, 2015, 2014…

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Some highlights so far in 2016:

Gretsch Day at Street Sounds NYC – 6/4/16

Street Sounds NYC presented Gretsch Day 2016 on Saturday, June 4! Guitar and swag giveaways; meet & greet with Fred & Dinah Gretsch, Joe Carducci, and Master Builder Stephen Stern; live music from a host of great Gretsch artists; and a whole lot more! A great time was had by all!

Twang-O-Rama Wildwood Guitars Style – 4/27/16

Wildwood Guitars celebrated with Gretsch at this family-friendly, free concert event at Lionsgate Event Center in Lafayette, Colorado, on April 27. Fred Gretsch, master builder Stephen Stern, and Joe Carducci were in attendance. Music was provided by Greg Koch.

The NAMM Show – 1/21 to 1/24/16

Members of the music community from around the globe gathered at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA from January 21 to 24, 2016 for the annual NAMM Show. Gretsch Guitars and Gretsch Drums showcased new and exciting products on Level 3, and Bigsby Vibratos and GretschGear were in their usual spot at booth #3540 in Hall D.

Highlights from 2015:

Bay Area World Guitar Show – 8/15 & 8/16/15

Bigsby Vibratos attended the Bay Area World Guitar Show at the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael, CA August 15 & 16. Read their after show report for all the details and photos too.

Summer Philly Guitar Show – 7/27 & 7/28

The Summer Philly Guitar Show took place at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center on June 27 and 28.  A special treat on exhibit this year was an original 1950s Bigsby mandolin. Check out the Bigsby wrap-up story with photos!

Gretsch Day at Street Sounds – 5/30/15

A special Gretsch Day event was held at Street Sounds in Brooklyn to help celebrate Fred Gretsch’s 50th year in the music business and was a huge success!! Thanks to Rocky and crew, Joe Carducci, Gretsch artists, and all who attended.  Read the recap.

Tacoma Guitar Festival – 5/17/15

Bigsby was at the Tacoma Dome on Sunday, May 17, for the very first Tacoma Guitar Festival. Doors opened at 9:30 a.m. to an eager crowd that had gathered outside and the exhibition hall welcomed a steady stream of visitors all day.

Lake Havasu Rockabilly Reunion – 2/13 to 2/15

The 7th Annual Lake Havasu Rockabilly Reunion took place from February 13 to 15 on the banks of Lake Havasu at the Lake Havasu State Park. Gretsch Guitars was once again a main entertainment sponsor. Some of the acts endorsed by or using Gretsch instruments scheduled to perform included: The Octanes, Cashd’ Out, The Chop Tops, Minor Strut, and The Booze Bombs.

Here are some highlights from 2014:

Christmas 4 Kids Benefit Concert & Guitar Auction – 11/24

The annual Charlie Daniels Band & Friends benefit concert in support of Christmas 4 Kids took place on Monday, November 24 at the historic Ryman Auditorium. Two Gretsch guitars were auctioned that evening!

Bigsby at Fall Philly Guitar  Show – 11/8 & 11/9

Bigsby was at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA on November 8 & 9 for the Bee-3 Vintage Great American Guitar Show (Fall Philly). Bigsby offered professional vibrato installs and pit-stop check-ups of Bigbsy-installed guitars for the last time in 2014.

Dinah & Fred Gretsch Receive Georgia Governor’s Award – 10/7

On Tuesday, October 7 Dinah & Fred Gretsch were honored as recipients of the third annual Georgia Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities during a ceremony at the Georgia State Capitol.

GuitArlington – 10/18 & 10/19

Bigsby once again exhibited at the “world’s largest consumer guitar event”–GuitArlington–in Arlington, TX October 18 & 19, 2014. Sharing space with TV Jones, the Bigsby booth was a don’t-miss stop during the show.

Nashville Drum Show – 9/20 & 9/21

The Nashville Drum show, the biggest drum show in the south, took place on September 20 & 21 at the State Fairgrounds in Nashville.  Fred Gretsch was in attendance and on Saturday at Noon, made a special presentation on the new Broadkaster line of drums! Check out some fun attendee photos taken during the show.

Brooklyn Walking Tour with Fred Gretsch – 7/30

Current President (and 4th generation family member) Fred Gretsch led an intimate walking tour through Brooklyn to tell personal stories about the family and the building sites where the instruments were made. The tour kicked off at Main Drag Music at 11:30 a.m. followed by “Gretsch Day” activities from 1:30-3:30.  And to top it off, another Gretsch Day took place at Steve Maxwell Drums later in the day.

Bigsby at Summer NAMM – 7/17 to 7/19

The 2014 show was the largest in six years with almost 450 exhibitors showcasing more than 1,500 brands.  Nearly 20 exhibitors showed Bigsby or Bigsby licensed vibratos on a total of 70 instruments.  A truly great show.

Bigsby at Summer Philly Guitar Show – 6/21 & 6/22

The Summer Great American Guitar Show took place in Philly June 21 & 22.  Bigsby was on hand to professionally install vibratos and perform pit-stop checks of Bigsby-equipped guitars brought in by attendees.  Visit the Bigsby site for the post-show report.

Abbey Road on the River – 5/22 to 5/28

At this year’s Abbey Road on the River festival in Louisville, Kentucky, Gretsch Guitars presented Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Sebatian on Saturday, May 24 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and on Sunday, May 25 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Canadian Music Week – 5/6 to 5/10

A special Spotlight on Germany took place on Wednesday, May 7 during 2014’s Canadian Music Week that included a meet & greet with Fred & Dinah Gretsch.

Dallas International Guitar Festival – 5/2 to 5/4

The Dallas International Guitar Festival took place from May 2 to 4 and attendees who took their Bigsby-equipped guitars along were able to get an 8-point pit-stop tune up done for free. Free professional installations of Bigsby Vibratos were also offered. And those purchasing a copy of The Story of Paul Bigsby got a FREE t-shirt!! Visit Bigsby.com for a post-show report.

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.