Posts Tagged ‘Gretsch’

Gretsch Celebrates Its Heritage at Elmhurst Jazz Festival

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Gretsch drums have enjoyed an inseparable link with jazz music for generations. Jazz drumming greats of the past—including Tony Williams, Max Roach, Art Blakey, and Elvin Jones—made their reputations on Gretsch drums. Likewise, contemporary jazz stars like Bill Stewart, Cindy Blackman-Santana, and Keith Carlock find their musical expression through That Great Gretsch Sound.

In addition to the legacy of the past and present, Gretsch is also keenly concerned with the future of jazz. In an effort to promote that future, Gretsch Drums and the Gretsch Family recently lent instrumental and financial support to the 45th annual Elmhurst College Jazz Festival. Elmhurst is the alma mater of current Gretsch Company president Fred W. Gretsch, and the Gretsch Family has a long history of philanthropic support of college activities.

The Elmhurst College Jazz Festival

Each February, the best college jazz bands in the country converge on Elmhurst’s Chicago-suburb campus for three days of performances and education. The bands take turns performing for some of the greatest names in professional jazz today, who offer critiques and award a variety of honors. The professionals cap off each night of the Festival with a rousing performance of their own. The list of performers and adjudicators at this year’s festival included the Jeff Hamilton Trio, Elmhurst College Jazz Faculty member Mark Colby, Denis DiBlasio, Frank Greene, the Elmhurst College Jazz Band, the North Texas State University One O’clock Jazz Band, and The Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.

One of the many combos that performed during the four-day Jazz Festival.

As a tangible expression of Gretsch’s support for jazz education, all of the performance stages at the Elmhurst Festival were supplied with professional-quality Gretsch drum sets. So in addition to gaining the wisdom imparted by the Festival’s artist/clinicians, students got to experience for themselves the musical joy that only comes from performing on a Gretsch kit.

Taking Support To The High School Level

Gretsch’s support of the Elmhurst Festival didn’t stop at the college-band level. After a Festival hiatus of more than twenty years, a full day was devoted to the Elmhurst College High School Invitational Jazz Festival. This clinic/performance program for high school jazz bands was underwritten by a generous grant from the Sylvia & William W. Gretsch Memorial Foundation (named for the parents of Fred W. Gretsch).

The participating bands came from across Illinois.  They included York High School, Wheeling High School, Hersey High School, St. Charles North High School, and Champaign Central High School. Each was given forty minutes total stage time:  twenty minutes of performance and twenty minutes to work with the judges in a clinic-style setting.  All bands were in the audience listening when not warming up. As a result, each band had the benefit of hearing not only their comments from the judges, but also critiques from three other sessions. Most importantly, the students had the great fortune to perform for and work with some of the greatest American musicians of our time:  Jeff Hamilton (drums), Tamir Hendelman (piano), and Christoph Luty (bass).  The experience will surely have a lasting impact on their musical lives.

Jeff Hamilton and Mark Colby address the St. Charles North Jazz Ensemble while the Jeff Hamilton Trio members look on before addressing the group.

Outstanding musician awards were given by the judges, and each band director was given comment sheets to review with their band members.  At the end of the afternoon, the students were treated to a concert by the three judges and the Elmhurst College Jazz Band.  They also received wristbands that allowed them entry to the rest of the college performances as well as the Friday-evening performance of the Jeff Hamilton Trio with the Elmhurst College Jazz Band.  This was a perfect opportunity for budding high school musicians to experience music from up to thirty-seven different college groups from all around the United States.

Response from the high school band directors was universally positive, leading the organizers of the Elmhurst College Jazz Festival to plan on adding the High School Festival day to the overall program for the future. Said Elmhurst College music department chairman Pete Griffin, “We look forward to many years of touching teenagers through music and inspiring them to continue on their educational journey with jazz.”

The Gretsch Foundation—and the Gretsch Family—is proud to help those teenagers on that musical journey by supporting the Elmhurst College High School Invitational Jazz Festival. That support is a tangible illustration of the Gretsch Family’s mission statement, which is to “enrich lives through participation in music.”

Photo above:  Participating directors and Doug Beach in front of one of the Gretsch sets used at the Festival.  From left to right: Scott Casagrande (Hersey High School; Arlington Heights), Bill Riddle (York High School; Elmhurst), Doug Beach (Elmhurst College), Jim Stombres and John Wojciechowski (St. Charles North High School; St. Charles), John Currey (Champaign Central High School; Champaign), (seated) Brian Logan (Wheeling High School; Wheeling).

For more information on Elmhurst College and the Jazz Festival, visit their website.

For more information on The Gretsch Foundation, click here.

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.

Chet Atkins: CGP Exhibit Presents New Programs in March

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Update:

Check the Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player Programming Calendar page for the latest special programs added in March.

RECENTLY FROM THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM:

COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME® AND MUSEUM TO CELEBRATE THE LEGACY OF CHET ATKINS WITH TWO MARCH PROGRAMS

Programs are in support of the exhibition Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player, Made Possible Through the Generous Support of the Gretsch Company

NASHVILLE, Tenn., February 23, 2012 – The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will present two special programs next month in support of the exhibition Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player.

On March 3, The Life and Times of Chet Atkins by Dr. Richard Hood will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the museum’s Ford Theater. Dr. Hood, a Chet Atkins scholar and finger-style guitarist, will trace Atkins’ life from his rural childhood to his career as a legendary guitarist and producer.  Ben Hall and Eddie Pennington, both winners of the National Thumbpicking Championship, will perform selections from the Chet Atkins catalog. Pennington will also present a thumbpick guitar demonstration on March 4, at 1:00 p.m. in the museum’s SunTrust Community Room.

On March 17, Chet Atkins at Studio B, a panel discussion featuring some of Atkins’ closest associates, will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the museum’s Ford Theater. RCA crossover artists Bobby Bare (“Detroit City”) and Jim Ed Brown (“The Three Bells”), background singer Delores Dinning Edgin, studio guitarist Ray Edenton, and hit songwriter John D. Loudermilk (“Abilene”) will share stories of their work with Atkins, providing insights into what made him one of country music’s most successful producers of all time. The program will be streamed live at www.countrymusichalloffame.org.

Following the panel discussion, museum staffer Ben Hall will present The House That Chet Built: A Chet Atkins Tour of Historic RCA Studio B. This unique guided tour will show how Atkins worked in his longtime recording home, logging many hours as a musician and a producer, and cutting records that helped define the classic Nashville Sound.

The Life and Times of Chet Atkins, the guitar demonstration and Chet Atkins at Studio B are included with museum admission and are free for museum members.

Tickets for The House That Chet Built: A Chet Atkins Tour of Historic RCA Studio B can be purchased as an add-on to museum admission or for $9 for museum members. Reservations are required, and seating is limited. The shuttle departs from the museum promptly at 3:30 p.m. For information call 615-416-2001.

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.


Fred & Joe Show Visit Blues Angel Music

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

>>UPDATE: MUSIC TRADES APRIL 2012 ISSUE–STORY ON BLUES ANGEL MUSIC GRAND OPENING<<

Click HERE to read the story online.

The above images are of portions of pages from the April 2012 edition of The Music Trades, published by The Music Trades Corporation, Englewood,  NJ 07631, http://www.musictrades.com/index.html.

Original Story and Update #1 Here:

>>UPDATE:  POST-EVENT PHOTOS ADDED BELOW!!<<

The Fred & Joe Show will be making 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 will take 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 replaces its previous location at 3733 West Navy Blvd., and boasts modern retail, music lesson, and musical instruments and electronics repair space.

In addition to the Fred & Joe Show featuring a multi-media presentation by Gretsch Company president, Fred Gretsch, and Joe Carducci, Gretsch product specialist, the event will feature continuous musical performances. A special exhibit paying tribute to George Harrison will also be on display and Gretsch Girl Kim Falcon will be on hand to autograph her new poster.

Entrance to the event is free of cost and raffle tickets are available in-store throughout the month of February for a minimal cost of $2. World class, fine instruments will be up for grabs, including a Gretsch George Harrison Signature Duo Jet valued at $5,000. All proceeds of the event will benefit the Red Cross and the USO.

For more information, visit the Blues Angel website.

>>EVENT PHOTOS:<<

Gretsch Wall at Blues Angel Music New Location

Grand Opening Draws 1K+. Photo: Phil Short.

Fred Gretsch Busily Signs Autographs. Photo: Phil Short.

Formal Portion of the Day. Photo: Phil Short.

Fred & Joe Show Presentation. Photo: Phil Short.

Gretsch Introduces New Brooklyn Series

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

From the Gretsch Drums Website:

Gretsch drums were born in Brooklyn, New York in 1883. They were proudly crafted in the vibrant city for the better part of the 20th Century. Brooklyn and Gretsch share an inseparable history that is part of American music history and folklore. It is a shared legacy that cannot be duplicated. Today, Brooklyn represents a renaissance community that vibrates with contemporary artistic expression, youthful innovation and passionate musical commitment. Gretsch Brooklyn series celebrates the rejuvenated Brooklyn city passion and spirit and expands on its distinctive shared American experience.

Gretsch Brooklyn Series

Sound

Rooted in classic Gretsch design, Brooklyn delivers vintage Gretsch tones that are full, punchy and warm. These classic tones are modified by the 6-ply North American maple/ poplar shells and “302″ hoops. Innovative specs drive a new Gretsch tonal characteristic that is slightly more open and ambient. Brooklyn drums sound like classic Gretsch drums, but speak with their own sonic personality.
The Shells

All Brooklyn drums feature 6-ply North American maple/ poplar shells. Toms are .220″ thick and snare and bass drums shells are .310″ thick, slightly thicker than standard USA Custom shells. All shells have the proprietary Gretsch 30-degree bearing edge. Shell interiors are finished with classic Gretsch Silver Sealer. Each shell comes with a distinctive Brooklyn internal shell label that contains drum shell model number and serial number.

The Hardware

Brooklyn toms and snares come fitted on batter and resonant side with the new Gretsch “302″ hoop. At 3mm thick and double-flanged, it is reminiscent of hoops used by Gretsch up until the mid 1950’s. The 302 hoop has the same height profile as the classic Gretsch die-cast hoop to provide a playing experience that feels the same as traditional Gretsch USA Custom drums. All other drum hardware components – lugs, claws, brackets, spurs, etc – are the same that is used on Gretsch USA Custom.

Snare Drum

Gretsch Brooklyn series metal snare drums add another professional and distinctive voice to the Gretsch snare line up. The straight-sided chrome over brass shell (with Gretsch center knurl pattern) is offered in two sizes, 5×14 (8 lug) and 6.5×14 (10 lug). Also offered is hammered chrome over brass shell in 6.5×14 (10 lug). All shells include Gretsch “302″ 3mm/double-flanged hoops, Lightning throw off and butt plate, “Snap-in” drum key holder, 20-strand snare wire and Gretsch Permatone drum heads. The brass shells resonate with classic, musical tones and are extremely versatile. The “302″ hoops provide a timbre that is more open and ambient than traditional Gretsch die-cast hoops.

The Badge

The return to Brooklyn means a return to a Round Badge. The Brooklyn Round Badge has a black/pewter color scheme with classic embossed Gretsch design.

The Finishes

Satin Finish Colrs: Mahogany (SM), Dark Ebony (SDE), Tobasco (ST), Emerald Green (SEG)
Nitron (Wrap) Finish Colors: Vintage Cream Oyster (CO), Smoke Grey Oyster (GO), Ruby Red Oyster (RO), Royal Blue Oyster (BO)

Brooklyn Series Colors

Series Specs

Shell: Gretsch Maple/American Poplar 6-Ply
Bearing Edge: Gretsch Style 30-degree
Hardware: USA Custom drum hardware in chrome
Shell Interior: Gretsch Silver Sealer with serialized Brooklyn shell label
Hoops: “302″ double-flanged 3.0mm
Badges: Brooklyn Round Badge
Configurations: 6 total configurations
Finishes: 4 Satin, 4 Nitron
BD Hoops/Satin: Maple hoops finished in satin natural
BD Hoops/Nitron: Maple hoops finished in satin black with matching inlay
Drum Heads: Gretsch Permatone by Remo

Brooklyn Metal Snare Drums

Shell: Rolled 1.1mm brass with center knurl pattern or 1.1mm hammered brass
Finish: Chrome with chrome hardware
Hoops: Gretsch “302″ 3mm, double flanged
Throw-off: Lighting Throw-off / Butt plate
Snare Wires: 20 Strand
Heads: Permatone coated batter with white sound dot and clear snare-side heads
Features: Snap-in key holder

For all the details and more photos, please visit the GretschDrums website.

Chet Atkins: The Lasting Influence of “Mr. Guitar”

Monday, December 19th, 2011

The Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player exhibition which opened in August 2011 continues into the summer of 2012. Located in the East Gallery of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee, the exhibit pays tribute to one of country music’s most versatile and visionary artists.

Ten years after Chet’s death in June of 2001, interest in him has not faded in the least.  One only needs to see all that is blogged, tweeted, and otherwise posted about him on a daily basis.  Here are a couple recent examples:

“Chet Atkins: The Lasting Influence of ‘Mr. Guitar’” by Craig Havighurst.  Excerpt:

“It’s not that there weren’t solo guitar players before him — but there weren’t that many. Chet took solo guitar to everybody.

Even to this day, young devotees are embracing Atkins’ style. Ben Hall, a 22-year-old from Okolona, Miss., showcased at this year’s convention. Hall uses the tricky right-hand technique that Atkins adopted from Kentuckian Merle Travis and refined in the 1940s and ’50s.

‘It revolves around a bass note,’ Hall says. ‘The fingers … Merle used one, Chet thought Merle was using two. So he used two and three and sometimes a handful of fingers. They play the melody. And there’s famous stories of so many great guitar players along the way who play other styles listening to this and saying, ‘I had no idea that’s one instrument.’ ”

Read the entire story here.

December 2011 issue of Premier Guitar magazine, “Chet Atkins: Country Gentleman,” also by Craig Havighurst.  Excerpt:

“Refinement. It’s a word we’ve come to associate (sometimes incorrectly) with luxury brands and upscale dining. Musically, maybe the term conjures up a string quartet. It’s not what you see emblazoned on welcome signs to little Appalachian Mountain towns like Luttrell, Tennessee.

But to properly consider the career of Chester Burton Atkins, native son of said mountain town, the true meaning of refinement (‘to make improvement by introducing subtleties or distinctions,’ says Webster) could prove more than a little useful. Chet’s not the only small-town kid to become a major-league musician, cultural force, and executive, though few have achieved so much with such humility. But on the guitar, where nails meet strings, Chet stands pretty much alone.”

Read the entire story here.

Chet Atkins Exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Photo by Donn Jones Photography.

Dinah & Fred Gretsch Honored At Georgia Family Business Gala

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Dinah & Fred Gretsch (president and CFO of Savannah’s Gretsch Company respectively) were recently honored at the Georgia Family Business of the Year Awards 20th Anniversary gala. The event was held November 29 at the Cobb Galleria Center of the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly hotel in Atlanta, Georgia.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the awards, notable former honorees were invited to the gala to receive special recognition plaques. This included the Gretsches, who were the recipients of the Cox Century Award in 2007 as part of the Georgia Family Business of the Year program.

The Cox Century Award award recognizes companies that are one hundred years old or more. The Gretsch Company was chosen because of its 129-year history as a family-owned operation, its importance within the worldwide music industry, and its contributions to the Georgia business community. Since receiving the award the Gretsch Company has proudly displayed the Century Award logo on its business correspondence.

For more information on the Cox Family Enterprise Center, visit their website.

Christmas 4 Kids Concert & Gretsch Guitar Auction

Monday, December 5th, 2011

From the Christmas 4 Kids Organizers:

Santa & Mrs. Claus and the Gretsches pictured with a Gretsch Country Gentleman guitar.

This year was the 10th Anniversary of the Charlie Daniels and Friends Concert benefiting Christmas 4 Kids (C4K).  The concert was held on Monday, November 21 at The Ryman Auditorium and was the 10th consecutive sellout event.  With so much to celebrate, the Gretsches sent another amazing guitar to be auctioned off.  This year’s guitar has previously been exhibited at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon, Georgia, as well as at the Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta Airport in a Georgia Music Hall of Fame exhibit.  It has been photographed extensively and admired by musicians and the public alike.

The winning bid went to the Erickson family from Des Moines, Iowa.  They were on their way to spend Thanksgiving with their family and heard about the C4K concert on a Nashville event calendar.  Being avid country music fans, they decided to stop; however, the concert was sold out.  As they were discussing what to do, a gentleman overheard them and offered his tickets to the Ericksons.  Mr. Erickson offered to pay him, but the man said, “Go and enjoy – in the end, it’s all for the kids.”

Cole Erickson happily accepting his family's new Gretsch Guitar.

The Ericksons placed the first bid on the guitar and as the bidding was about to close, checked their status on the list and saw that someone had bid higher than they had.  So, at the last minute, they placed the winning bid.  Fred and Dinah Gretsch presented the Erickson’s son, Cole, with the prized guitar on the Ryman stage.  Clearly, an event this young man won’t forget.  Needless to say, the Ericksons have said that the Christmas 4 Kids concert is going to be a new annual Thanksgiving tradition for the family.

C4K wants to extend their deepest gratitude for the support that the Gretsch Foundation continues to show through their donation of guitars for the concert auctions.  Most importantly, Christmas 4 Kids appreciates Fred and Dinah Gretsch’s personal commitment to the children and their valued friendship.

For more information on Christmas 4 Kids, please visit their website.

For more information on the Gretsch Foundation, click here.