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125 Years of Great Gretsch Sound

If you mention the name ‘Gretsch’ to a musician they will automatically think of some of the best guitars and drums in the industry. That is because the Gretsch Company name has become synonymous with great quality instruments. It is a reputation that has been carefully earned during the course of the company’s 125 years – a reputation that is well-deserved.

The Gretsch Company was founded in 1883 as a small musical instrument shop located in Brooklyn, N.Y. The founder, a German immigrant by the name of Friedrich Gretsch, originally made banjos, tambourines and other instruments. While his instruments were popular, his company got a major boost in the 1950s and 1960s with the arrival of rock-n-roll. It was at this time that the company attracted the interest of famous endorsers such as George Harrison, Charlie Watts and Bo Diddley. Over the 125 years of its history, the company has been passed down in the family from one generation to the next. There was a short 18-year period when it was sold to the Baldwin Music Company in 1967 but, without the family commitment, the company soon faltered and was later bought back by the company’s current president, Fred W. Gretsch. And that is how one small musical instrument shop was able to slowly grow into the mega-empire it is today.

Currently based in Savannah, Georgia, the Gretsch Company has been producing some of the world’s greatest hand-crafted, quality drums and guitars for just over a century. Gretsch has been at the forefront of the industry, inventing new designs and pioneering new manufacturing techniques. Its dedication to the music industry and interest in professional musicians has resulted in the Gretsch Company enjoying the endorsement of several major musicians. These include the likes of Chet Atkins, Neil Young, Charlie Watts and Phil Collins. Gretsch is also the name behind such popular musical products as Bigsby® Vibratos and Sho-Bud® Pedal Steel Guitars. It further has connections with Kaman and Fender and so it is seen in virtually every facet of the music industry across the globe.

2008 marks the 125th anniversary of the Gretsch Company. The Company plans to celebrate this auspicious occasion in a number of different ways. For starters, it will be introducing a line of limited edition anniversary drums and guitars, as well as some other Gretsch products. It will also be hosting a major concert event in the city of New York, which will feature an excellent line-up of artists who have used and endorsed Gretsch instruments over the years. Budding young talents have not been overlooked and the Gretsch Company plans to hold an online search for the world’s best unsigned artists. It will call this competition the ‘Next Gretsch Greats’.

In the meantime Gretsch will continue to set an industry standard in manufacturing high quality drums and guitars that are capable producing outstanding sound. They will also continue to award scholarships, donate guitars and find other ways to give back to the community. As CFO Dinah Gretsch remarked, the company looks forward to “an exciting future creating that great Gretsch sound.”

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