Summer NAMM Session – Gretsch Celebrates 125 Years
Nashville, TN June 20-22, 2008
After a 3 year absence the Summer NAMM Show returned to Music City USA. Nashville feels like the rightful host for Summer NAMM. Where else can you get so much music and history. The 3-day event was again held in the Nashville Convention Center in the heart of downtown, just across the street from the Ryman Auditorium — historic home of the Grand ole Opry. NAMM reported a 36 percent increase in show registrants as compared to last year’s show in Austin. As always, the Gretsch Company was there to exhibit throughout the Convention Center.
This Summer NAMM Show was another chance to celebrate the 125th year of the family business that began building instruments from a small Brooklyn shop in 1883. Gretsch hosted a 125th Anniversary party in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Guests invited to this special gathering were treated to a private tour of the museum, cocktail party, dinner, and live music throughout the hall. The evening was topped off with a beautiful and delicious butter-cream ceremonial cake and a few encouraging words from both Fred and Dinah Gretsch. Surrounded by family, both vowed to continue the legacy of That Great Gretsch Sound for another 125 years.
Gretsch Guitars are always a product of big interest at every show. This year was no exception. Dealers got to see 2 new models for the Summer which include the limited “Knotty Pine Roundup” and the custom “Billy Zoom Silver Jet”. The limited Roundup is a re-creation of the highly sought-after Brooklyn era Gretsch Roundup guitar. It features a genuine knotty pine top with leather side trim, a gold plated western buckle tailpiece, and a traditional engraved G brand in the top. Billy Zoom was on hand to sign autographs and demo his namesake guitar which is an exact custom shop replica Silver Jet of the late ’50’s. The professional line of guitars were on display as was the complete line of point-to-point wired Gretsch Amps. Sweet!
Gretsch Drums were represented on the main floor showcasing the new drums for 2008 including the gorgeous 125th Edition Gretsch “Rock Legend” kit that was on display. This Custom Drum Kit features USA 6-ply shells, vintage rock sizes, and a millennium maple finish. In celebration of America’s oldest and most historic drum company, Gretsch Drums has also manufactured limited snares which include the “Curly Maple” and “Silver Mist” snares. All 125th Anniversary snares and kits are limited to a production of just 125 each — if you remember the 120th kits were scooped-up in just a few days. Orders were taken for these virtual “time-pieces” as well as the full line of Gretsch Drums.
Gretsch Gear and the full line of Bigsby Vibrato systems shared a space at Summer NAMM. Our Bigsby guitar tech was on call to demonstrate the installation of the worlds best vibrato … Bigsby! Bigsby apparel and all Gretsch accessories served as decor for the popular booth space located in area 700. New 125th T-shirts, polo shirts, and work apparel was there for the many Gretsch enthusiasts to see and order. Thom Bresh came by for a special visit. He brought the new Martin Merle Travis guitar with a custom Bigsby neck for display in the booth. This instrument is a replica of his father’s famous Bigsby/Martin guitar. As we know, it was one of 3 or 4 prototype instruments made so far. Nice!