Gretsch News From NAMM: A Report On What’s Changing And What’s Not
Shortly after the turn of the new year it was announced that the license to manufacture and distribute Gretsch drums had been acquired by Drum Workshop. Not surprisingly, this set off a storm of rumor and speculation about the future of the brand and of the drums themselves.
In order to address the concerns of the drum community, a presentation for the music-industry press was held on Friday, January 23 at the NAMM musical instrument trade show in Anaheim, California. There, comments were offered by key figures from both companies, including DW founder Don Lombardi and Gretsch Company president Fred Gretsch.
Don was careful to stress the respect that he and everyone at DW shares for the legacy of Gretsch drums, as well as for the passion for quality displayed by the folks who make them at the Ridgeland, South Carolina factory. He stated unequivocally that there are no plans to make any changes to that manufacturing operation.
For his part, Fred Gretsch stated that throughout the 132 years of Gretsch history, the goal of the Gretsch Family has been to manufacture the best drums in the world, and today the family is pleased to have a new partner in that effort. He went on to note the strong parallels between Gretsch and DW, including that fact that, like Gretsch, DW is “a family-owned company run by people who have a genuine understanding of–and respect for–the art of top-quality custom drum manufacturing.”
Fred concluded by saying, “I’m confident that this new partnership will generate continued expansion of the world-wide market for Gretsch drums, while honoring the time-tested design and unique legacy that are so much a part of ‘That Great Gretsch Sound.'”
In addition to the press presentation, the continuity of Gretsch drum production was dramatically illustrated by a display of beautiful kits and snare drums. These included:
A new Broadkaster kit finished in Satin Copper Lacquer.
A Brooklyn Classic configuration in Satin Dark Ebony.
A flagship USA Custom kit finished in Dark Walnut Gloss.
A kit from the new Renown Walnut series, in natural gloss. It features 6-ply walnut-maple-walnut shells.
Wood Burned Snare Drums developed in conjunction with drum star Matt Sorum and hand-crafted by artist Mathieu Jean.