Gretsch Gen 6 Attends Guitar Summit in Mannheim, Germany
Note: Daniel is the great-great-great-grandson of Friedrich Gretsch, founder of the Gretsch Company who emigrated from Mannheim to the US in 1872 and began the company in 1883. Daniel is currently an intern at GEWA Music.
Over the weekend of the 8th of September, GEWA Music participated in the Guitar Summit in Mannheim, Germany. I was in attendance with GEWA to help with the booth. Unfortunately, I did not get to work with the Gretsch booth, of which I am part of the 6th generation, however I was impressed with their setup all the same. The Guitar Summit was in its first year, so information on it was scarce, however, the show was still a success. Just about every major guitar brand had been present at the Guitar Summit, and around 4,500 people visited the show. Each day offered a different level of interest and circulation.
We arrived on Thursday to set up the booth and observed the setup of the summit. The Guitar Summit was situated directly off the main street, next to one of the most famous landmarks in Mannheim, and was in an impressive conference center in the middle of the city. We noticed quickly that many of the big brand names were present–Fender, Gretsch, and Martin Guitars were all prominently displayed. The show was separated into three floors: electric guitars were on the first floor, amps and accessories were on the second, and acoustic guitars were on the third floor. Ample space for our booth was provided, so all our guitars were prominently displayed only a few meters from the acoustic stage. After the booth was set up we took in some of Mannheim.
Mannheim houses 315,000 people and is a bustling city with world renown schools and attractions. One of the most famous schools from Mannheim is the Pop-Academy, which is part of the reason that the Guitar Summit selected Mannheim to host the fair. The Pop-Academy is known for its music education and workshops, and music was at the heart of the Guitar Summit with many guitar players flocking to the conference center to try new guitars and listen to music. The influence of the Pop-Academy and the central location of Mannheim helped to make Mannheim a perfect city for the Guitar Summit.
Friday, the first day of the Guitar Summit, started off slowly. However, around midday and throughout the rest of Friday there was a constant stream of visitors coming by to observe and play some of the guitars that the show presented. Looking at the Gretsch booth one could easily see why Gretsch is one of the top tier guitars. They were beautifully displayed right at the entrance to the show. After the show had wrapped up the first day, two artists from GEWA arrived in Mannheim ready to perform at the Guitar Summit on Saturday and Sunday. One player, Ragnar Zolberg, plays a VGS guitar, while the other, Rob Marcello, plays an Ovation guitar. The artists were excited to perform alongside each other and spent the night preparing for their first performance the next day.
Saturday was the Guitar Summit’s largest day. Thousands of people came to the show the second day and I got to interact with many of them as they came through the GEWA Music booth. Throughout the day, there were times when all the booth space was taken up by guitar players playing different guitars. Around noon, Rob and Ragnar went on the acoustic stage and performed for approximately an hour. Rob and Ragnar were a hit, and after they completed their performance many people who had caught their performance came to the booth to try out the guitars that Rob and Ragnar had used on stage. This was the busiest that the booth was on all three days of the fair. The rest of the day saw a steady flow of people coming in and out of the booth. People tried the guitars, and many who came to the booth were excellent guitar players. One such visitor was a Russian YouTube star, Alexandr Misko, who briefly played a double neck guitar. His performance on the guitar drew a crowd because of his unique sound and his skill with the guitar. He played the double neck guitar expertly despite being left handed and thus playing the guitar upside down from what he is used to. It was an impressive showing, inspiring a lot of people to try the double neck guitar after Alexandr Misko was finished. Throughout the fair, the double neck guitar was one of the most popular guitars among visitors to our booth. The show on Saturday was slow to end after the stated end time of 18:00 as many visitors were reluctant to leave before they had tried all the guitars that they could. After the second day, the Guitar Summit hosted an after party for the vendors that had come to the show. At the party, some of the artists who had performed during the day performed again and showcased the talent present at the summit. The second day of the fair was an impressive success in the first year of the summit.
The Guitar Summit was a good time to learn about guitars and see the continued interest in music that has always been around. People came from all over to visit the fair and I got to witness some world class musicians during my time in Mannheim. I believe that the Summit had a successful first year and I believe that it will continue to grow from its big introduction.
— Daniel Gretsch