Highlights Of The 2012 NAMM Show
February 08, 2012
The 2012 NAMM musical-instrument show was held this past January 19 through 22 at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. For those who might not know, this annual event is America’s largest trade show for the display of musical instruments and accessories. Manufacturers from all over the world come to show their wares, and show-goers by the thousands come to see, hear—and, hopefully play—all those new goodies.
I’m happy to say that Gretsch Drums were a major source of excitement, with plenty of new products on display. And I had the pleasure of being joined by other members of the Gretsch family to meet with Gretsch fans and to generally lend a personal touch to all of the Gretsch-related activities.
Gretsch Drums On Display
This year’s NAMM show was a major event for Gretsch Drums, with plenty of great new gear to showcase. And at the top of the list was the launch of the new Brooklyn Series. Made in Gretsch’s US factory, this new series is a tribute to the city in which my great-grandfather, Friederich Gretsch, started the company back in 1883.
Among the beautiful new Brooklyn series kits on display in the Gretsch booth was a classic five-piece configuration with a Smoke Grey Oyster Nitron wrap. The drums feature Gretsch maple/poplar shells with classic 30-degree bearing edges and the legendary Silver Sealer on their insides. Toms and snares come fitted with new “302” model 3mm double-flanged hoops, which are reminiscent of hoops used by Gretsch up until the mid-1950s. These hoops have the same height profile as the classic Gretsch die-cast hoop in order to provide a playing experience that feels the same as traditional Gretsch USA Custom drums. All other drum hardware components—including lugs, claws, brackets, and spurs—are the same as those used on USA Custom kits. And perhaps best of all for Gretsch “purists,” the return to Brooklyn means a return to a round badge. The Brooklyn Round Badge has a black/pewter color scheme with a classic embossed Gretsch design.
This bevy of beautiful snare drums on display included one wood-shell and three metal-shell Brooklyn Series models, along with two brand-new Brushed Brass snares that feature a hand-brushed finish that creates a distinctive two-toned vintage patina effect.
This just-for-fun monster setup showcases a Gretsch USA Custom kit with a Chrome Nitron finish mounted on an ultra-customized Gibraltar rack.
Gretsch Friends And Family
Besides all the great drums on display, the Gretsch booth was also the place to meet and greet some great Gretsch drummers. These included New Orleans specialist Stanton Moore, and Enrique Iglesias’ Van Romaine.
My wife Dinah and I consider Gretsch artists to be “part of the family.” So it was a family gathering when touring and studio star Stephen Ferrone stopped by the drum exhibit to sign autographs for show-goers, and to visit with Dinah and sixth-generation family members Will (left) and Rane Gretsch.
Part of the fun of a NAMM show is the opportunity to socialize with our friends and colleagues in the music industry. Before the start of the show on Friday, January 20, I had a special treat—a chance to share a convivial breakfast with Robert Zildjian and his wife, Willi. After working for many years in the family business that bears his name, Bob Zildjian left in the early 1980s to found his own company: Sabian Cymbals. Bob and I both have several generations of business as well as family history behind us, so we enjoyed swapping stories at breakfast.
A Celebration Of 129 Years
There’s nothing like an anniversary to inspire a celebration. So, to mark the 129th year of business for Gretsch, Dinah and I were pleased to invite a group of family, friends, artists, and business partners to a dinner party on Saturday, January 21. We got together at the Jazz Kitchen restaurant within the Downtown Disney complex in Anaheim.
This dinner party gave Dinah and me the chance to toast everyone in attendance, and to thank them for helping to make Gretsch an ongoing success. As I told our guests, between my forty-seven years in the music business and Dinah’s thirty-three, it adds up to eighty years of experience…during which time we’ve partnered with the best. And speaking of the best, our guests included some of the world’s best drummers: Mark Schulman, Stephen Ferrone, and Alvino Bennett.
Toward the end of the evening Dinah expressed her feelings about what has made—and will continue to make—Gretsch a success. “We need youth and passion to continue the business for the next hundred years,” she said. “It’s all about passion for what we do.”