Gretsch has announced the release of a new lineup of banjos, mandolins, resonators and guitars in its 2014 Roots Collection. This eclectic family of instruments transports players to a bygone era.
Gretsch started taking shape more than 120 years ago. It all began in 1883 in Brooklyn, New York, when 27-year-old German immigrant Friedrich Gretsch founded a small musical instrument shop to make banjos, drums and tambourines.
Gretsch began making archtop and flat-top acoustic guitars in the 1930s and introduced the company’s first Spanish electric model in 1939.
Fred Gretsch retired in 1942, and third son William served as company president until his (also untimely) death in 1948. Company treasurer Fred Gretsch Jr. then took over, leading Gretsch through its ’50s and ’60s heyday.
Gretsch flourished in the rock and roll ’50s by offering many space-age guitar gadgets and becoming the first guitar maker to offer custom color finishes. Sales rocketed and players rocked—high-profile endorsers like Chet Atkins (the man behind a series of famous Gretsch models), Eddie Cochran and Duane Eddy were all seen with their cool, great-sounding Gretsch guitars.
The ’60s heralded a second Gretsch golden age—Beatle George Harrison played several models, as did other talented British Invasion musicians, including the Rolling Stones’ Brian Jones, the Yardbirds’ Eric Clapton and the Who’s Pete Townshend.
Gretsch guitars are still unrivaled as the rockabilly guitars. And these new instruments carry on the colorful Gretsch tradition. We’ll check one or two of these beauties out soon and report back! Check out the Gretsch gallery below, and find out more at gretschguitars.com.