gretschIn 1872, Friedrich Gretsch emigrated from Germany and came to the US. In 1883, he founded a small shop in Brooklyn and set up his musical instrument business. Unfortunately, he died in 1895 before he got a chance to see his success bloom. The business was left in the hands of his teenage son, Fred Sr., who was still in school.

Two decades after he had assumed the business, Fred Gretsch, Sr. moved the operation to a huge 10 story building in Brooklyn, New York. In the next few years, Fred Sr.’s son, Fred Jr. took over the business.

In 1942, soon after taking over, Fred Gretsch Jr. went off to serve in WWII. His sons, Fred, Jr. and Bill, who had both been active in the business since 1927, were well prepared to assume leadership. So, Fred Gretsch Sr. handed over the business to his son, Fred.

In 1967, the Gretsch Company was sold to Baldwin, and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1972, but young Fred Gretsch vowed to return the company to the family. It wasn’t until eighteen years later when the great- grandson of Friedrich Gretsch made good on his vow, and The Gretsch Company became family owned once again.

As Fred Gretsch, Jr. briefly led the company before going off to serve as a commander in the Navy, his younger brother, Bill Gretsch, became president. Bill also led the company only briefly until his son, Fred took over the business in 1985.

Today, the Gretsch Company’s drums are manufactured in Ridgeland, South Carolina.

The Official Gretsch Website


Some of the most notable drummers that play, or have played, Gretsch:
Brad Wilk – Audioslave, Rage Against the Machine
Charlie Watts – Rolling Stones
Debbi Peterson – The Bangles
Micky Dolenz – Monkees
Phil Collins – Genesis
Steve Ferrone – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Taylor Hawkins – Foo Fighters

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