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Brian Setzer Donates Gretsch Guitar to the Smithsonian

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Brian Setzer

Grammy Award-winning musician Brian Setzer donated his signature orange Gretsch guitar to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History during a ceremony on Oct. 17.

The replica guitar is evocative of Setzer’s original 1959 Gretsch 6120 “Stray Cat” guitar, for which he raided his Monopoly game for two dice, drilled holes in them and attached them to take the place of the missing tone knobs. To help resemble a 1950s-era “hot rod,” Setzer added three decals that, in the replica, were duplicated by Gretsch.

The Gretsch signature artist  is known for continually taking chances with innovative and daring musical styles, while single-handedly resurrecting two forgotten genres of music, first with 1980s rockabilly band the Stray Cats and then again in the late 1990s with his 18-piece “Rockin’ Big Band,” The Brian Setzer Orchestra. Setzer also appeared on the big screen in the 1987 Ritchie Valens biographical film La Bamba, portraying rockabilly pioneer Eddie Cochran.

“Brian Setzer is a prolific and distinctive contributor to American music,” said John Edward Hasse, the museum’s curator of American music. “Proof of his legacy exists not only in the longevity of his career and in his lengthy discography, but also in his ability to cross musical boundaries.”

In 1982, Setzer released “Rock This Town,” his first single with the Stray Cats and a track on which he played a 1959 Gretsch 6120 model guitar. As the guitar aged, it began to fall apart. Gretsch Custom Shop Master Builder Stephen Stern replicated every detail of the original guitar, and when he presented it to Setzer, the rockabilly star found it to be virtually indistinguishable from his original. It is the 2006 replica that is now in the museum’s collection.

“What an honor it is to be in the Smithsonian just for playing the music that I love,” said Setzer. “Maybe in a hundred years people will look at my guitar and be inspired to play it and enjoy it the way I do.”

Setzer’s guitar joins a large and diverse collection of musical instruments at the museum that includes Joh

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Posted In: Artists Blogs, Home Page

Chicago Music Exchange Demos a 1955 Gretsch Duo Jet

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The folks at Chicago Music Exchange recently checked out an amazing 1955 Gretsch Duo Jet that was originally purchased by Ben Harper.

To see and hear what this vintage guitar can do, watch the demo below.

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Posted In: Product Updates & Reviews

Guitar World Demos the G6128T-1962 Duo Jet

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Paul Riario of Guitar World recently got his hands on a Gretsch G6128T-1962 Duo Jet and gave it a very positive review.

“This is just a gorgeous and elegant guitar,” he noted.

Riario went through all of the features of the classic solid-body guitar, and also played it to showcase the tone.

“With just a couple of tweaks, this guitar plays incredibly and has a focused sound. Definitely check it out,” Riario concluded.

Check out the full demo below.

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Posted In: Home Page, Product Updates & Reviews

Watch Temples Perform for KUTX Live

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During this year’s ACL Fest in Austin, UK psych quartet Temples also participated in KUTX Live event at the Four Seasons Hotel.

Watch the band perform “Sun Structures” below.

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Posted In: Artists Blogs, Home Page

Fred and Dinah Gretsch Receive Georgia Governor’s Award

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Governor Nathan Deal, Dinah and Fred Gretsch and Sandra Deal

Governor Nathan Deal, Dinah and Fred Gretsch and Sandra Deal

Earlier this week, Fred and Dinah Gretsch (president and CFO, respectively, of The Gretsch Company) were honored as recipients of the third annual Governor’s Awards for the Arts and Humanities.

Presented by the Office of The Governor in partnership with the Georgia Council for the Arts and the Georgia Humanities Council, the award recognized the Gretsches for their significant contributions to Georgia’s civic and cultural vitality through service to the humanities or excellence in the arts. The awards program was held at the Georgia State Capitol in Atlanta.

“It was a special pleasure to meet with first lady Sandra Deal,” said Fred Gretsch. “She has visited schools in every county in Georgia promoting education—and Georgia has the most counties of any state in the union. In keeping with our personal goal of ‘enriching lives through participation in music,’ we’d love to see Georgia step forward as the most musical state in the USA!”

Following the ceremony, a reception for award recipients and their guests was held in the Capitol Rotunda, where Gretsch artist “Hot Rod Walt” provided entertainment.

Hot Rod Walt

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Posted In: Lifestyle

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