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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Watch Interview with Gretsch Master Builder Stephen Stern

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Wildwood Guitars teamed up with esteemed musician Greg Koch to cover the 2012 NAMM Show in Anaheim, Calif. Koch interviewed a variety of luthiers, product managers and musicians, including this interview with Gretsch Custom Shop Master Builder Stephen Stern.

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Joe Robinson Not Just A Guitarist Anymore

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Australian guitar stud Joe Robinson certainly has the chops to make a name for himself on his axe accomplishments.

That was mainly the way he won the 2008 season of Australia’s Got Talent.

But now, Robinson is ready to branch out, having just released his third album – and first with vocals and a full band – last week.

Entitled Let Me Introduce You, the album features 13 songs that Robinson painstakingly put together for more than just him and instrument.

Even though he had just flown in from his native country hours before, Robinson sat down with GretschGuitars.com for an exclusive interview over the weekend.

Here’s what he had to say:

Q: Now that the album is out, is there a sense of relief?

A: I’ve spent the last year almost writing and recording, so it’s a really good feeling to be done with it and to share it with people.

Q: Was there a certain kind of style or genre you were going for with this album?

A: The idea behind this album was to try as many things that I could and see what fit. I had really distinct ideas as far as having my signature guitar stuff, but there was a vocal too. Even though it was vocal-based, the guitar had to play an important role. Every track, stylistically we went in as many directions as we could.  There are jazz-fusion elements, blues-rock elements, pop.  There’s a lot of elements to it, but that’s just part of the fun.

Q: You’ve mainly been a guitarist in the past.  In what ways did you have to adjust your songwriting process for Let Me Introduce You?

A: I felt like this album was quite ambitious for me, because I’d never sung before or written for a band. I’ve played in a lot of bands, but this album was a different kind of animal.  It was a blast, and I felt like I learned so much from it.

Q: You moved to Nashville a few years back. How did that scene inspire you?

A: When I was writing the album, I wrote with a lot of Nashville songwriters, co-wrote with a lot of people.  Some of these people have written big hits and write a song every day.  To see how that works was a great thing to be exposed to.  Having said that, I tried to avoid falling into the Nashville machine, where some albums have that formula and come out sounding like a “Nashville” CD.

But I feel like if you have a vision and and idea, Nashville’s a great place to make that come to life because it’s such a music city.

Q: What were your first impressions of the “Music City”?

A: I come from a small town, so growing up, I was just craving musical stimulation.  Just craving to see someone playing, and when I came to Nashville for the first time, it was like sensory overload.  It was so great.

Q: Did you ever just walk into a club or bar with your guitar and jam?

A: I did that so many times. Whenever I walked down Broadway past the honkey-tonks, some people would say, “Hey, there’s that kid that used to sit in!” I’d take my guitar and ask if I could come up and jam.  People eventually got to know me and eventually I met so many people just from doing that.

When I first got to Nashville, I was 15 and I made all my inroads by door-knocking.  I literally walked around Nashville with a guitar on my back during the summer and was banging on doors, like, “Hey man, can I play for you?  I’m from Australia.”  Most people would be like, “No, go away.” But sometimes, I’d find someone that would let me play, and they’d say, “Meet this person, meet this person.” I got introduced to half of Nashville through those connections.  It was a fun was to get to know people.

For more information about Joe Robinson, visit his official website.

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2012 Gretsch Showcase at NAMM: Recap

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The 2012 Gretsch Showcase at NAMM was star-studded, both with the musicians that stopped by the booth at the Anaheim Convention Center and the instruments that were on display.

The first thing that stood out was artist Sarah Gallenberger’s amazing one-of-a-kind “Platinum Galaxy” guitar, which featured her intricate artistry.

But there was much more to delve into, which many artists did.

Here are some highlights of the Gretsch Showcase:

- Good Charlotte’s Benji Madden – an avid Power Jet player – stopped by the booth with his brother and bandmate Joel.  Benji wanted to convince Joel to play Gretsch when he judges The Voice this season in Australia.  Benji was even overheard talking about his Gretsch products, saying “I love it.  I’ve never been happier.”

- Benji also brought up Everclear frontman Art Alexakis to meet with artist relations representatives.  When he was in the Gretsch booth, Alexakis took some time checking out Tim Armstrong’s signature model.  The trio took a photo with Rancid bassist Matt Freeman, as well.

- Legendary finger-style guitarist Doyle Dykes brought a Gretsch guitar out on stage during one of his several performances.

- Brandon Campbell of Neon Trees took out his beloved Gretsch White Falcon bass for some up-close-and-personal pictures amid the bustle.

- Cousin Harley’s Paul Pigat played a rousing 15-minute set that had the near-capacity crowd boogieing along with the rockabilly tunes.

- Nik and Sam, an all-female duo, turned in two performances at the stage of the Gretsch Showcase, bringing their brand of country-rock to the masses.

Check out Nik playing a new Gretsch Rancher below:

- Ed Roland of Collective Soul and the Sweet Tea Project also offered two live sets from the Gretsch Showcase, where he also strummed a red Rancher.

- Australia’s Joe Robinson smoked through a few songs off his latest album, Let Me Introduce You.  The young guitarist then passed out copies of the CD and signed autographs after all three of his shows.

- The Cult’s Billy Duffy, another White Falcon player, was spotted around the booth.

- Grammy-winning guitarist Duane Eddy was a stalwart, taking countless pictures with fans all weekend and participating in two autograph signings.

- Tiger Army leadman Nick 13 recently released a solo Americana album, and he packed the showcase to the brim with a Saturday night performance.  Below is a video of Nick 13 playing one of his new songs:

For more photos, visit Gretsch’s official Flikr account.

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One-Of-A-Kind Gretsch On Display At Showcase

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The 2012 Gretsch Showcase at NAMM certainly was impressive with an array for Falcons, Penguins and Jets on display, but there was one guitar that certainly stood out.

From the mind of artist Sarah Gallenberger, the “Platinum Galaxy” guitar features her intricate design work.

“Last year, I was asked if I would do a Stratocaster for the Fender Music Foundation.  They told me they’d auction it off and fly me out to Arizona for the event.  I painted it, sent it back.  They built it and I went out to Scottsdale for the benefit.  I got to meet (Gretsch product manager) Joe Carducci.”

The ball was then rolling.

“I told Joe, ‘Sure, if I work really fast, I might be able to get one done in time for NAMM.’  There’s four in the works, but this was Halloween and I only had until about Christmas to get it done,” she continued with a laugh.

“I painted throughout December. I work out of my house, so I was literally on my kitchen table with a Chihuahua in my lap.”

Gallenberger chose black, silver and yellow as her main colors, really making the Steve Stern-built instrument pop.

Stern even added a Caddilac tailpiece to the base 6118 model to show more of the design.

“You can’t go wrong with black, silver, grey, blue and yellow, and I tried to pull off a fool-proof design,” said Gallenberger, noting that her next project in the series of four Gretsch pieces will feature red, black and gold flames.  ”Who doesn’t like paisley?  I wanted to do something that would appeal to a lot of people.”

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Watch Clips of Paul Pigat Perform at Gretsch Showcase

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Cousin Harley’s Paul Pigat and guests help rock the stage at the 2012 Gretsch Showcase. Watch a few clips shot by fans …

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Posted In: Artists Blogs, Events  |  Leave a comment

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