Gretsch At The Music Zoo
The Music Zoo is an Authorized Gretsch Dealer! Shop for your Gretsch Guitar on our site now, or visit our showroom on Long Island, New York! Gretsch was founded in 1833 by Friedrich Gretsch in Brooklyn, NY. Originally the company focus was on drums, tambourines, and banjos – popular instruments at the time. Friedrich sadly passed away not long after the company was started, leaving Gretsch to his 15-year-old son, Fred Gretsch, Sr. who started to grow the company further, developing new innovations in drum making, as well as recognizing the growing popularity of the guitar as opposed to the banjo or other stringed instruments in American music. By 1926, the very first Gretsch-branded guitars are being produced. As the company expanded, their properties in Brooklyn expanded to have over six buildings in the Williamsburg area, which you can still see today as you take the subway over the bridge into Manhattan!
Gretsch production halted during World War II. Post-war sees the company start to bloom into the powerhouse it is today! Gretschs use of custom colors and gizmos such as the Bigsby made it immensely popular in the Space-Age 1950s. Players such as Eddy Cochran, Duane Eddy, and Bo Diddley all embraced the brand. The first Gretsch solidbody electric guitar is introduced in 1953, named the Duo Jet – famous for its use by George Harrison as the ‘first decent’ electric guitar he owned. In 1954, the world-famous “Mr. Guitar” Chet Atkins becomes the first signature Gretsch artist, starting a relationship that would result in many new Gretsch guitars such as the 6122 Country Gentleman and 6120 Chet Atkins model.
The 1960’s saw the rise of Gretschs popularity go even further! George Harrison using a Country Gentleman on the Ed Sullivan Show made sales of the instrument explode. Stephen Stills and Neil Young both played White Falcon guitars in Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Brian Jones had a 6118 Double Anniversary with the Rolling Stones. Lou Reed and Sterling Morrison both utilized a Country Gentleman in The Velvet Underground as well. By 1965, Gretsch was breaking its own production records and hitting the highest point yet in the companies history.
The company was sold to Baldwin Pianos through the 70’s and in 1985, Fred W. Gretsch – great-grandson of founder Friedrich bought the company back to return it to its rightful place in the electric guitar history. Gretsch saw a resurgence in popularity through players such as Brian Setzer of the Stray Cats, the first Gretsch signature artist since Chet Atkins. New Wave and Alternative guitarists such as Johnny Marr of The Smiths, John Squire of Stone Roses, Robert Smith of the Cure and Billy Duffy of the Cult also used Gretsch guitars in their respective bands.
The Music Zoo carries every Collection and Model of Gretsch you can dream of. From the beginner-friendly Electromatic series, the Professional and Centerblock series each with their own features that make them great guitars for working players, up to the Vintage Select series that appear to come out of time machines just like the instruments looked in the 1950s and 60s. We also are one of the biggest Gretsch Custom Shop dealers you can find, with many models exclusive to our store which we’ve spec’d with the greatest minds at the factory, such as Masterbuilder Stephen Stern.
The Music Zoo also stocks a wide range of Gretsch cases, Gretsch accessories, Gretsch clothing and Gretsch maintenance tools. Finance your next Gretsch Guitar purchase with The Music Zoo Credit Card. Call us today for more info on your new Gretsch!