The anthem began when Friedrich Gretsch, an immigrant from Mannheim Germany, founded a small shop in Brooklyn in 1883. He was to create a dynasty lasting to this day. Yet Friedrich Gretsch died unexpectedly in 1895 before he could see it bloom.
Energetic as he was enterprising, Fred Gretsch, Sr. built the business on a reputation for precision and quality. Two decades after he had assumed direction as the boy in knickers, he had moved the operation to a mammoth ten story building at 60 Broadway in Brooklyn.
In 1935 Duke Kramer, joined the company. Today Duke Kramer is still a valued counsel to the company, the string that ties the generations together. He says, "That distinctive sound was our product, the sound that energized the market for decades."
Fred Gretsch, Sr. retired from the company in 1942, his attire now the pressed suits of a successful businessman. His sons, Fred, Jr. and William "Bill" were well prepared to assume leadership. Both had been active in the business since 1927.
In 1967, the Gretsch Manufacturing Company was sold to Baldwin and a then, enterprising young Fred Gretsch vowed to return the company to the family. Eighteen years later, Gretsch became family owned once again. The great-grandson of Friedrich Gretsch made good on his vow and still leads the Gretsch company today.