The Gretsch Lives

by Chad Campbell, senior producer

Ed Ball, Fred Stucky and BobEveryone has heard and heard of guitars made by Gibson, Fender and Martin - but instruments made by the Gretsch company are a little more distinctive, yet elusive. Their guitars have had some very famous fans though, players like Django Reinhardt, Eddie Cochran, Chet Atkins, Duane Eddy, Pete Townshend, George Harrison, Brian Setzer - and Fred Stucky. He’s the guitarist and leader of the Philadelphia band Gas Money and has his own small collection of vintage Gretsch guitars. He was recently in our performance studio with his friend, fellow guitar afficionado and author Edward Ball to discuss the past and present of the Gretsch company and to demonstrate the sounds their guitars can make. Ball’s book is called The History of the Legendary Gretsch 6120 and traces the evolution of that particular model, which became the signature guitar of Chet Atkins.

detail of the decorative western inlays on the fret board of an early Chet Atkins Gretsch 6120