Friedrich Gretsch, an immigrant from Mannheim Germany, founded a small guitar shop in Brooklyn in 1883. He was to create a dynasty lasting to this day. His son, 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. 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.
Fred Gretsch, Jr. managed the operations briefly, then left the company to serve with distinction as a commander in the Navy, and Bill Gretsch became president. He passed away in 1948 and command was again passed back to Fred Gretsch, Jr. and the Navy veteran led the company into a new age of prosperity, the age of rock. It was the explosion of the music market begun by Elvis Presley and continued by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and many artists of the day.
In 1967 the Gretsch Company was sold to Baldwin, a music industry giant. But without the family dedication that had driven the business for so many years the company began to drift. Determined to return the company to family ownership, it was in 1985, when Fred W. Gretsch, the great-grandson of the company founder, made good on his promise. The Gretsch Company was once again in capable family hands. Operations moved to Savannah, where the revitalized company began to offer new, vintage styled, Gretsch guitars and classic Gretsch drums. The success of the new products was immediate and Gretsch instruments were quickly back in demand.