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Where are the young players (on the GDP)?

1

In case we haven't noticed, Gretsch has been on a helluva roll for nearly a decade now. Not only has the pro-line largely met or exceeded the expectations and demands of its target market, the Electromatic line has been considerably refined and expanded, with ever more desirable features and higher quality for the money.

We've seen innovation across both those lines in the form of a robust series of center-block models. And, like icing on that cake, we've been given the irresistible confections of the Roots series instruments.

At the top end, the Custom Shop is in its second decade of producing the highest-quality, most gorgeous stuff Steve Stern and his staff (and sufficiently funded customers) can dream up.

Gretsch has found price points in the market from the Custom Shop high end, down through the Pro-line and Electromatics. Now, coming in under the Electromatics we have the well-received new Streamliner series. There's a Gretsch now for every budget - and all "aspirational" instruments worthy of respect.

And ALL this stuff has been selling. Gretsch gets more play in the catalogs and on etailer websites, more coverage in the magazines, more demos and chatter on youtube and elsewhere. The 5120/5420 were already Gretsch's best-selling guitars ever (in pure quantity). I haven't been privy to the leader board lately, but from all indications, Gretsch numbers have to be up across the board.

We're no longer an elite and obscure community of misfits, fired up about our unique sonic heritage and taking the road less traveled: there are more and more players on the Gretsch highway.

I have to think that it's not all old guys buying these guitars: the planners at Gretsch and FMIC didn't concoct all of this just to reach the last baby-boomer or rockabilly cat who hadn't yet attained personal Gretschdom. From the very nature of some of the innovations (centerblocks, more pinned and fixed bridges) - and the language used to promote them - it's obvious that Gretsch is after younger players, more straightforward rockers.

This works in two ways: it reaches the bulk of the market by offering those players more of the features they expect and fewer of the Gretsch oddities which used to put them off - and it gets the camel into the tent by its nose. Once they've been introduced to Gretsch, they can be gradually indoctrinated with Gretsch history, exposed to a musical heritage they might not otherwise have come across, and (some of them) eventually converted to more traditional Gretsch offerings.

All of this can't be anything but good. It's good for FMIC, good for the brand, good for the Gretsch "community."

And that's where I start scratching my head. Lots of new Gretsch players, many of them younger than most of us. Are they coming to the GDP? Are they participating? Are we welcoming?

8-10 years ago, I did an informal demographic survey of active GDP members, and the median age was the early 50s. An awful lot of the same members are still here, and I expect at least some of them have gotten older. (Not me.) Which means, if we haven't refreshed our membership with new "blood" (as they say, but who knows why?), then we might tilt toward the late 50s or even 60s by now.

Not that I don't like all you opinionated crotchety cranky old get-off-my-lawn bastids, but I'd like (or I think I'd like) to see more of the new young Gretsch players hang out here.

Maybe they're (you're!) here, and I just don't realize it. But if, as I suspect, we might have the aromoa of an old mens' social club...well, what can we do about it?

How can we attract more young membership, and encourage their participation?

(Or how can I correct my own myopic vision so I see them, if we've already been invaded?)

3

It's turned into a Facebook and Twitter age. While I have a Facebook page I don't use it to post ANYTHING! Going against the flow of the young people who apparently don't value privacy - they relate their live's intimate details on a daily basis and then wonder why they lost their job for bad mouthing their boss online - my life isn't a public palate to be commented on and online additions made to it. Twitter is of course all the rage and just as mind-numbing as far as taking time out of your day with the same ramifications as Facebook. At least with this forum, I'm multi-tasking (ie playing guitar!) while participating, not texting while driving to tell everyone what I had for lunch and that I had my second bowel movement of the day!

4

All the young people are out playing music at clubs,practicing to play in Bands,drinking excessive amounts of booze and trying to get laid.

No time for Forums.

5

".....drinking excessive amounts of booze and trying to get laid."

I hope you're not implying that that's a negative thing!....hell, I'm still doing that!

6

I got two young ones that both play Gretsches, though, not exclusively.

Joining any forum is the furthest thing from their minds.

Even on facebook, you won't see them post about what kinds of guitars they play, it's more about the music they make.

7

There are not as many teenagers playing guitar as in previous generations. Gretsch should probably start selling DJ gear if they want to reach that demographic.

8

we might have the aromoa of an old mens' social club...

There might be some truth in this.

9

There are not as many teenagers playing guitar as in previous generations. Gretsch should probably start selling DJ gear if they want to reach that demographic.

– WB

Not so much in my town. You would not believe the kids and their bands around here.

Of course, it sucks that there's no real place to play for them, but they find a way.

It's like the old school ,punk rock days of DIY shows. I love being around some of it with my kids bands and some of my friend's kids.

Don't give up the ghost yet!

10

Find a way to get young girls here and the players will follow. In the meantime, I fear that we don't offer the young players the sort of virtual companionship that they would find of interest.

11

I've been active for six or seven years and am one of them there cranky old bastids in their sixties. However, there is hope. My teenage daughter's boyfriend almost had a stroke when I let him play his dream guitar - my White Falcon. So yes, the brand lives on and hopefully here since FaceBook, Twitter, etc. hold limited interest to me.

12

I am on facebook, though some days I regret it. I am there mostly for my bands but I do belong to several Gretsch appreciation pages. I actually unfriended one recently for some stupid moderator over moderating. On those page threads I almost always link to this forum when people ask Gretschy questions. I don't know if that has had any impact to our forum though. I think Curt is onto something though. Most youngsters don't take the time for forums when they can leave a one sentence post on Facebook or such. I do think that Gretsch is starting to saturate the younger generations, though and I'm very happy for them.

13

I think I originally came here when I was around 29 or 30, and I'm 47 now. Forgot original screen name and re-registered later. I was drawn here because I was bored with Les Pauls and Strats and wanted to look into something different. At the time, I was seeing Gretsches and Rics at guitar shows and was interested in learning more. At the time the forum Voxtalks was also fueling my growing interest in Beatle guitars and equipment. Brian Setzer also had a resurgence in that time period. I think its about having a desire to learn more and if interests are aligning in life.

15

I grew up in the '60s, when there was a band on every block playing in a garage. We had more than a dozen places to gig---high schools, church dances, teen clubs and so on. Now, the youngsters are too busy playing video games, tweeting, and holding their pants up. Looking at a lot of the modern groups (5 guy singing with Autotune is a vocal quintet---NOT a band), most don't even have a visible instrument, just some git with a computer. People don't need to learn how to play an instrument now----they just need to know how to sample someone else playing. Considering my parents' generation, most guys then played brass of some sort. I only know a couple of guys that play brass now---and they play guitar as well.

16

Yah yah yah, get off our porches.

I'm not talking about the guys who can't be bothered to learn an instrument - I'm talking about the ones who have demonstrated that commitment by buying Gretsch guitars.

I wasn't thinking about recruiting them to play an instrument. They've already self-selected.

I'm pretty sure we won't make them feel welcome by slamming the way they communicate, either. Our forefathers couldn't get their progeny to practice the pianner because these-kids-today were too busy talking on that gol-danged tellyphone.

And not necessarily just KIDS-kids, either. Rich gives us a testimony of having found the GDP in his late 20s. Given the demographic I suspect most of us represent, that qualifies as "young players." 20-somethings, 30-somethings. OK, young-ER players.

Just wondering how many we already have, and if they (you?) either don't feel the need to participate more visibly, or aren't encouraged to, or we just don't talk about artists and styles they (you?) care about.

If not, why don't we? How could we? How does the GDP spread the word among new Gretsch owners that we're here with a resource they might find useful - and that we welcome their contributions?


Also, of course, I do get that they may be too busy learning to play - and playing music - to spend much time online talking about playing music. Perfectly valid excuse not to attend GDP discussion classes.

17

Kids will go to guitar center with birthday and/or work money and buy what they see that they like, no matter the brand.

Not much research online is put into this if they can go up the road and put their hands on a tangible thing. No photoshopping the item if it's in your hands, right?

The fact that some kids(the cool ones) get exposed to Gretsch guitars gives them a reference point, but if the store is shy of Gretsches that day, how hard would it be to steer a first time guitar buyer towards a different brand?

18

Hopefully they don't have the time because they're PLAYING and doin' some fancy book learning stuff.

19

Really, John? "Kids" - teen-to-30s - don't research online, and obsess over the details? I don't hardly believe that! They surely learn from ütube after the fact...why wouldn't they do it before they spend their money?

20

Too much of this "virtual" B.S. for anybody to even bother learning how to play a "real guitar"--

21

I think that the initial fervor for the virtual guitar games (Guitar Hero, etc.) has pretty much subsided. Or maybe it is just that my son has long since outgrown it.

22

PREMISE: young players ARE buying and playing Gretschs. Maybe they graduated from Guit Hero, maybe they caught a flashy Gretsch during a ütube binge, maybe it looked cool at GC.

But they already have them.

QUESTIONS: do they visit us here? If not, why not? If they are, are they staying? If not, why not?

23

Ya mean you haven't been on the "GDP for Teenies" site yet? Man, ya gotta get over there. It's a blast...

24

BTW, other than the site mentioned above, I have no idea where the hell they hang out. Must text someone to find out...

25

Maybe they're put off by all the complete sentences and correctly spelled words here --- in the Twitterverse where everything has to fit into 160 characters, u cant aford all those ltrs. Or thots.


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