VFW Post 846
8804 Grant Avenue – Overland Park, KS
When the phone rings and it’s Joe Carducci, you know you’re about to enter a whole world of awesome.
My phone range about 3:00 Friday. Joe was about to get to the hotel and wanted to know if I wanted meet up. Um, yeah.
Lirm35, KCMatt and S.Rock were already there. After a quick tour of the venue, we headed back out to the airport to pick up TV Jones and Tauna (his +1), then rushed back to an nice Italian dinner at Cascone’s. While the food was excellent, the company was even more so. By this point we were already up around 15 people, and the conversation was brilliant.
And I learned the world’s toughest Gretsch-related trivia question, which I will not share. Yet.
With such good company, dinner carried on pretty late and everyone called it a night. Big day coming up and all.
Bright and early the next morning, the lovely Miss Mimi (Angel) made sure we were fed and appropriate cow-themed decorations were in place while amps were set up, guitars were tuned, and greetings were exchanged.
By lunchtime we had about 25 people enjoying the roundup. The VFW hall proved to be a good venue, with an amazingly helpful staff, and the air was thick with enjoyment and that great Gretsch Sound.
Kim Falcon arrived in mid-afternoon, so Joe kicked the party up another notch, starting with a bit of a bombshell: the 5120 and 5122 — two of Gretsch’s most popular models — are going away. “But wait’ll you see what we’ve got now,” he said as he unveiled the all-new 5422.
And by all-new, I mean really all-new. The 5422s Joe brought had gone straight from the factory to the marketing department to be used for the promo materials, then straight to the Roundup. No one outside of FMIC had seen them.
And what a bunch of winners. The new 5422 features blacktop Filters, a slightly thinner body and a host of other improvements all of us were too busy staring slack-jawed to really ask about. And it wasn’t just six-strings. There’s a new 5422 bass that will be available in both short and long-scale versions. The short-scale Joe brought was simply fantastic. And there’s a new 5422-12, offering double the strings for your inner McGuinn.
Joe gave a red 5422 a strong workout on a few numbers, just to show us what it can do (a lot), then did what he does best: share the joy. With Kim capably providing the traditional guitar-shaking duties, the first big winner was Tubwompus, who snagged the bass and is probably giving it a good workout already.
Somewhere in there we had to take a break for dinner. But since it was Oklahoma Joe’s — some of Kansas City’s very best barbecue — brought in courtesy of Lirm35, nobody was complaining too much.
A bit after dinner, TV Jones gave a fascinating look into both his work and the more general art and science of making pickups sound their best. And pitched in with some practical tips and tweaking for anyone who asked. In addition to being a mad genius of guitar tone, he’s also a helluva nice guy.
And Lirm35 was rewarded by karma for his culinary good deed later in the evening, when his pick was shaken out for the red 5422. Mimi won the 12-string (and says she’ll let me play it), and J(ust an old cowboy) D was picked for the final prize of the night, the gorgeous white-on-white/gold hardware version. Unfortunately, I neglected to get a pic. Damn you, Corona.
Of course, the party didn’t stop when the giveaways ended. In fact, it went on long after we had to shut down in the main hall with acoustics ringing out in the night on the patio. By that point all the VFW regulars had joined in, singing every song we knew (and some we didn’t yet), including Jim, the post commander, who commanded respect with Rapper’s Delight, as did the folks laying down a funky groove on the spot behind him. I think Rapper’s Delight may be a Roundup first.
As was the Rounding up of every woman in the place to sing “These boots are made for walking.”
The next morning brought the bittersweet epilogue that follows every Roundup.. the still-giddy, exhausted loading out and having to say goodbyes. The VFW made it slightly easier, filling everyone up with an all-you-can-eat breakfast, but expect a few new faces in Nashville this year.
And with that…
Happy trails to you, until we meet again.
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