It was 20 years ago today…

Baxter

It was 20 years ago today…

and Sgt. Pepper wasn’t really involved. Sorry. It wasn’t an iconic Beatles record. It was a simple, quiet act that really didn’t seem like that big a deal at the time. There was no fanfare, no celebration, not even a note on the calendar — but sometime in 1995, I pressed a button, and the Gretsch Pages was born.

Or rather, a very early version of what would become The Gretsch Pages. In those days, the whole thing was tucked away on the Arizona State University servers, because as a student I had an account, and I put up a page for whatever interested me at the time. There was a Russ Meyer page, an MG cars page, and among other things, a Gretsch Page. Just one.

And what I rapidly noticed was that I was pretty much the only source of Gretsch anything on the nascent internet. At the time, even gretsch.com hadn’t started yet. It was just me.

Except it wasn’t just me. It was me, and a whole lotta other folks who started coming out of the woodwork to ask questions I was usually ill-prepared to answer. I was just some college student who thought, “might as well do it, nobody else is.”

I could have paid attention to the O.J. Simpson trial. I could have learned Windows 95, or invested in the stock market as it climbed to 5000 for the first time. I made a web site. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Over the next couple of years, the other pages on my little student account fell by the wayside, but the little Gretsch section kept growing. When I graduated, I kinda thought that would be the end of it. The ASU space would be shut down, I would join the working world, and that would be the end of that.

Except the internet — even in those early days — conspired otherwise. My mailbox was pounded with people asking me to enlarge and expand, so I ponied up for new server space. By that point, it said “The Gretsch Pages” up top, but the address was on cysource.com. You’ll still occasionally see an image watermarked with that address and some other dusty old references. It was around this time the discussion board was added. Now people could do more than ask me about Gretsches, they could ask each other. And talk about pomade and beer.

In 1999, we hit the big time, registering gretschpages.com for the first time. Some folks still on here started appearing around that time. Off the top of my head, JBGretschGuy, Norm, Thomas and Don Butler were all around about then. Probably others. If I didn’t think of you, speak up!

In those earliest days of the forum, vintage questions outnumbered modern about 2 to 1, but that was changing fast. Fred Gretsch was moving into the mainstream, and new sections on the forum opened up for made-in-Korea models and endorsers like Duane Eddy and Elliot Easton started dropping by.

By the early 2000s, the community aspect had really cemented, and the speed and willingness of that community to band together for any worthwhile cause was already evident. Sometimes that was helping someone in need, or maybe just putting together a series of Gretsch Pages compilation CDs, which now bring big bucks among collectors. Or at least they should. They’re quite good.

And after dabbling in some community Gretsch-togethers in 2007, we sprung the Gretsch Pages Roundups on the world in 2008. Or again, the community did. I am not responsible for all that has been wrought.

Year after year, we kept chugging on. Adding features. Dropping some. More people. Bigger servers. More people. Repeat. There’s been some setbacks along the way, notably some vicious server issues around 2007-2008 and the Great Database Meltdown of 2014. But we keep going. Ever forward.

We’ve seen a lot of people come and go. Some have come back again. Some we continue to hope will. And some we wish could come back again, because we miss them terribly.

Somewhere along the way, a college students’ flight of fancy became something entirely bigger. Twenty years in, we’re still not what to make of all of it, other than to just look on in awe and wonder. And plan to enjoy many more years of it.

You’re the best, Tim Baxter. Thank you so very much.

xxx Deed

Yep. There are very few, if any, who would do what you’ve done. Thank you; thank you very much indeed.

Thanks for this whole wonderful world of Gretsch goodness and the chance to meet some of the best folks I have ever met.

I’m glad you told this story. Thank you for creating and continuing to host the best website on the internet. That’s really how I feel.

I promise to not be a jerk. Tim, this is a wonderful place. Informative, yet free-wheeling in a controlled kind of way.

Literally, there is no other place quite like it on the Interweb, and we all appreciate you- more than you could know.

Keep up the good work. We’re happy to help out where we can.

Kevin

I love this place Baxter. Thanks soooooooooooo much.

You are the biggest glutton for punishment of a web monkey ever, Baxter. Good for you for staying the course. I’ve made some good, real life friends because of this site. So thanks for that too

From one old Sun Devil to another - I can’t begin to express how much it means that you launched this little coffee klatsch, & that you continue to fight the good fight Thanks so very much.

Too bad that Russ Meyer page is no longer extant. I saw “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” for the first time recently. It was a revelation.

I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, this is my favorite place to be on the interwebs. Thanks for sharing that story and providing all us Gretsch fanatics a place to congregate, virtually speaking.

Thanks for sharing that with us. It’s really nice to know how it all started! And, of course, thanks that you did start it! I haven’t been around as much recently as I used to but I definitely still am around and the GDP is one of the first things I check when I switch on the computer! Thank you, sir!

20 years ago, being 50 miles East of KC, we barely had Internet @ work!

It service was called I-Land, long before the acronym ISP was common, and it covered a county or two out in B-2/Missile Base Farm Country.

I barely had e-mail, that was new, and everyone at work would get their time at the Employee Terminal upstairs in the “Marketing” department…

Such visionaries as Tim need to be honored.

I am sure I will need to apologize again at some point…

Tim, you are a star ! I stop by every day and am invariably glad I did. You have created much more than a webpage here, you have created a family of like minded individuals. Thank you.

Congratulations on the 20 years TIm, and thanks for doing this.

Can’t say or do enough other than say thanks for 20 years of the best space around in space.

So neat to read about how the site got going. Happy Birthday Gretsch Pages and thank you Tim.

Congrats, Tim. You may never know how much your flight of fancy has meant to so many people. To me it has been a friend when I needed it bad, a connection to new friends around the country and the world and it has been a constant reminder that people are, for the most part, kind, thoughtful and helpful. Thanks Tim.

Wow, 20 years. I’ve been here since ‘01, so I guess I’m a pretty old timer myself.

I’ve made some good friends here - VERY good friends. Ive attended concerts with people I met here. I’ve travelled to foreign lands and stayed with people I met here. We even had a guest at our wedding who flew 8000 miles to be there and I met him here.

I had dinner - twice - with one of my childhood heroes and guess what - yep, I met him here.

In addition to these valuable friendships I’ve learned so much about Gretsch guitars, but lots of other stuff too. I learn about pomade, motorbikes, cars, guns, politics, religion, you name it, it’s here.

I learned to say ass hat.

All in all my world is substantially richer for having found The Gretsch Pages. Thank you, Bax. Thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do.

Bax, this is a good place with good people helping in good times and bad teaching folks like me about the instruments which make that unique sound I adore. And, while I’m telling you I love ya, Bax, I’d be remiss if I didn’t again thank Tim/Protey for directing me here before my first magical NAMM 2011 when the G6128T-GH was introduced and Tim introduced me to Dhani Harrison. This is a good place and All Y’All are good people. All My Lovin, Olivia Anne

Thanks, Tim. Maybe one day we can combine the Gretsch and Russ Meyer thing and get you a Custom Shop Blackhawk model with the poster for “Mondo Topless” painted on the back.

Congrats and thank you, Baxter. What happens here is very special.

Thanks, Bax, for starting one of the most worthwhile and positive places on the internet.

Any chance of resurrecting the MG pages?

Thanks Bax, I’ve been visiting and occasionally posting since 2006; I’ve found knowledge, humor and companionship here… Saludos!

I’ve spent lots of time here in the prior years. Sometimes a little too much, maybe. But time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted. Thank you very much, Tim. This is a good place to be.

Thanks Tim for all the good work you’ve done over the years.

When I stumbled across this site I was amazed that such a thing existed. I come back repeatedly for advice, support, entertainment, and excellent company.

Thanks,Baxter, for all your efforts.

Thanks for the wealth of knowledge.

Congrats Tim! I think I joined around ‘99 or ‘00.

Thank you so much for all of this. It is truly a remarkable site and the only solid reason for having a computer — cause I’d rather spend the money on another Gretsch. Russ Meyer and M.G.’s and Gretsches. Fantastic taste.

Dear Diary,

Tim Baxter did a very good thing and brought a few good people together that otherwise might have missed each other in this too few turns around the Sun.

Some things have been explained, lessons learnt and while most grew, many grew closer together to become friends. A few I dare say very dear life long friends.

For all the crummy things people do to each other, Tim Baxter has helped to put a few notches in the other column. We could use a few more like him around these days.

You have my most humble gratitude Tim and though I don’t say it enough, thank you for this place and all you do here.

Allister

Ditto to all the above, and heartfelt thanks for the wealth of knowledge about guitars in general, Gretsches in particular, and tips on some superb music and musicians I might otherwise not have known about. Thanks for the soapbox that we’re (mostly) pretty good about sharing, and for the real-life friends I’ve made as a result of this imaginary place.

Bax: We all appreciate the “home” you’ve built for us. IMO, there’s nothing like it on the web. Friendly, knowledgeable, respectful and welcomed that members have a strong role in setting the positive culture here / self-policing. None of the nonsense and spiteful antics found on a few of the other guitar sites.

Thanks for everything you’ve done and continue to do.

Thanks for the story, Tim. I sorta feel like one of the new kids on the block. In my brief time on the GDP, I somehow always thought that this was a genuine labor of love, with not enough thanks. So I’m saying it now. Thanks.

A wonderful story!

I lurked a while before joining somewhere around 2001. I found a mine of information here first of all. People who knew far more than me (and still do) yet were patient with my questions. And that’s how it started.

Soon it became clear that here was a real community. People helped each with guitar matters, of course, but also with often very personal events sometimes of loss and illness such was/is the guidance from our man and the quality of the group.

I obviously expected chat about players and the big names were there and discussed in detail. There were also the non professionals: regular guys with day jobs whose playing was/is right up there with the best.

We followed the Roundups, especially Nashville, and the fun that was had.

And when I needed a bit of input when setting up a forum myself Tim was a great help.

Then there’s the stuff I never expected: I still find it amusing that one of our now VERY good friends and his lady I met right here and have had loads of fun with them for years since.

Then, there’s something I thought was nigh impossible. Through the GDP and a twist of fate I got to meet my childhood hero and his delightful wife: those were highlights of a lifetime that my wife and I will never forget.

Knowledge, information, cool dudes, great music & musicians, new friends and a genuine community of fine people: Tim, it’s all down to you so many, many, thanks for everything.

Thanks for creating this place Baxter and keeping it going. It’s still one of the only sites I visit everyday!

Thank you Tim, for both a fantastic wealth of a website, and for telling us the all important how and why it is here today!

20 years is quite an accomplishment in just about anything. You have created something really special here, Tim, and we are all the better for it. This place has some very classy people. Genuine class. Thanks for everything.

Baxter, I joined this site in 2011 and I barely have gone a day since without checking in. I’ve laughed and cried along the way because of the family feeling we have here. Many of us (myself included) have opened our hearts when times have been tough and found solace and support from the fantastic members here that has really made a difference. Likewise, when things are good those posts are equally responded to with warm congratulations and cheer.

I’ve heard some great music I would not have been introduced to otherwise and got to collaborate with the best picker I know

I joined because of Gretsch guitars, but I’ve stuck around because of the members here…….the best group of people not only on this forum, but anywhere :)

Thanks Tim!

Wow..20 years… Bax..a labor of love for sure…thank you.sir for such a wonderful place you have created here for us…

The best guitar website there is…by far. The best people too. I always wanted a Gretsch guitar from the time I saw the Beatles for the first time on Ed Sullivan and was shown a Gretsch catalog by a neighbor. The info I got from the Gretsch Pages sealed the deal. Thank you so much Bax, you and the posters here have definately contributed to a very happy part of my life.

Thanks Tim. And to think it started in my home town (where I still live). And Gretsch headquarters is just up Scottsdale Road.

Go Sun Devils.

This is the best website in the universe. Congratulations to Baxter and to everyone here, cheers!

Tim,

This website is pretty freakin’ cool.

But aside from the members that have come and gone, beyond all that everyone had ever written here, and despite the fact that much of that has been blown away, getting to meet many of you had made this site way more meaningful than any other guitar site. I got friends…real friends here, that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, and I count you and Angel among them. It’s pretty cool, that you had no clue what this would bloom into, but how would you have known?

So here’s to the accidental gardener…may it continue to flourish for many years to come.

Tim, I remember finding this place back in 2007. I was new to going online and looking things up. I’ve had my ‘59 Annie since 1966 and didn’t know much history about Gretsch guitars. so, I went to gretschguitars.com. while I was reading some of the information that I had found I saw this statement, “for more information, go to gretschpages. com”. so, I did. and I’m still here.

I remember when I first started visiting Ed Ball, Jack Daniels, and “yettoblaster” greeted me with “open arms”, so to speak. I went by a different screen name then, too. bwallace1 was part of my email address and this was the first forum to join. so, bwallace1 would work fine. after joining other forums, I started using S. Rock(Sgt Rock). so, I decided to use it here on the GDP as well.

so, thank you Tim for starting the GDP. and as others have said, I’ve actually met a lot of y’all in person and that includes you too. you mentioned earlier about the “gatherings” and Roundups. we even had a “Louisiana Get-Together” down in Keithville, Louisiana at Don Woods house in 2008.

thank you Tim Baxter for starting up the gretschpages. you’ve done good.

Brent

First of all I want to say a most sincere “thank you”. I can’t possibly imagine how much effort had gone into this but it’s very much appreciated. I don’t post much but visit regularly. Although it’s changed some since I signed up back in ‘04, it’s still my absolute favorite guitar forum.

2004 was a great year for me. I got my first Gretsch, met the amazing most woman who’s now my wife, and stumbled across the GDP. I bought a used Gretsch at a local store and couldn’t find anything about it online. I did, however, find this wonderful site and joined. I posted asking for info on a G3131, I got a bunch of replies such as “WTF is a G3131, There’s no such guitar,” etc… Several members here insisted on pics to prove the existence of my guitar. I promptly complied and the discussion and speculation begin. Eventually the history of it was disclosed and that was that. Or so I thought…

Well it’s almost 11 years later and I still stop by. I still have the Gretsch, my wife, and I’m still sober!

Again, thank you for all you do. If I’ve ever been a jerk, you have my sincere apology.

Bax, thankyou for creating this peoples post box. Such a great equalizer. A better read than any broadsheet newspaper !

1995, the days of modems with funny squeaky sounds when you entered ‘the digital highway’. Thanks for all your time and effort!

I was one of the early settlers - thanks for everything Bax!

Not much left to say, except many, many thanks.

Regards

David

Thanks very much for your determination. What a wonderful oasis this site has become.

Thanks, Tim. You’ve fostered and faciltated a pretty robust community. Strong work, indeed.

Thank you for all you do Bax. This really is the best site on the net. Congrats on 20 years buddy, here’s to 20 more!

Previously, had someone told me that my life could be deeply enriched by a WEBSITE, I’da laughed in his/her face. After all, a bunch of posts by other folks who are as faceless to me as I am to them? C’mon, man…

Wayulp, turns out he/she woulda been correct.

For one thing (and it’s a biggie), because of the GretschPages, I was able to re-connect with one whose friendship I truly cherish and for whom my respect and admiration is boundless. Proteus and I hadn’t shared the same physical space in literally a couple of decades ad had it not been for the ‘Pages, that may have continued, much to my dismay (but not so much for him, I dunno.) But what an incredible thing.

As if that weren’t enough, because of your site, I’ve met and actually PLAYED with a bunch of wonderful musicians/people, an experience I’d not have had otherwise.

And Joe C.? Don’t even get me started about Joe C.

Not only that, Bax, because of you, there’s one guy here who now owns the bass of his dreams.

Baxter, YOU are the guy who made all that possible. And I’m just ONE of the many who hang here.

Betcha never figgered building a website would getcha a La-Z-Boy in heaven, didja?

Congrats and thank you, brutha.

Before becoming a member here I really liked the one Gretsch (Setzer Hot Rod) I had at the time. I was looking at Falcons and stumbled across the GDP. I joined in late 2009, and since then gained a “healthy obsession” with Gretsch thanks to the GDP. Not only do I have 7 or 8 (or 10 - I’m not sure) Gretsch guitars, but have learned a lot of very good information on amps, effects, and other gear. It’s one one the first sites I visit each day if only to lurk - or see what is happening in the world. Congrats on 20 years, and lots of thanks, Baxter.

Thanks, Bax, for making this place, and for letting us hang out here.

Thanks for the best place on the interweaves. Where else would I have learned the term “jack weeds”?

Bax…Nice Sight..Wonderfull care on you part…to be the Amp-Gain of eleven for so many to have a pool to text in..to touch and have contact with so many worldwide linked to Gretsch.

Glad to hear you were/are a SunDevil too..Hope your away from the heat of Tempe Arizona…..

Care FrienDolf

You are doing a great job - I love this site - thanks for all that you do.

thank you for your hard work. It has become my first thing I look at in the morning when I turn on the computer.

Long-time lurker here who has learned a great deal just listening in to the various conversations. This is an exemplary site that should be a model to others.

Thanks so much sir!

I’ve been here since 2005 when i got my first pc,aye,it took me that long ,what can i say, i’m a Luddite! I’m here every day if can ,only get about 2 or 3 hours on the web per day but most of it is spent here……… lurking mostly.

Bax,

Thanks for the site. It has been a complete joy to me. I have made friends, bought guitars and amps, and exposed to lots of music I wasn’t very familiar with. I hope that Fender and Fred contribute to this site with all the Gretsches this site has helpt sold! But more importantly, Thank You Very Much! Happy Anniversery!

Well, most of what I would say has already been said. But I sincerely want to thank you, Tim.

Although a lurker far longer than I’ve actually been a member, I’ve been digging these guitars since getting my first Beatles album in the mid-‘70s. And I’ve been a Gretsch owner since I was just a little over 17 years old (with four “dark years” between 1991 and ‘95).

This place has been, is, and will continue to be (I hope!) a great place for trading info, learning stuff, and generally hang out with like-minded gear nuts from all over the world.

Happy anniversary, congratulations, and thank you very much!

Cheers,

Anders in Norway

Thanks for putting up with us.. or at least me. Learned a lot here, scored some good gear here — I’m keeping light lit for Hi Lo Trons.

Hey Tim - In addition to all those comments, this is a wonderfully designed site!!!! It’s easy to under-estimate/under-appreciate the amount work and talent that goes into creating and keeping up with the site. It’s another great aspect of gretschpages.com.

Thanks Tim for all you have done for us! I’ve been here since Dec of ‘07 and have gotten to meet several members over the years, I don’t post much, but I do read every day when I have time.

Tim, thank you for creating and maintaining this community home!

Fascinating story, Thanks for everything Bax and happy birthday Gretschpages - my first click every morning for over 10 years.

On a November day in 2002 I played a Duo Jet at Guitar Center and fell in love. I was fifteen. After my mother balked at the price I went home and tried to learn what I could about that cool guitar. If I couldn’t have it I could at least know everything about it.

I found the Gretsch Pages that night and soaked it up like a sponge. The next day there was a whole crop of new information to learn. It took me a few months to build up the courage to post, but by then I was hooked. And it wasn’t just guitars. Y’all gave me all the advice about women, music, and pomade I needed to get me through high school.

It took me another eight years before I owned a Gretsch, but I never felt unwelcome here. I attended my first roundup in Nashville with a telecaster, but no one batter an eye about letting me play their great Gretsch guitars. I have a fond recollection of playing my songs on crowbone’s weird Rally that night.

Over the years my participation has become infrequent, but the GDP has always sat firmly atop my bookmarks list. I’ve been a member here for half of my life, and I expect to remain one for the rest of it. Thanks for everything Tim.

-Mike

P. S. Bring back prez

Yeah and verily Tim!!! It’s on killer website, and IS my daily Gretsch fix, even if I don’t post every day. Thanks!!!

I apologize for not chiming in earlier on this. For some reason I didn’t read it until today when I noticed it was a Mamma Deed post.

Great piece of history and glad you put it up. As noted by others the chores involved in keeping a website functional is kinda like running a pre-school for a bunch of sugar amped ATD rugrats.

I feel honored to be on the short list of early guys. I remember I was just a lurker for a long time until one day someone posted an inaccuracy about Chet. It wasn’t mean…it was just inaccurate. I had told myself I wasn’t going to join any forums but a Chet inaccuracy just wouldn’t do, so I signed up and jumped in.

Watching the site evolve (with many “Argh” cyber-grunts from Bax over the years as he slew dragons and took out trash has been an experience in itself.

Ya done good, ol’ Hoss…

Yep, ditto all that. Thanks Baxter.

I was a ten year lurker at the original GDP. Loved Gretsch guitars ever since I got into Brian Setzer and BSO in the 90s. I finally got my first Gretsch in 2012 and my second last year. May collect a few more in time, but for now my 6120N and 6120 DSW cover all the bases.

Thanks for hosting and maintaining this wonderful site over the years, with best wishes for many more.

cheers, Frank_NH

You’ve done a yeoman’s job sir. Thank you most sincerely for creating and sustaining one of my absolute favorite places on the internet.

Tim, thanks for keeping this alive all this time. With all it’s put you through, I would have bailed on running this site years ago if it had been me. Your tenacity has paid off in that you have created the singular good guitar site, and enabled us to be a part of it. It was nice to finally meet you at last year’s NorCal Roundup. May all your Gateways be “Good.”

I haven’t been on my computer very much lately, but a good friend alerted me of this thread and I had to touch base here and offer Bax my thanks for the Gretsch Pages. It has gotten me through some very low spots in my life. Thank you, Tim!

I missed this completely but what a fantastic story to end the day. I was going to ask if the girls at ASU were hot but I’ll table that question for another day.

Instead I sincerely thank you for the site whose members’ input helped me pick out my 1st Gretsch in December 2009. I love this place.

Thanks for keeping logs on this friendly camp fire, and stamping them out when things get out-of-control. Congratulations Baxter!

Baxter… thank you for your dedication in making the GDP happen. The wealth of knowledge & good spirited discussions found here is second to none. - Joe C.

Bax because of this board I’ve met some really great people who I think of as friends. My brother loved it here. When the unthinkable occurred it was bunch of strangers who rallied to support me when Zuma passed away. In some ways more than my own family. These “strangers” where here for me. Many of you are my online family(You know who you are).

What other website does this? Baxter you’ve done something special here.

And thanks for letting me run my own little slice with my Rare BEATLES Photo’s thread. Thanks, Mitch

Thank you all for the kind words.

You are the biggest glutton for punishment of a web monkey ever, Baxter. — Bonedaddy

Yeah, That may be true. But it’s worth it. Most days.

I’m sorry I didn’t mention Deke, Setzer and Rich. Yup, all three have been around for a long, long time. And others I’m not thinking of, too, I’m sure. So If I didn’t mention you, please don’t take offense. I’m honestly kinda surprised how many people HAVE been around on here for so long.

Any chance of resurrecting the MG pages? — Billy Zoom

Nah, other folks have picked up that baton and run with it pretty well. And I think my MG days are done. Although I do find myself jonesing for a “real” Mini.

May all your Gateways be “Good.”

Made me smile.

I was going to ask if the girls at ASU were hot but I’ll table that question for another day.

Yes. Quite.

I posted something but it vanished so I’ll post again and say thank you Bax, this site has brought entertainment, joy, amazing friendships, music, guitar knowledge, love of history and in general great experiences I could have never imagined.

Hats off, kudos, and here’s to 20 more years.

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