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Family-owned music firm celebrates 125 years

A family-owned musical instrument firm is celebrating its 125th anniversary. The US-based Gretsch Company is marking the celebration by introducing limited edition guitars and drums.

"It's quite exciting to reach this remarkable milestone," said president Fred W Gretsch (pictured). "We owe our many years of success to four generations of Gretsch owners and the dedicated men and women on their team who were – and are – passionate about great music and high-quality instruments."

The Gretsch Company began in 1883 when Friedrich Gretsch, a German immigrant, started making banjos, tambourines and other instruments in a Brooklyn factory. The firm became extremely successful during the rock-n-roll boom of the 1950s and 60s. Gretsch instruments have been used by some of the most famous names in music, including Chet Atkins, Charlie Watts, Neil Young and Phil Collins.

Gretsch has been a family business for all but 18 years of its history, when third-generation owner Fred Gretsch Jr sold it to Baldwin Music Company in 1967. As a testament to his passion for the family business, the company's current president, Fred W Gretsch, vowed to one day regain control. In 1985, he made good on his promise and bought The Gretsch Company back from Baldwin.

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