I’m very pleased with my new song, “Just One.” It was written on my Gretsch Rancher guitar. I wrote a version decades ago right after I bought the guitar. It was okay but wasn’t the song I wanted.
Recently, I started working with it after all those years. I wanted to keep the feeling of the opening lines throughout the song:
“There’s just one God in Heaven,
But we call him different names…”
I believe I did that with the current version of the tune. The events of today really shaped the words. The unique sound of the guitar, different than any I own, really helped to craft the melody and chordal structure of the song.
I have always really liked the sound and look of Gretsch Guitars. They made the official Monkees’ guitars back in the 1960’s. I always wanted one of them, but they were out of my price range at the time.
The Gretsch Company was started in 1883 by a man named Friedrich Gretsch. The company was sold to Baldwin Pianos in 1967. In 1985, the company again came under the control of a Gretsch family member, Fred W. Gretsch, the great grandson of the founder. The company started to make guitars overseas, starting with a commemorative Traveling Wilburys’ guitar.
The company eventually began making classic Gretsch guitar designs overseas. QVC, a company I worked for from 1986 to 2001, started selling an inexpensive but really nice imported Gretsch guitar. As one of the only guitar players on staff, I was chosen to sell it on-air. It played really well and sounded really good.
Several times during the presentation, I told the audience it was an imported Gretsch guitar. Obviously, a lot of people didn’t hear me. QVC received a lot of mail (not a lot of email in the early 90’s) from customers who wanted a refund, even though the guitar played well and sounded fine. QVC has a great return policy and refunded the customers who sent the guitar back.
As I had done for many other products at the Q, I wrote a brief note that was included with every guitar. Along with frequent disclaimers letting customers know they weren’t getting a classic American-made Gretsch for about $100, the note almost eliminated the return problem. I bought one and played it for years before giving it to the daughter of a friend who was beginning to play. She loved it.
A few years later, I found my orange Gretsch Rancher at a music store in West Chester. The adjustable bridge and large body size combined to make a very unusual sound for an acoustic guitar. It inspired me to write several songs, including “Just One.”
Today, it’s one of my favorite guitars. It might even have another song like “Just One” hiding somewhere deep inside. I’ll let you know.
Here’s the YouTube link for the song, “Just One.”