News & Events

Bigsby Exhibits at USPTO Trademark Expo

National Trademark Expo

National Trademark Expo

The Bigsby Division of the Gretsch Company was honored to participate at the 2009 Trademark Expo presented by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The event was held at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia on May 8th and 9th. The goal of the annual Expo is to educate the public about the important role that trademarks and patents play in our society and global marketplace.

Over 7,000 visitors were said to have attended the two-day Expo that featured seminars on the basics of trademarks, what every small business should know about intellectual property, and counterfeiting and piracy. The event opened with loud applause as a cast of iconic trademark costumed characters including Betty Boop, Popeye, Olive Oyl and The Cat in the Hat were introduced. The Air Force Band’s Ceremonial Brass Quintet played classic American anthems. Congressman Jim Moran spoke and presented a plaque to USPTO officials containing remarks he introduced into the Congressional Record hailing the National Trademark Expo. He then joined Acting USPTO Director, John Doll and Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Operations, Debbie Cohn to cut the opening ribbon along with the help of Dennis the Menace and Curious George!

Fred Gretsch and Patent Attorney William Berridge

Fred Gretsch and Patent Attorney William Berridge

Bigsby was able to demonstrate the practical use of trademarks and patents as applied to something as fun and universal as making music. Bigsby was one of sixteen companies selected to exhibit from over one hundred applicants. Visitors included business owners, trademark attorneys, patent office employees, families and school children all excited to see and play the guitars on display while learning about the value of trademarks and patents. Many were surprised to learn how much the Bigsby inventions have impacted popular music as created by artists like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

The Bigsby/Gretsch display featured information on the company’s history, including the fact that Gretsch owns a registration for the configuration of a Bigsby-design guitar, as well as for the surname Bigsby. The display showcased the importance of Bigsby trademarks and the impact they have as source identifiers in the marketplace. Like most effective trademarks, the very shape of Bigsby tailpieces identifies them-even at a distance, when the brand name cannot be read. This allows Bigsby-equipped guitars to be recognized on concert stages and video broadcasts.

Company owner Fred Gretsch stated, “At a time when trademark protection and intellectual property rights are on top of all music industry action lists it was an honor to be selected by the USPTO to participate in the 2009 National Trademark Expo at their headquarters in Alexandria, VA. The USPTO team enthusiastically supports rights owners through attendance at NAMM shows, their national expo, and an extensive online web site. We encourage the music industry to make good use of these exceptional resources.”

The USPTO Headquarters

The USPTO Headquarters

For over 200 years, the role of the USPTO has been to promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for limited times to inventors the exclusive right to their respective discoveries. The strength and vitality of the U.S. economy depends directly on effective mechanisms that protect new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity. The continued demand for patents and trademarks underscores the ingenuity of American inventors and entrepreneurs. Through the issuance of patents, the USPTO encourages technological advancement by providing incentives to invent, invest in, and disclose new technology worldwide. Through the registration of trademarks, the agency assists businesses in protecting their investments, promoting goods and services, and safeguarding consumers against confusion and deception in the marketplace.

The Gretsch Company plans to continue working closely with the USPTO in an effort to strengthen trademark and patent protection for music industry manufacturers while eliminating the proliferation of counterfeit instruments wherever they may be produced.

News & Events

Bigsby To Exhibit At USPTO Trademark Expo

Bigsby Patent Drawing

Bigsby Patent Drawing

The Bigsby Division of the Gretsch Company will be exhibiting at the 2009 Trademark Expo presented by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on May 8 and 9. The event will be held at USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The goal of the Expo is to educate the public about the important role that trademarks play in our society and in the global marketplace.

One hundred companies applied to exhibit at the expo. The Bigsby Division of Gretsch was one of sixteen to be selected, in recognition of its distinctive tremolo tailpieces for guitars. The unique trademarked shape of Bigsby tailpieces will be in company at the Expo with internationally familiar trademarks belonging to Travelers insurance, Hershey chocolate products, UPS, and Bridgestone tires.

Gretsch guitars have featured Bigsby vibrato tailpieces for more than forty-five years. So when Bigsby owner Ted McCarty wished to retire in 1999, it was a natural progression to make Bigsby a part of the Gretsch Guitar Company. Says company owner Fred Gretsch, “Gretsch and Bigsby are often thought of together. Now we’re one company.”

The Bigsby/Gretsch display at the USPTO Expo is slated to include information on the company’s history, including the fact that Gretsch owns a registration for the configuration of a Bigsby-design guitar, as well as for the surname Bigsby. The display will also demonstrate the importance of Bigsby trademarks and the impact they have as source identifiers in the marketplace. Like most effective trademarks, the very shape of Bigsby tailpieces identifies them-even at a distance, when the brand name cannot be read. This allows Bigsby-equipped guitars to be recognized on concert stages and video broadcasts.

The inherent distinctiveness of the Bigsby tailpiece design has aided the Gretsch Company in getting the protectable portions registered. This, in turn, has helped Gretsch to pursue its campaign (as part of the Electric Guitar Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition) to stem the proliferation of counterfeit instruments wherever they are manufactured.

The world-wide proliferation of counterfeit instruments underscores the importance of strong trademark protection, along with the impact of creative and recognizable trademark designs. The USPTO Expo will address these issues with displays from Bigsby and the other participants, along with lectures, tours, and educational activities for children.

For more information on the Expo, go to www.uspto.gov.

News & Events

The Story of Paul Bigsby

Paul Bigsby Book

Paul Bigsby Book

“The history of the solidbody electric guitar has been documented many times, and important early innovators include George Beauchamp, Adolph Rickenbacker, Doc Kauffman, Lloyd Loar, and Paul Tutmarc. It’s widely accepted that Les Paul and Leo Fender were responsible for sparking the electric guitar revolution and making invaluable contributions. However, their work might not have been possible without the man who had designed and built the first modern solidbody electric guitar.”

“That man was Paul Adelbert Bigsby. He made the first modern solidbody electric for musician Merle Travis, completing the instrument in May 1948. Nothing like it had been seen before. Every electric guitarist today should be grateful that Paul Bisgby did what he did back then. He changed the look and sound of the guitar forever.”

This untold story of Paul Bigsby is documented for the first time and will also tell how Bigsby, using his engineering mind and problem-solving skills, designed and developed a revolutinary guitar vibrato that is still considered by many as the best type ever built-the Bigsby True Vibrato.

Book features include:

* Deluxe, well-illustrated coffee table book with over 300 color and black-and-white photos
* Many unpublished photos of over 50 actual Bigsby instrument photos
* An audio CD of Paul Bigsby himself, recorded in the late 1950s, telling stories about his business

A special, deluxe collector’s edition features a black leather cover and clamshell slipcase.
Order your Collector’s Edition now at Gretschgear.com!

News & Events

Arlington Guitar Show – October 2008

Arlington Guitar Show

Arlington Guitar Show

In the world of guitar shows, nothing is larger or more grand than the Arlington Texas show. Guitar enthusiasts from around the globe convened to experience guitar heaven on October 18-19. Everyone on hand was treated to a truly mind-boggling array of instruments. Bigsby was in attendance displaying the full line of original vibratos and accessories. Installation demonstrations were performed throughout the weekend on a variety of guitars including Gretsch, Fender, and Bigsby. Throngs of folks stopped by the booth to ask questions, check out the line and share stories

The Arlington show even saw a couple of ‘vintage’ Bigsby stories come to the surface. Two gentlemen stopped by to share their stories of dealing with Paul Bigsby in the mid 1950s. One even saved the pricelist and information the Mr. Bigsby gave him so many years ago-wow! Never one to disappoint; this years Arlington Guitar Show lived up to its reputation as the flagship of shows… thanks for a wonderful show!

News & Events

Bay Area Guitar Show – July 2008

Bigsby on Display

Bigsby on Display

July 26-27 saw thousands of guitars, amplifiers, and music enthusiasts converge on the Marin Civil Center in San Rafael, CA. The Bigsby booth was positioned just inside the main entrance where it received lots of attention. Many folks stopped by to tell their Bigsby story and check out the full line of vibratos. Bigsby was not limited to the retro-fitted instruments in our booth, people were treated to a variety of Bigsby equipped guitars throughout the show.

Our installation demonstrations drew a lot of attention and inspired a few people to go home and undertake their own Bigsby project. A number of young people stopped by to see what all the commotion was and learned about the product. One even mentioned that its the ‘thing on Joe Perry’s guitar in Guitar Hero’! The Bay Area World Guitar Show was a great success for Bigsby; I think a gentlemen who stopped by said it best “Its a great pleasure to see Bigsby here, thank you!”

News & Events

Bigsby at Summer NAMM – June 2008

Bigsby Vibratos on Display

Bigsby Vibratos on Display

After a 3 year absence the Summer NAMM Show returned to Music City USA. The 3-day event was held in the Nashville Convention Center in the heart of downtown, just across the street from the Ryman Auditorium–historic home of the Grand ole Opry. The Summer NAMM is always anticipated as a great time to see and hear the latest musical products. Once again this show proved to be just that.

Nashville is home to some of the finest guitar and pedal-steel players on the planet. Guitars usually get top billing for Summer NAMM, and this show was no exception. Manufacturers from around the globe displayed their latest and greatest creations. Many of these 6-string creations feature the best vibrato on the planet…Bigsby.

The complete Bigsby line of vibratos were on display in booth 700. Adam Seutter was in the booth demonstrating a basic installation of both the B5 and B7 models. The guitars used for the hourly installation demonstrations were solid-bodied and arch top electrics. They were selected to show the most typical guitars likely to receive a Bigsby upgrade. Guests once again, were enlightened to see how simple it is to install a Bigsby Trem. The B5 model is still one of the most versatile due to its compact design and ability to easily mount to any flat-top guitar.

Bigsby apparel and all Gretsch Gear were also on display as well as the new T-shirts, polo shirts, and work apparel celebrating the Gretsch 125th year anniversary. Thom Bresh stopped by for a special visit showing off the new Martin Merle Travis guitar with custom Bigsby neck. This instrument is a replica of his father’s famous Bigsby guitar. As we know, it was one of 3 or 4 prototype instruments made so far. Another great show for Bigsby, see you next time!

Next Page »