Oral History -

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James Kleeman was called the “Professor” around the NAMM headquarters. He was thought of respectfully for his role in establishing NAMM’s professional development department. While serving as NAMM’s President from 1983-1985, Jim played a significant role in establishing the way NAMM served its members. Jim was a music educator and owner of Karnes Music in Illinois.

Gershon Kingsley composed several hit recordings using the Moog synthesizer in the very early days of electronic music. His mega hit “Popcorn” in 1969 led to a series of pioneering electronic recordings by Gershon, including “God is a Moog” and “Belly Buttons,” which featured a Fairlight synthesizer. 

Lowell Kiesel, as the founder of the southern California guitar company Carvin, joined the ranks with Leo Fender, Paul A. Bigsby, and the Rickenbacker Company, in establishing the new era of electric guitar. In 1946 he formed L. C. Kiesel Company winding pickups on an old sewing machine.  As the company grew and the product line began to connect with musicians around the world, Lowell changed the name of the company to Carvin, after his sons Carson and Gavin.

Carson Kielsel discussed the entire history of Carvin Guitars during his interview. As the son of the founder and long time president, Carson provided insight as to the growth and development of the company. Carson expanded the visibility of the company and its products with noted endorsement deals and memorable product displays at the NAMM show over the years.

Glenn Howard was the first salesman hired by the Winter Piano Company following World War II. Raised in Marshalltown, Iowa, Glen was the son of a real estate broker who fell on hard times during the Great Depression.

Arthur Gurwitz joined Southern Music Company in the late 1940s, soon after his military service during World War II. He expanded the business into publishing, and soon the Southern Music catalog became one of the best known around the world. Arthur played a vital role in the growth and development of the company and the industry as he sought to publish composers who may have otherwise been forgotten. Active in the industry, Arthur served as president of Music Industry Conference (1978-1980) and later on the Music Publishers Association (MPA) Board.

Franco Guccini expanded the family’s cane business of basket making to the creation of reeds for musical instruments. As president of Marca: Aches Reeds Canas Accessories established in 1957), he has developed a unique process of cutting, drying and shaping the cane.

Carlo Greco was known throughout the world as one of the premier guitar luthiers. Yet, if you ever got to meet him, he was a very humble man who brushed off compliments with a smile. After a long association as chief designer for Guild Guitars, Carlo joined his dear friend, Alex Carozza, in New York’s top repair shop, Alex Music, on 48th Street.

Mel Graner was a school band director for nearly 30 years--it was in his blood and he very much enjoyed each class. When the school district let him go to hire a younger teacher, he was not yet ready to retire or give up on teaching music. He opened Graner Music in Colorado Springs, CO, and continued teaching both by providing lessons and by imparting knowledge to his customers. He was raised on a farm and has held on to many of the values he gleaned from those early years, including the idea of helping your neighbors.

Terry Gibbs seems to live for the vibes! As a legendary jazz percussionist, Terry’s power and unique style of mallet playing has singled him out as one of the top vibraphonists in the history of jazz. Being influenced by Red Norvo and Lionel Hampton, Terry gave the vibes a fresh new sound in the pre- and post-Bebop eras.