Chet Atkins names the 10 most influential guitarists
Posted 31 July 2010 - 12:26 PM
Chet names the century's most influential guitarists
Friday December 17, 1999
Chet was asked to name the 10 most influential guitarists of this century. Here is his list, which he amended Jan 8th, 2000 to include an eleventh guitarist:
Django Reinhardt (Chet said he would be number one on the list)
others in no particular order:
I would have had to add Robert Johnson if that were my list....
Posted 31 July 2010 - 01:27 PM
I guess Chet knew what he was talking about. Not too bad of a picker.
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and a herd of ukes, banjos, strumsticks, harmonicas and dulcimers,
making me a "jack of all trades and master of none."
Posted 31 July 2010 - 01:34 PM
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1981 Rickenbacker 320JG
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Posted 31 July 2010 - 02:13 PM
And thank you again, Mr. Atkins, for reminding us one more time what it is to really finger-pick a guitar. Well, now I just HAVE to restring my White Falcon.... and I mean today!!!
Thanks a lot,
Posted 31 July 2010 - 02:33 PM
You have a White Falcon?!!!!! That is one guitar I've ALWAYS lusted after!!! I'm so envious! Without a doubt, the best looking hollow-body electric of all time!!!
Posted 31 July 2010 - 03:12 PM
So mine is the circa 1955 version with a single-cutaway and the Cadillac tailpiece. It's the second one I've owned. Years ago, I played in a 50s & 60s band that did a lot of Hot Rod Car Club shows and retro Record Hops. The White Falcon was plenty flashy enough for those, plus it stayed completely in tune, and it sounded great through my Victoria 310 "Bandmaster". (It also attracted a lot of attention from the car crowds...) My early influences included Chet and Merle Travis, so the Gretsch sound was a perfect fit for my fingerstyle playing. Both White Falcons had great necks. If you like Gretsch guitars, nothing feels just like one. The gold sparkle trim on the current ones is a bit "over the top gawdy", but it looks surprisingly cool under stage lighting.
My Gretsch White Falcon is completely different from my Gibsons, but it does occupy a cool spot in my collection, and on the stage. It is a very distinctive guitar in both sound and appearance. Thanks for asking....
I'll have to work on getting a picture taken and posted. I'm playing tonight so it'll probably be a couple of days. Thanks again for the interest.
Posted 31 July 2010 - 04:35 PM
Gonna buy me a graveyard of my own
Kill everyone who ever done me wrong
Gonna buy me a gun just as long as my arm
Kill everyone who ever done me harm
Posted 31 July 2010 - 07:19 PM
"I play so rough - I stomp 'em"
Posted 31 July 2010 - 10:52 PM
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Posted 01 August 2010 - 11:38 AM
Amen, brother! I love me some Gretsch guitars as well! Here's a 61200 Setzer model I converted to a Gibson-style hardtail. Went in through the bridge pickup hole to install a maple block to support the tail piece studs. You are correct: nothing feels quite like a Gretsch neck, nor sounds like the Filtertron pickups.
Buc on YouTube
Posted 01 August 2010 - 12:36 PM
I saw one interview where Chet said that Tommy was the best guitarist he'd ever seen. And he had seen a lot. But this list is only the most influential......each one of these guys changed the way guitar was played because of what they did.
Posted 01 August 2010 - 01:37 PM
TE is Australian.
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Posted 01 August 2010 - 10:07 PM
Anyway, this guitar is a single-cutaway "1955-style" Model G6136DS with Gretsch's Cadillac (non-bigsby) tailpiece and a pair of single-coil DynaSonic pickups. It is "flashy in the extreme"... but a real rocker ("Gawdy, gawdy, gawdy, Miss Clawdy") and I love it.
I've replaced the stock "Melita" bridge with a real Gibson ABR so I can mute notes with my right palm. I find the "Melita" design makes that technique virtually impossible.
Buc is exactly right. It's in the neck profile that Gretsch really found its unique place in the world of guitars. Their pickups, both the DeArmond-type single-coils and the later Filtertrons contributed greatly to the Gretsch sound. Add some flashy styling and a vibrato tailpiece (if you like them...) and you are there.
Chet Atkins really wanted a neck that was accessible and wide enough to get into, for finger-picking. This is it. Thanks for the interest, wish I was a better photographer.
Posted 04 August 2010 - 08:10 AM
Posted 04 August 2010 - 06:09 PM
The trouble with Top 10 lists is that it's an arbitrary number. Why 10? There may be 9 or 6 or 17 or 1,432 pickers whose influence is more or less equally widespread. It does seem to me that Chet's list is a little heavy on the jazz guys, and I'd have to agree that Robert Johnson belongs in there someplace.
And what about Maybelle Carter? She wasn't exactly a technical whiz like those on the list, but she pretty much single-handedly brought the guitar out of the rhythm section. Hillbillies need a little love, too.
I'd give a vote to Davey Graham as well, for simple virtuosity and for the impact he had on those who came after. British Invasion, anyone?
And I don't see how you can have any kind of list of great guitar players without Doc Watson.
Finally, what about the alt.tuning pioneers? The likes of John Fahey and Joni Mitchell at least deserve consideration.