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drathbun

The Great Chet Atkins

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I could listen to this man all day all night long. He makes what looks impossible seem easy. He had style and grace, was a magnificent human being and a consummate professional. He was one of the greatest guitarist ever.

 

This Gibson Chet Atkins Nylon is a fascinating instrument too. I wondered if it was chambered because it looks heavy. I have a Godin Multiac that has a mahogany body and cedar top but it is heavily chambered and actually feels and sound pretty lively unplugged. Does anyone have one of these?

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jwTD89Ry28

 

and of course, a double whammy of Gibsons and GREATS! Chet Atkins and Les Paul:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IOBVTdHZiw

 

Chet earned 14 Grammy awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and nine Country Music Association awards for Instrumentalist of the Year. He was also a hugely successful record producer with RCA Nashville and created what was known as the "Nashville Sound".

 

When Chet was a guest on Johnny Cash's television show, Johnny introduced Chet with a poem he said he had written that very day and recited it while Chet played in the background. After Chet was finished his set, Cash met Atkins onstage and Chet said "Johnny, I want to thank you for that great poem. I'm going to take that home and frame it and I'll treasure it all the rest of my life."

 

It was a very touching moment between two great artists. Here is the poem:

 

The hands of the baker and the candlestick maker

Are those of a skilful man

The thread of the tailor and the ropes of the sailor

Are tied by knowing hands

 

The watchmaker's eye and the light to see by

And hands that are calm and sure

Make the tiniest springs do the tiniest things

And long has the skill endured

 

It matters no the job you've got

as long as you do it well

But things that are made by plans well laid

The test of time will tell

 

But how can you count or know the amount

Of the value of a man

By the melodies played and the beauty made

By the touch of Chet Atkin's hands

Edited by drathbun

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Chet Atkins not only was a great player, but he also helped a lot of musicians in their careers. Regarding his nylon string guitar that he designed, I have no clue how it’s constructed, but I once read that his motivation for it was he had not found a nylon string guitar that could be amped to his liking, so he set out to design one when he signed on as a Gibson endorser/representative.

 

QM aka Jazzman Jeff

Edited by QuestionMark

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Big Chet fan here.

At one point I had the following models-

Gibson CE

Gibson SST

Gibson Country Gentleman

Gretsch Super Chet

Gretsch Country Gentleman

Gretsch Chet Roundup

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Another Chet Atkins fan here. In particular, his collaborations with Jerry Reed, Les Paul, Jethro Burns, Mark Knopfler, and Merle Travis. Was just listening to an Atkins-Reed CD earlier in the day - such beautiful stuff.

 

Don't know the construction details re his nylon string model, but feel fortunate to own a red 1990 Gibson Chet Atkins Tennessean. 1990 was the initial year of production, and it differs from all later years by sporting a clear pickguard & TRC, painted silver on the back. Also, there is no armrest (which appeared on later models).

 

Atkins had very specific preferences re the specifications of his signature models, and one of the primary reasons he switched to Gibson, was that Gibson was a willing partner in accommodating those preferences.

Edited by bobouz

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Ok - I need to admit I'm not wise in the ways of Chet Atkins, what would be a few songs for a sampling of his good stuff?

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Ok - I need to admit I'm not wise in the ways of Chet Atkins, what would be a few songs for a sampling of his good stuff?

 

 

Look up (on youTube maybe) Chet Atkins' version of Mister Sandman, and then Silver Bells.

 

I can recommend Yakety Axe, and of course I'll See You In My Dreams.

 

Those are a good start.

 

If you can find the 1959 album Mr Guitar, get that. It's a treasure trove of Chet Atkins goodness.

 

:)

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Ok - I need to admit I'm not wise in the ways of Chet Atkins, what would be a few songs for a sampling of his good stuff?

 

In the case of Chet Atkins’ guitar playing, I think it can be said that there was only good stuff. I can’t think of a ringer in his entire catalog. Everything he played was in his classy well thought out style with his well thought out arrangements. But, that is just his solo work for starters. For his backup guitar work to other artists (which differed from his solo style), for starters I recommend checking out his incredible guitar licks on Elvis Presley’s song Heartbreak Hotel.

 

QM aka “Jazzman” Jeff

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one of my favorite Chet stories, someone was telling him how GOOD the thought his guitar sounded. Chet put the guitar on the floor and said "How's it sound now?"

 

 

Ok - I need to admit I'm not wise in the ways of Chet Atkins, what would be a few songs for a sampling of his good stuff?

 

Bill the guy was a grand master, you can start anywhere!

 

however, Neck And Neck is a pretty cool album (Knofler and Atkins guitar dueling.. it is pretty awesome)

 

 

Edited by kidblast

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Chet and Les, and Mel, each from my earliest days [thumbup]

Edited by Hall

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fab player who developed a lot of innovative products re-guitars and helped design guitars and parts and recording methods-CA was one of the greatest...

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The "Chet" guitar production was moved to Montana in 2003 in a turf battle between Nashville and Bozeman. The bodies were made of solid Mahogany that were indeed chambered to lighten them and let the tops be more resonant. This process was done on a CNC machine.

 

I won't bore you with the details but will say this. Mr.Atkins was the nicest guy and very generous with his time. He was the best endorsee Gibson had and a joy to work with.

 

Mr. Atkins was a very good friend to Christopher Parkening and after playing a concert here in Bozeman he and Parkening and Paul Yandell sat in a hotel suite here in Bozeman and played for about an hour. Mr. Atkins was a brilliant Classical guitarist and when he and Parking were playing it was quite obvious he was every bit as good a Parkening.

 

Sorry for hijacking this thread.

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The "Chet" guitar production was moved to Montana in 2003 in a turf battle between Nashville and Bozeman. The bodies were made of solid Mahogany that were indeed chambered to lighten them and let the tops be more resonant. This process was done on a CNC machine.

 

I won't bore you with the details but will say this. Mr.Atkins was the nicest guy and very generous with his time. He was the best endorsee Gibson had and a joy to work with.

 

Mr. Atkins was a very good friend to Christopher Parkening and after playing a concert here in Bozeman he and Parkening and Paul Yandell sat in a hotel suite here in Bozeman and played for about an hour. Mr. Atkins was a brilliant Classical guitarist and when he and Parking were playing it was quite obvious he was every bit as good a Parkening.

 

Sorry for hijacking this thread.

 

No Hijack at all Hogeye! This is precisely the kind of information I'm looking for. I'm fascinated by Chet Atkins even though I hated country music with a passion for years. Atkins showed that good music transcends all. His plethora of styles is dizzying. Just watching him play one musical selection he seamlessly blends Travis picking, clawhammer, banjo rolls, flatpicking (with thumbpick), alternate picking, strumming, Paul McCartney style thumb and index finger brush and even sweep picking. And that is just his right hand! Holy Schmeck!

 

Your comments about his being the "nicest guy" seem to be universally felt by all who were lucky enough to meet him.

 

Thanks for the insights Hogeye!

 

Oh, and here is my favourite version of Mr. Sandman. So effortless and with that little smile and wink. Look at those clothing styles!!!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-c66SJPuUI

Edited by drathbun

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Oh, and here is my favourite version of Mr. Sandman. So effortless and with that little smile and wink. Look at those clothing styles!!!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-c66SJPuUI

 

Agree with you on that one.

 

Looks like the back-up guitarist is playing maybe a blonde L-5C, but the body looks massively deep.

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aww i almost cried, that was one of my mom's favorite song msp_wub.gif i will try to learn how to play it Chet style hehe

No Hijack at all Hogeye! This is precisely the kind of information I'm looking for. I'm fascinated by Chet Atkins even though I hated country music with a passion for years. Atkins showed that good music transcends all. His plethora of styles is dizzying. Just watching him play one musical selection he seamlessly blends Travis picking, clawhammer, banjo rolls, flatpicking (with thumbpick), alternate picking, strumming, Paul McCartney style thumb and index finger brush and even sweep picking. And that is just his right hand! Holy Schmeck!

 

Your comments about his being the "nicest guy" seem to be universally felt by all who were lucky enough to meet him.

 

Thanks for the insights Hogeye!

 

Oh, and here is my favourite version of Mr. Sandman. So effortless and with that little smile and wink. Look at those clothing styles!!!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-c66SJPuUI

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Many years ago Mr. Atkins was visiting in Bozeman and he stopped by the plant. A brilliant young lady named Muriel Anderson was there and was a frequent visitor that summer as she was part of Christopher Parkening's masters class. They were chatting about guitars and actually swapping tunes and just as Mr. Atkins was about to leave Muriel asked if he had time for one more song. He gave us that wry smile of his and said, "I have time for two". He picked up his guitar and played "Humoresque" and "Suwanee River" at the same time. "Humoresque" on the bass strings and "Suwanee River on the treble set. Needless to say we were all speechless.

 

I tried for years but could never make my mind work out the rhythm. I could play them both but could never get the rhythm to knit the two together. There was a transcription of it written by Mr. Atkins. I found it in "Guitar Player" magazine 10 or so years later. I finally learned how to play the damn thing.

 

If you ever get a chance to see Muriel in person don't miss it. She is amazing and very easy on the eyes as well.

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At the risk of offending, I'm posting this YouTube video "A Tribute to Chet Atkins". The video was produced as part of a celebration of 60 years of Gretsch guitars, but this is about Chet Atkins. It is 52 minutes long, but listening to people like Doyle Dykes, Duane Eddy, Jimmy Capps, Pat Bergeson and Richard Smith swap stories and talk about Chet and play his songs is totally worth the time and I recommend it.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jC1xrYF0MM

Edited by drathbun

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I've gotten lost you-tubing Chet Atkins many times. This colab with Knopfler was great for an aging young rocker like me to familiarize myself with his work.

 

One thing I always admired about Country music is it's social qualities. Atkins seemed to soak up those moments.

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