Tag Archives: Chet Atkins

GretschTech: Switches Everywhere …

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How does the switching work on Gretsch guitars?

Of the approximately 100 Gretsch electric guitar and bass guitar models available today, about half of them have a single switch on the upper bout. The other half have two switches on the upper bout. A dozen or so models even have a switch on the lower bout.

Welcome to the wonderfully idiosyncratic world of Gretsch switch configurations, which can differ quite substantially from other guitars. Once you fully understand what’s going on under your Gretsch guitar’s hood, we think you’ll agree that the switching layouts are really quite sensible. Ingenious, even. Here’s the deal …

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Chet Atkins Exhibit Extended At Country Music Hall Of Fame

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The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s special exhibition Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player, which was originally scheduled to close on June 11, has been extended through July 15.

The exhibit is being held over in part to accommodate members of the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society, who will visit Nashville in July.

The extension also allows the museum to present additional public programs exploring the Hall of Fame member’s robust career and lasting influence.   Among the upcoming programming highlights are an April 28 interview with music executive Jerry Bradley, and a May 5 concert saluting Jerry Reed.

Bradley will sit down with museum Senior Historian John Rumble for an interview at 1:30 p.m. in the museum’s Ford Theater. Bradley, son of Country Music Hall of Fame member Owen Bradley, learned record engineering and production from his father before working at RCA Records with Chet Atkins. First Atkins’ assistant then his successor, Bradley headed RCA Nashville from 1973–82. He signed Alabama and Ronnie Milsap, among others, and contributed greatly to the creation of country music’s “Outlaw”movement. Bradley will discuss his career and the influence Atkins had on it.

On May 5, Guitar Man: A Tribute to Jerry Reed, a concert celebrating the music of Chet Atkins’ friend and collaborator, will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the museum’s Ford Theater. Reed was known for his innovative fingerstyle guitar playing; his catalog of boisterous country hits including “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” and “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)”; and his good-humored film roles (Smokey and the Bandit).

Atkins helped shepherd Reed’s career at RCA, recorded dozens of his musical compositions and gave him the coveted honorary designation certified guitar player (c.g.p.).  Thom Bresh, Craig Dobbins, John Knowles c.g.p., Brent Mason, Richard Smith, Mark Thornton, Darrell Toney and Sean Weaver, backed by a house band of Steve Bryant, Ric McClure and Matt Raum, will perform their favorite Reed tunes.

Both programs, offered as part of the special exhibition Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player, made possible through the generous support of the Gretsch Company with additional support provided by Great American Country Television Network, are included with museum admission and free to museum members.

The Ford Theater offers limited seating. Museum ticket or membership does not guarantee entry to museum programs. Both programs will also be streamed live here.

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Country Music H.O.F. To Hold Chet Atkins Programs In March

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The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will present two special programs next month in support of the exhibition Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player.

On March 3, The Life and Times of Chet Atkins by Dr. Richard Hood will be presented in the museum’s Ford Theater.  Hood, an Atkins scholar and finger-style guitarist himself, will trace Atkins’ life from his rural childhood to his career as a legendary guitarist and producer. Ben Hall and Eddie Pennington, both winners of the National Thumbpicking Championship, will perform selections from the Atkins catalog. Pennington will also present a thumbpick guitar demonstration on March 4.

Then on March 17, the museum will host Chet Atkins at Studio B, a panel discussion featuring some of Atkins’ closest associates.  RCA crossover artists Bobby Bare (“Detroit City”) and Jim Ed Brown (“The Three Bells”), background singer Delores Dinning Edgin, studio guitarist Ray Edenton, and hit songwriter John D. Loudermilk (“Abilene”) will share stories of their work with Atkins, providing insights into what made him one of country music’s most successful producers of all time. The program will be streamed live on the Country Music Hall of Fame’s official website.

Following the panel discussion, Hall will present The House That Chet Built: A Chet Atkins Tour of Historic RCA Studio B. This unique guided tour will show how Atkins worked in his longtime recording home, logging many hours as a musician and a producer and cutting records that helped define the classic Nashville sound.

For tickets and more information, click here.

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Country Music Hall Of Fame To Hold Chet Atkins Concert Screening

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This Sunday at 2 p.m., the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville will screen a legendary concert film featuring Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed from 1992.

Taped at the Bottom Line, the duo scheduled the show after putting out a Grammy Award-winning album titled Sneakin’ Around.

The two finger-style guitar giants banter on stage and play such tunes as “Waltz for the Lonely,” “Vincent,” “Three Little Words.”

Fellow guitarists Pat Bergeson and Paul Yandell also contribute to the concert.

The screening is being held as part of the Chet Atkins: Certified Guitar Player exhibit.

For more information, visit the exhibit’s website, and view part of the Atkins and Reed show below:

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Harrison Lands At No. 11 In Rolling Stone‘s Greatest Guitarists

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As 2011 wound down, Rolling Stone compiled a list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, and George Harrison stands at No. 11 among the prolific list of virtuoso musicians.

In the early-December issue of the magazine, Tom Petty offered Harrison high praise.

Wrote Petty:

“George Harrison and I were once in a car and the Beatles song ‘You Can’t Do That‘ came on, with that great riff in the beginning on the 12-string. He goes, ‘I came up with that.’ And I said, ‘Really? How?’ He said, ‘I was just standing there and thought, “I’ve got to do something!’

“That pretty much sums him up. He just had a way of getting right to the business, of finding the right thing to play. That was part of that Beatles magic – they all seemed to find the right thing to play.”

Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page earned the top three slots on the list, with Keith Richards, Jeff Beck, B.B. King, Chuck Berry, Eddie Van Halen, Duane Allman and Pete Townshend rounding out the top 10.

Gretsch signature artists Chet Atkins and Bo Diddley came in at Nos. 21 and 27, respectively.

“His style was outrageous,” Keith Richards told RS of Diddley; it suggested “that the kind of music we loved didn’t just come from Mississippi. It was coming from somewhere else.”

“I think he influenced everybody who picked up a guitar,” Duane Eddy said of Atkins to Rolling Stone.

Eddy himself was also honored on this list, coming in at No. 64.

“If there was any doubt left in the late 1950s that the guitar – not the saxophone – was rock & roll’s essential lead instrument, Duane Eddy settled the argument: See his 1958 single ‘Rebel Rouser,’ curled with country twang and rippling with tremolo,” noted the music mag of the Gretsch signature artist.

For the full list, click here.

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