Vintage Gretsch Guitars

hey Chet 12 dudes.


Ok, so he never used it.. but i should. Maybe only Paul Yandell knew where it is now. - Douglas Charles Birdman

Turns out it's at the RRHOF.


I want it. At least we know where it is. It is probably on loan from the owner Dig that killer wide neck


Interesting that it looks like the pickups are the opposite of his ‘59 model.


The Tenny styled single cut 12 they gave George had same wide neck. Maybe that's why didn't like it and gave it away -- being used to his narrow neck Rick 12.


Bet it's the same neck used on the Van Epps 7 string: extra chunky.


Look at the pickups carefully and then look at the album cover. They are NOT the same pickups as depicted on the album cover. I just this minute looked at the album cover close up and both pickups are Supertrons, although it is difficult to tell from the lighting of the photograph of the album cover whether they are Supertron blade pickups or not. From the picture above, obviously the neck pickup is a standard Filtertron. The only conclusion to draw is the neck pickup was changed out after the album cover was photographed and the logical inference is that Chet Atkins, inveterate tinkerer, changed out the pickup himself


The only conclusion to draw is the neck pickup was changed out after the album cover was photographed and the logical inference is that Chet Atkins, inveterate tinkerer, changed out the pickup himself.

No doubt, Chet played a part in pickup swap, but on whose orders? Marcello? Did he act alone, or were others involved in the pickup swap?

I could never tell for sure from the album cover whether that guitar had painted or open f-holes. Painted it is. Kind of odd that they would have gone with outlined f-holes on a Gent in 1965.

And back to the pickup swap, it makes you wonder why? I'm no Chet scholar, but I've heard it said (mostly around here) that he never used this guitar. I assume that means he never released any electric 12-string recordings that could possibly have been this guitar? If it was really as neglected as people seem to think, maybe he pilfered the SuperTron for another guitar that he actually did use?


Afire, If Chet needed a spare Supertron pickup, Chet could have had Gretsch send him boat loads of pickups any time he wanted and Gretsch would have done so in a heartbeat. It seems more probable to me, therefore, that the neck pickup was changed out on this guitar because Chet himself actually played this guitar at some point and decided he wanted a less treble sound from the neck pickup. That doesn't mean he recorded with the guitar, only that at some point he played it enough to decide he wanted the change. And another point is that it seems likely Gretsch would not have custom made a 12 string for him out of the blue unless he requested one. (The 12 string they made for George Harrison misidentified as a Tennessean when it was actually a 6120 body was made without Harrison asking for it because they were trying to get his endorsement. They already had Chet's endorsement so they wouldn't just make a guitar out of the blue for him unless he asked for it.) Similarly, I have seen video of Chet playing a Country Gentleman with a Floating Sound Unit, a device he was absolutely not fond of and which he certainly never recorded with. The point is he was trying that particular Country Gentleman out and never having much to do with it afterwards and that is, IMO, what happened with the !2-string: He tried it out and then never had much to do with it afterwards


No actual grounds upon which to base this. Pure conjecture on my part, but I would surmise that given the splash that the Beatles were making, and also since Chet was required to release 2 LP's per year at the time, from what I've been told by a quite reliable source, RCA may have strongly suggested that Chet make a Beatles album, and with the man thinking that an electric 12 string would probably need to be a part of that may have caused the guitar to happen. I think Chet was a fan of the Beatles' music, and George Harrison in particular. The 12 string didn't become a part of his regular rotation, but there had to be some thinking behind it happening. Perennial tinkerer and thinker, and also a wonderer. Ray Butts', with his curiosities and abilities, was a good partner in crime for him.

Again, pure conjecture on my part. Always interesting.


Those pickups had push-on connectors so changing them was as easy as changing socks. It's marked as a CG 61852; I'm assuming that's the serial #?


Well clearly this one was never big w/ Chet; just something the company was doing at the time. I still think it's pretty cool. Wooden bridge also?


DCBirdMan it seems very apparent to me that this was custom made for Chet as the 12 strings production models that Gretsch was just getting into at the time were all with 16 inch bodies. This guitar, along with Michael Nesmith's blond Viking 12 string, were 17 inch wide bodies. And the reason for the wooden bridge is that Gretsch had no metal bridge that could accommodate 12 strings and ever-cheapo Gretsch was never going to spend the money to have a tool and dye maker create a metal bridge for such a limited run of guitars -- both the regular run of production 12 strings and these 2 custom guitars


Wooden bridge also?

That's what they did on their standard 12-string guitars too. I've always assumed they did that because it was the easiest bridge to slot for 12 strings.

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