Vintage Gretsch Guitars

Roy Clark’s Gretsch

1

Can anyone identify this guitar? It may be a precursor to the High Roller.

3

I really like the look of that model. I wonder why nothing ever came of it. Maybe there was just too much chaos going on around Gretsch by 1978 to be issuing a new signature model.

4

I like the peavey bass

5

It didn't take off because Chet didn't like it. It was too close to his model.

6

According to the Bacon & Day Gretsch Book; Duke Kramer told them that Chet helped design a guitar that he wanted to call the Hi Roller. Baldwin objected to the suggestion of gambling, so it became two guitars; the Super Axe and the Atkins Axe. They paid Atkins for helping to design the Super Axe, but didn't want his name on it because they would have to pay him a royalty for his name. Baldwin took it to Roy Clark and he liked it and used it. When the suggestion of calling it the Roy Clark model came up, Atkins objected and it was named Super Axe.

7

Call it what you want, Roy could rock a Ukulele. Another missed CGP if you ask me.

Cool guitar!

8

I agree, Roy Clark could play!

9

According to the Bacon & Day Gretsch Book; Duke Kramer told them that Chet helped design a guitar that he wanted to call the Hi Roller. Baldwin objected to the suggestion of gambling, so it became two guitars; the Super Axe and the Atkins Axe. They paid Atkins for helping to design the Super Axe, but didn't want his name on it because they would have to pay him a royalty for his name. Baldwin took it to Roy Clark and he liked it and used it. When the suggestion of calling it the Roy Clark model came up, Atkins objected and it was named Super Axe.

– jaxsun

While Tony is correct about the two Atkins Axes, there were 3 electronics variations and 2 body style variations. The super axe body style and the Roy Clark body style. The real fly in the ointment was that for some reason Chet didn't like Roy. Gene Haugh built both 7683 prototypes for Roy. Roy, according to Larry Kelly, Larry was one of two designers under Tom Kimble from 1977-1980 (responsible for the bst 2000 and 5000) of Gretsch's design department told me recently that although Roy was a really nice guy and a really skilled player, he was a bit of an endorsement whore. According to Gene one day he ran into Chet and told him that Baldwin had told Duke to have him build a variation of the guitar Chet was working on for Roy Clark. Gene wasn't told that Chet wasn't supposed to know about it. The guitar body along with the Model 7617 (later renamed the BST 1000 by Kimble and Gilligan after Edwards left) was the last guitar designs Clyde Edward's built before leaving Baldwin. He and Chet had worked together on it and since Edward's had submitted a patent for it Gene was told nmby Kramer to change the body style so there would be no issues with Atkins or Edwards. The electronics for the Super Axe were designed by a husband and wife team working for John Goss at GMS, who was a subcontractor for Baldwin . John redesigned one of the amps he had just finished bit neglected to go through channels which infuriated Duke because he had just been told that Baldwin was to be consulted and then either approve or disapprove any design changes on the new amp series.. Baldwin then terminated his contract. Subsequently, the potted phaser, compressor, (and distortion in the Model 7640 Super Roc) designs became Baldwin property. Under Morely Thompson, Baldwin had always managed to swoop in and steel the best things others had built or designed. Their desperation would soon become evident with the hiring of hard drinking, but hard working Ben Johnson."

10

Good to see you around. There have been a few Booneville related threads where your input was missed.

The real fly in the ointment was that for some reason Chet didn't like Roy.

Interesting. Sometimes I get the impression that Chet wasn't exactly the most gracious guy, and perhaps a bit full of himself. The only other signature models I can think of in the vintage era were the Monkees, and Van Eps, both from completely different genres than Chet. Perhaps he didn't like the idea of another country hotshot having a signature model.

11

Good to see you around. There have been a few Booneville related threads where your input was missed.

The real fly in the ointment was that for some reason Chet didn't like Roy.

Interesting. Sometimes I get the impression that Chet wasn't exactly the most gracious guy, and perhaps a bit full of himself. The only other signature models I can think of in the vintage era were the Monkees, and Van Eps, both from completely different genres than Chet. Perhaps he didn't like the idea of another country hotshot having a signature model.

– Afire

Van Epps scared Chet, according to a Dan Duffy story. Chet's cigar fell out of his mouth seeing Van Epps play and he refused to go on after Van Epps at a NAMM show.

12

As great as Chet may have been at what he did, let's face it, few, if anybody, in any other genre hold a candle the elite jazz players.

13

If you want to be reminded of Chet's jazz abilities, have a listen to his album Progressive Pickin'. He was no slouch in that arena either.

14

Chet was an interesting fellow. From people I've talked to I gather that he was always very friendly but if he thought you were a spotlight stealer or you were critical of him and he heard about it,,you would never be on his good side again. I've heard he showed his insecurities a little more as he got older but we probably all do that. Great player, but so was Clark. I think that was it. That and the fact thst Chet, (and probably rightfully so), though of Gretsch Guitars as his own brand. Gene told me "If Chet wanted it, he got it." There were a few people in the late 70s that told me there was some resentment at Baldwin over that. Some took to refering to Gretsch guitars, privately as "Chetch"Guitars. Silly but interesting. I am back working on the book. I'm done all the way up to late '76 when Hagner met Bill Clinton on his way to lunch. Pretty funny story.

15

Aww, c'mon. Hagner meets Clinton? Dish please.


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