Vintage Gretsch Guitars

The Skinny Chet Mystery Guitar

1

I have a Gretsch price list dated June 1, 1974 and it lists a mystery model which I have never ever seen, nor do I know anyone who has. The guitar is named the "Skinny Chet", model number 7680, and it is priced at $895, which makes it $100 cheaper than the Super Chet at that time and $100 more than the Country Gentleman and the Viking in a natural finish at that time. Based on the pricing alone, I would surmise that this guitar model was a thinner version -- perhaps on 2" thick -- of the Super Chet, and given that thickness, without the side binding inlay of the Super Chets. But that is just an educated guess. Does anyone know anything about this model?????

2

The 7680 was the Super Axe model.

NOTE: This one, in the sunburst finish, had a model number of 7682.

3

Ric12String -- Isn't June 1, 1974 way earlier in time than when the first Super Axe's appeared? If the Super Axe didn't appear until much later, say 1977 or so, then it merely appropriated the model number of the Skinny Chet. I know Chet Atkins wanted to call the Super Axe the "High Roller" (after the dice-like fingerboard inlays) but Baldwin rejected that due to the association with gambling but I have never heard of the name "Skinny Chet" as an alternative. One of the Gretsch Pages members -- it might be Windsordave -- has the original Super Axe prototype pictured in the most widely seen Chet Atkins Super Axe ad and that guitar's serial number would tell us about the dating of when the Super Axes actually went into production and whether it is, therefore, in fact the Skinny Chet.

4

7680 was also the Deluxe Chet. When did the Super Axe come out? I was going to say that maybe "Skinny Chet" was the proto-name for the Super Axe (it's skinny and it's Chet), but I don't see the Super Axe in even the '75 catalog, so '74 would be too early for it to be referring to the same model as the Super Axe. Maybe they thinned down the Deluxe Chet and called it Skinny Chet.

5

Windsordave made the following post in another thread a couple of years ago that included a reference to the "Skinny Chet".

I contacted the fellow who has the Baldwin Era website, Mike Jones about this guitar to ask about the pickguard wheeled controls, thinking this wasn't something Chet would've wanted but as it turns out he along with designer Dean Porter endorsed it, it coming from a Burns/Baldwin design. Fellow designers Bill Hagner and Clyde Edwards didn't but it went into production anyway. Part of the reason Chet liked this concept was that Gretsch was gearing up for a boutique guitar design - no custom shop back then - but made as a production guitar. Another note is that the neck change occurred in '74 sometime he says and it was known as the 'skinny' Chet.

6

Ric12string, the pickguard wheeled controls sounds like Windsordave is talking about a Super Chet. Windsordave, please chime in here and clarify.

7

Well folks, I can give you info on Chet's prototype (Western Orange) Super Axe which is S/N 12-6016, making it a Dec '76 build, 16th guitar. This gives us an introduction timeline for this model and the Deluxe Chet. I do believe there were more than one 'prototypes' of this model, for different guitarists, Roy Clark being one who performed with this model. Beyond him, I just don't know.

It wasn't too long ago IIRC, sometime last year, there was a brief mention of the Skinny Chet model. Not its own thread I don't believe but it came up in another one. My memory is very fuzzy on this as it was only a brief mention but it did describe what the model was, and it was either very late '60's or into the '70's. I want to say it was a variation on the Gent, referencing Chet's name in the model's name, which makes sense, but don't take this to the bank.

Hopefully we'll get the person with this Skinny Chet info to chime in.

8

When Gretsch changed the SC neck from the wider 1.75" width [at the zero fret] and deep D-shaped profile to the standard 1.685" width and profile around '74, I can see that SC model being given a nickname of Skinny Chet, but it being in the catalogue I'm not so sure. Does that catalogue or pricelist, list the Super Chet, Deluxe Chet and the Skinny Chet or is one left out?

In previous discussion I've been re-reading, JC was very interested in this conundrum so perhaps he knows something else to add.

9

The June 1, 1974 price list lists the Super Chet in 2 separate model numbers for the 2 colors of Autumn Red and Walnut. There is no listing for the Deluxe Chet which, if I recall correctly, was discontinued in 1973 which was within about a year of its introduction because the model did not sell at all. The Skinny Chet is listed as model 7680. Beginning with Windsordave's prototype in December of 1976, the Superaxe took over that model number 7680. So basically the model number 7680 was the designation for this mystery Skinny Chet from 1974 until it, too, was discontinued. The Skinny Chet appears to certainly NOT be the Deluxe Chet because it had already been discontinued and that model had its own name to begin with.


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