I purchased this 1964 Chet Atkins Gretsch Tennessean guitar (Serial No. 77412) in 1972 at a small shop on Broad Street in downtown Richmond, VA when I was first learning to play guitar. It has “the sound” you find on so many great classic songs from the 1960’s. Chet Atkins used a thumb pick when playing single note leads, but he may be one of the greatest three finger picking style guitarists to help advance the prominence of the guitar as a virtuoso instrument.
See his playing style on and on why he became involved in developing the “Chet Atkins” series of guitars with Gretsch.
Although vintage Gretsch guitars have “the sound” they also have a reputation for pitch instability and difficulty setting intonation. To solve these issues I upgraded the metal bridge to a Tune-O-Matic Bridge while keeping the Bigsby tailpiece for “the sound” (note bending and vibrato) and upgraded to Schaller tuning keys. The pickguard cracked due to drying out of the celluloid and was replaced with a custom-made ebony pickguard by a local luthier. There are normal cracks in the binding and the usual number of scratches and dents for a guitar of this age. See photos. I use Dan Erlewine’s method in How to Make Your Electric Guitar Play Great for maintaining this guitar’s wonderful playability as either lead guitar or a background fingerpicking guitar. The guitar comes with a hard case.
After almost 50 years of owning a “Chet” the time has come for someone else to carry on “the sound.” Happy Pickings!