Chet Atkins - late 50s Gretsch Country Gentleman Prototype guitar.
No serial number, circa 1957 - 59, in walnut finish, headstock with a plaque inscribed "Gretsch Country Gentleman", bound body with single round cutaway, 22 fret bound ebony fingerboard with thumb print inlays, inlayed fake f-holes, two Filter 'Tron pickups, gold hardware, three rotary controls, two selector switches, metal bridge, Bigsby vibrato tailpiece unit and pickguard inscribed "Gretsch".
Chet Atkins (1924-2001) was the first and foremost country guitarist and a finger style virtuoso whose jazz influenced style laid the foundation of the
Nashville guitar sound. He was a major influence in development of rock'n'roll guitar style and Scotty Moore, Elvis Presley's guitar player until 1958, drew heavily on Atkins' style. Atkins' long career that started with working at RCA in Nashville in the early 1940s encompassed sessions with Carters Sisters, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, Everly Brothers and a large body of his own recordings. He is also known for his work as a producer and arranger in Nashville and was responsible as a vice president of RCA country division for signingWeylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton to the label among others. However, Atkins is remembered as one of the greatest guitarists of the 20th century. Gretsch guitar company built a entire range of guitars developed in association with Chet Atkins starting in 1950s. Country Gentleman, introduced in 1957, was the second of Chet Atkins models after Chet Atkins hollow body. It featured a semi-solid body and a metal bridge to assist the instrument's sustain as well as a Bigsby tremolo unit. When the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan show, George Harrison was playing a Chet Atkins Country Gentleman
and as a result, the model became a best seller in the mid 1960s. This guitar was Chet Atkins' personal instrument used for recording and on stage and is said to have been a prototype. Although Atkins later gave this guitar to his brother-in-law, Jethro Burns, in circa 1960, he often borrowed this guitar back to use it in his studio. As a result, the guitar was used extensively
by both Atkins and Burns over the years. The fact that the guitar has no serial number and also has several unusual features such as the absence of zero
fret, which Atkins said in an interview that he had requested Gretsch to add to the production model, seems to substantiate the view that this was a prototype.
The guitar is accompanied by a signed letter of authenticity from Atkin's nephew-in-law, the son of Jethro Burns dated February 2003 and also a report
from George Gruhn dated November 2003. No Reserve.