Chet Atkins and the Del Vecchio

Discussion of history's greatest guitar player.

Chet Atkins and the Del Vecchio

Postby guitarchuck » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:50 pm

Okay, I'll start this off by saying, I just sold my Gibson Chet Atkins SST and bought a Del Vecchio. This one is supposed to be a good one that don't need rebuilt. I hope that to be the case. It does have the pickup, volume & tone knobs, which I didn't really want, but it don't bother me that much. I've had Del Vecchio's in the past. One was complete junk and I sent it right back to the music store. One needed a cone and some other work, I didn't keep it long either. The 3rd one had a pickup, it sounded real good, but the neck had a slight warp. (I had a Conrad clone too.) Anyway, I'm exicited to get a Del Vecchio again, and I hope it is really good.

Anyway, in my excitement I've been going through my Chet Atkins recordings and I'm amazed at how much he recorded with a Del Vecchio guitar! I've counted over 70 tracks! Chet really loved the sound of the Del Vecchio. In fact if I remember right in one interview he was asked what his favorite guitar was and he said it was the Del Vecchio. He even tried to get Gretsch to build one, but it didn't turn out so good I guess.
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Re: Chet Atkins and the Del Vecchio

Postby Norm » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:26 am

They're an odd duck. They're the only ones that sound like they do as far as I've heard. McGill built one for Chet and as far as we know he never used it much it or recorded with it.

Sloppily made but, again, they're the only ones that sound like that.

Chet liked his but admitted they weren't much good for chording but dynamite for melody playing
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

Audio samples: http://www.youtube.com/user/acountrygent/videos
That should do it.
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Re: Chet Atkins and the Del Vecchio

Postby PhilHunt » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:01 am

One thing that I found out with the Del vecchio is that you have to tinker with it to get that Chet sound. Try different strings, try different saddle material, shift the biscuit (but be careful....don't collapse the cone).
I use a a metal 9,11,plain 17, Nylon silverplated string 4th,5th and 6th.
It also helps to get a nice downward bend on the trapeze tailpiece....if you don't have the downward pressure the strings will rattle at the saddle and you don't get a good projection.
I've tinkered with mine alot since I got it. I'm eventually gonna get a shorter tailpiece and put on it and install some fine tuners in between the saddle and tailpiece.
For some reason the one string that gives me a fit is the third string as far as intonation, but other than that it intonates well.

One thing that helps to get the right sound is to play a Chet tune here he's using the Del Vecchio and play along with it and try to get your to sound like it. You'll notice there's a hole in the center of the biscuit underneath where the saddle goes and a hole in the center of the cone...these have to line up together or you won't get a good sound at all and it will sound dull and just like a plain steel string guitar. These guitars are very picky....it takes time to get them to sound right.
I've seen and played some that just didn't have the sound....they look nice but they just sound like a steel string guitar and don't resonate correctly. My action is a little high on mine but it's got the sound. I had several people play mine at CAAS and they liked the sound.
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Re: Chet Atkins and the Del Vecchio

Postby guitarchuck » Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:08 am

Phil,
Thanks for that info. That's some really great tips! Also Craig Dobbins gave me this info last year, so I thought I would repost it again:
On Jul 7, 2011, at 2:16 PM, Chuck Schwickerath wrote:

Hi Craig,
There's some discussion about the use of nylon strings for a Del Vecchio on the Chetboard. I had remembered your post:

" I use the ProArte on the Sand (extra hard, or sometimes hard tension), nickel wound on my electrics, and phosphor bronze on my acoustic. I have the remainders of some sets they made up for Chet for my Delvecchio. (Plain 1st-3rd, silk and steel 4th, and nylon 5th and 6th). "

So, were these sets (Plain 1st-3rd, silk and steel 4th, and nylon 5th and 6th) made for Chet by D'Addario?

Yes, they were put together for Chet by D'Addario sometime in the early/mid 90's, for his DV and McGill resonators.

Do you know what gauges each of these strings were? Any details on these strings would be appreciated.

I don't have a caliper to measure, but the plain steel strings are something like .011, .013 or .014, and .017. The 4th is a standard gauge ball end silk and steel 4th string. The 5th and 6th are ball end silver wrapped nylon strings, like in a "folk guitar" set. They feel pretty hefty, so I'd say they were probably the D'Addario ProArte extra hard, but with ball ends. The nylon basses give a deep, powerful tone to the low notes, and the silk and steel 4th gives a nice transition to the plain 3rd.


On my long scale DV, I detune the 5th and 6th by about a whole tone when I'm not using the guitar, because those strings are the first ones to break.


You can post my answer if you wish.

Thanks,

Craig


And also this:

by craigdobbins » Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:33 pm

Nothing really sounds like a Delvecchio- except a Del Vecchio. A McGill is probably closest, but is very, very expensive. A Japanese company made a DV lookalike called a Conrad back in the 1970's. I've never heard one, though. Ihad an old Gretsch Dorado years ago, but it was more like around neck Dobro.

About Chet's guitars- the one with the V cutouts is a short scale with a classical width neck. Chet used it and another short scale DV (shown on the My Favorite Guitars cover) in the 60's and 70's. The other one you mentioned is long scale (about 25 1/2 inches) with about a 1 3/4 inch neck. Chet used it on his later recordings in the 80's and 90's. Doyle Dykes gave him this guitar. Incidentally, Chet used a wound 3rd on the short scales, and a plain 3rd on the long scale.

Craig Dobbins


So, I've made up 3 or 4 sets of D'Addario stings just like Craig said Chet used, just waiting for this guitar!

Here's the D'Addario strings that they have available from what I determined from Craigs comments:

PL011 Single Plain Steel .011
PL014 Single Plain Steel .014
PL017 Single Plain Steel .017 for the long scale
(for the short scale: J4003 .023 From EJ40 Silk & Steel set, not availble as a single string)
J4004 .028 (From the EJ40 Silk & Steel Folk set, not availble as a single string)
BES037W Single Classical/Folk Guitar Silver Wound .037 Ball End
BES045W Single Classical/Folk Guitar Silver Wound .045 Ball End
Last edited by guitarchuck on Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Chet Atkins and the Del Vecchio

Postby George Beasley » Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:03 am

Norm wrote:McGill built one for Chet and as far as we know he never used it much it or recorded with it.


Chet used the McGill for the single note solo on "You Do Something To Me" from the "Almost Alone" album. I'm not sure if he recorded anything else with it, but I think he got it pretty late in his career.
Thanks,
George
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Re: Chet Atkins and the Del Vecchio

Postby Norm » Tue Sep 18, 2012 10:57 am

I stand corrected.
:)
...that's how it looks to me...The opinion expressed above is my own and does not necessarily reflect the views of this station. Your mileage may vary...

Audio samples: http://www.youtube.com/user/acountrygent/videos
That should do it.
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Re: Chet Atkins and the Del Vecchio

Postby guitarchuck » Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:04 pm

In a Premier Guitar magazine interview, Paul McGill said that he built his 1st resonator for Earl Klugh in August of 1992. He also states that he built 2 resonators for Chet. (The light colored one is pictured in the Me and My Guitars book and there is a photo of Chet with a dark colored one in a Vintage Guitar Magazine interview.) Chet played resonator guitar on 1994 - Simpatico (w/Suzy Bogguss) and 1994 - Read My Licks (I don't know, if it is a Del Vecchio on these CD's or the McGill" The only thing that I've ever seen in print about Chet using a McGill to record with was what George mentioned:
Chet used the McGill for the single note solo on "You Do Something To Me" from the "Almost Alone" album.
which was from 1996. Then in 1997 - The Day Finger Pickers Took Over the World w/ Tommy Emmanuel, Chet reverted back to the Del Vecchio again.
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Re: Chet Atkins and the Del Vecchio

Postby guitarchuck » Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:21 pm

I editied my earlier post to include the strings to make up a set of D'Addario strings like Chet used on his Del Vecchio.
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Re: Chet Atkins and the Del Vecchio

Postby albertgen » Tue Sep 18, 2012 9:37 pm

I have a special built DelVecchio, that I ordered from Chuck back in 86 or 87. It has a truss rod and is a short scale. It's pretty nice. I use GHS silk and steel 10 - 42 on it.
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Re: Chet Atkins and the Del Vecchio

Postby guitarchuck » Thu Sep 20, 2012 8:05 pm

I got my Del Vecchio today! I'm really impressed with this one. You may have seen it on Ebay. It was built in 2008. The guy that I bought it from said:
Don’t believe what some of the websites state about the DelVecchio Dinamicos, this one plays and stays in tune and will not need to be rebuilt.
He was right about this particular one. He also said:
After trying to contact the company many times (using broken Portuguese), our Brazilian plant manager contacted the Sao Paulo factory and had this one especially made for me.

The quality on this one is better than any that I've seen. Of course it's not totally up to standards that we here in the U.S. have, but this one is extremely nice. I've never seen one with a pretty headstock like this one. It has a scalloped nut and the end of the fretboard is a pretty design. The wood is laminated and they don't seal the woodgrain as good as we are accustomed to. The neck is nice and straight, (no truss rod, but the cedar neck is reinforced with what appears to be maple down the middle of it.) The action is great and so is the intonation. If I had my rathers, I would not have the pickup in it, but It sounds great acousticlly. It came with the basic blue fur lined hardshel case without padding that is slightly bigger that it needs to be. I think it sounds really good, of course I will never be able to make it sound as good as Chet could, but I don't think that's my guitars fault. :lol: Here's some photos:
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