Chet's Embellishments

Discussion of history's greatest guitar player.

Chet's Embellishments

Postby Doug Working » Sun Nov 18, 2018 4:55 pm

I think one of the things that made Chet great was his embellishments. By embellishments, I mean he had an astonishing armamentarium of runs, arpeggios, and you name it. And they all had Chet's unique touch stamped all over them. They were pure, uniquely and original Chet. In a way, the Superlick was an embellishment. I mean when you think about it, he knew the fingerboard so well...he knew chord progressions, melody and harmony so well, that he could insert the perfect embellishment in any tune he was playing. I don't know if he had pre-thought it out ahead of time, or if he just knew off the top of his head what would fit and was automatically able to translate it to his fingers in real time, but whatever it was, it worked.

I know for a fact that his head was SO in tune with musical concepts that when Loudermilk first showed him "Windy and Warm," he anticipated the ending before John even got there.

But has anyone ever categorized the Embelishments that he used REGULARLY? I mean the ones where if you listen to a lot of Chet's records, you often say "Hey! I heard him play THAT certain lick in a different tune."

It would be nice if a bunch of Chet's most used embellishments were in one handy book.
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Re: Chet's Embellishments

Postby rhirvine » Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:06 pm

Yeah Doug. He was a good one. He seemed to take harmony to a new, yet ear pleasing level. Some of the chords that jazz players use in their chord solos sound bad to me but then they are probably improvising the whole time. Tony Mottola was a great melody man who used modern chords to effect solos. I have an album or two of his but I just loved Chet Atkins arrangements as a big fan. I never tried to play most of them. I liked Paul Yandel's take on fingerstyle guitar and bought at least three of his albums over the years. All CD.
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Re: Chet's Embellishments

Postby Doug Working » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:03 pm

I actually had a Tony Mottola record or two. The one with his arrangement of "Candy Man."

He was a fine guitarist, but he sure weren't no Chet Atkins!
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Re: Chet's Embellishments

Postby emjaybee94 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 12:00 pm

Yes, Chet certainly took harmony to new level, but that's probably the jazz influence coming out. There are chords in his arrangement of "Me and Bobby McGee" that Kris Kristofferson certainly didn't use, but they really enhance that song. A few bars into "Emily" he plays an Am chord where Lenny Breau plays a straight A. I think he did a lot of that over the years. When he came to London in 1983, he told us that he liked to play a tune 50 different ways .... "cause I never want to be poor again!"

Regards
Mike
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Re: Chet's Embellishments

Postby Doug Working » Sat Dec 01, 2018 6:46 pm

I know for a fact that he could indeed play a tune 50 different ways. Therein lies his genius. I struggle to learn a tune just ONE way!

Like the melody "somewhere my love" (Laura's theme). Have you ever counted how many different arrangements of that tune he did over the years? At least 4 or 5. Maybe more. I lost track.

Then he never listened to his records, I heard him say, because he would hear things he could have done better or different in the tune.

That "Emily," that you mentioned. I know he played it on his goes to the movies album. It was in C maj. Has a LOOOOONG stretch right in the first part of the arrangement. Long for me, at least, lol.

Anyway, he recorded it again with Lenny?
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