Talk about guitars, amps and other gear.


Postby Norm » Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:00 am

There has been some controversy about a certain photo of Chet’s ’59 bridge from a shoot printed in the Bear Family box set Chet Atkins 1955-1980.

It shows a startlingly steep high bass slope to it. The bridge angle is so steep a lot of guitarists think it’s a mistake

One well known guitarist scofffed and said this about that…

“That one photo circulating around showing Chet's bridge high, I had to laugh, he was working on it..”

I submit for your approval the “photo circulating around” and a scan of the “Chet Atkins At Home” album released in 1957, both showing his steeply sloped bridge.


From my Paul Yandell archive Paul says this:

It's hard to tell about the action by looking at a picture but take my word for it, when Chet was playing the ‘59 it was too high for me. I borrowed it for a session once and I had to work to play it!”
“Chet always ran his bass side of his bridge up higher than his treble; he did that on all his guitars.”

__Paul Yandell CGP

And in this Alabama Jubilee clip, right around 027 if you watch his bass e string you can see it looks to be extremely high based on how far it travels when his left thumb grips it.

What’s my point? Again, it’s for archival accuracy.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion but on the matter of Chet’s bridge setting, at least from the fifties to the eighties, his Gretsch period, it certainly looks like he had an extremely sloped bridge, high on the bass strings side.

It was his guitar. Apparently that’s the way he liked it during that period. Some people point to the slightly skewed strings at the Bigsby mounting bar. I have, on occasion, forgotten to skid the strings in alignment at the bar when changing strings. I think this has happened to all of us who use Bigsbys. It happens sometimes.

Is it really that important?
Yes and No.
No, because, again, action and recording methods are fluid and changing and changeable things.

Yes, it is important, however, for serious students of Things Chet, not all of whom are guitarists. The way he did things with what his times and tools had to offer are worthy of study and accuracy IS important.

Thanks for looking...
...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:
That should do it.
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