Chet and Short Scale Guitars

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Chet and Short Scale Guitars

Postby stevek » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:26 pm

I recently ran accross this in an article that describes how Bob Taylor redesigned the Doyle Dykes signature guitar:

"Some time ago, Doyle's hands "went dead" in the middle of a tour, and he became understandably concerned about the wear and tear that his strenuous guitar-playing acrobatics were having on his hands. He remembered an earlier conversation with an old friend, Billy Grammer, a long-time member of the Grand Ole Opry, who told him that Chet Atkins credited the use of short-scale guitars with the apparent ease with which he negotiated his famous "Chet Atkins' style".

I always thought that Chet used a standard scale. Can some members of this board comment if the above is correct about Chet's scale preference?

Thanks,

Steve
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Re: Chet and Short Scale Guitars

Postby craigdobbins » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:37 pm

Steve-

Long answer...

During the course of his career, Chet used many different guitars, with varying scale lengths. It is true that his 1959 Gretsch CG and his Gibson CG both had a 25 1/2" scale. (The Gibson Tennessean also had a 25 1/2" scale.) In a 1979 Guitar Player interview, he said something to the effect that the longer scale made fingering chords up the neck easier.

That said, the standard scale length of the other Gretsch Atkins models was shorter, about 24.6 or so. Most of Chet's mid to late 1950's recordings were made with these shorter scale instruments. Also, the double-cut CG that he performed with (and occasionally recorded with) in the mid-1960's was the shorter scale, as was the double-cut Nashville he used some in the late '60's-early '70's. I think the Super Chet was also the shorter scale, but I forget...

The first two Delvecchios were had a very short scale, but the later one (that Doyle gave him) had the 25 1/2" scale. Some of Chet's classics had a nearly 26" scale. When you factor in the early Gibsons, the D'Angelico, the various classicals, the Super Axe, the later Gibsons, etc.

I've forgotten the question...

Craig
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Re: Chet and Short Scale Guitars

Postby srgntschultz » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:42 pm

I have a black taylor doyle dykes model that 25 1/2 in scale and he did change it to the 24.9 later. Now the new guild dykes model is 25 1/2 again. Must be a reason to go back.
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Re: Chet and Short Scale Guitars

Postby MitchC » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:28 pm

I'll digress a bit... I happened to be in the Guild booth at NAMM when Doyle was setting up to do a short show demoing his new Guild Sig model. He talked about it a bit and played several wonderful tunes.

The scale on his new Guild is 25.25" - He talks about it here in this youtube video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eua7_g6NMtI

As for Chet... well he could play anything I think. Until his '59 model evolved with the longer scale, all his guitars were the shorter scale I believe ?
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Re: Chet and Short Scale Guitars

Postby Norm » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:41 pm

When Chet first designed the 6120 I beleive he actually said he thought short scale was the way to go and changed his mind later

FWIW Paul Yandell favored the 6122-59 until they came out with the 6120 CGP with the shorter scale. That became his guitar of choice until he died.

Maybe Micah can add what his dad might have said about the difference
...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 and Short Scale Guitars

Postby MitchC » Sun Feb 03, 2013 3:50 pm

The feel of the CGP was perfect to me. 1 3/4" nut width and short scale. I just prefer an ebony fretboard. Sure wish the G6122-1959 came in a short scale version. That would be ideal to me. Hey, I can wish right ? :lol:
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Re: Chet and Short Scale Guitars

Postby Vidar Lund » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:38 am

Mitch, this is the 1958 Country Gentleman. It´s not much different from the 1959 CG, except it doesn´t have the neck Supertron pickup. It has the shorter 24.6 in (625 mm) neck scale and the 1.6875 in (42.8 mm) nut width. Maybe something for you?

http://www.gretschguitars.com/products/ ... 2401131892
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Re: Chet and Short Scale Guitars

Postby Steve Sanders » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:27 am

In response to Vidar's post; Besides the lack of a Supertron in the neck position, the color, and maybe the tuners, what is the difference between a 6122-1958 and a 6122-1959? I guess what I mean to say is if a fellar got a '58, installed a Supertron in the neck position. woud it have the same sound and tone as say the Nashville Classic or '59 Country Gentleman. Anyone do a side-by-side? I was wondering if the "inside" electronics are the same. Is there somewhere in the wiring harness of a "59 (a capacitor or resistor) that makes it unique and gives it it's distinctive tone? I like the looks of a '58 better. Looks more like Chet's guitar to me. Might be worth a pickup swap if the tone is there!! Steve
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Re: Chet and Short Scale Guitars

Postby Vidar Lund » Mon Feb 04, 2013 10:56 am

Steve, I´m not very well aqainted with the ingots of the ´58, but the people on the GretschPages owning one surely loves it. The sound samples I´ve heard on the GP and Youtube are not much different from the ´59 NC and CG, and it would be nearly impossible to tell which one is the better. My guess would be that they sound nearly identical.
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Re: Chet and Short Scale Guitars

Postby Norm » Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:28 am

The things that make the 6122-59 what it is are
1. Super Tron at the fingerboard
2. 8K bridge pickup (probably the most under emphasised but most important to tone feature)
3. Wider fingerboard

The only place where capacitors enter into it is at the "mudswitch" tone switch which Chet eventually took out altogether. The inner bracing is probably the same on both models.

The bridge pickup output on most guitars is not quite as loud since most guitars use the same pickup for both positions. Various factors dictate that the bridge pickup, due to its placement, just doesn't produce as much volume as the fingerboard pickup. Generally it is not as close to the strings and tends to favor high overtones whereas the fingerboard pickup gets the warmer middle and low overtones. The strings vibrate over a larger area at the fingerboard pickup. The bars on the Super Tron "gets more note" as Chet said.

By boosting the output of the bridge pickup it "gets more note" too and is closer in audo output to the fingerboard pickup. That was Chet's biggest modification secret for years because you couldn't tell by looking at the pickup that he had this done. (Shot Jackson rewound it for him)

When you run them both together the effect is exhilerating. The combined pickups give a startling clarity to the notes that were not available with the 4K bridge pickup. Even with my bum hearing I could tell Something Big happened when I put the 8K pickup in my old 1961 CG
...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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