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Chet Atkins - Snowbird ('70)

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:44 am
by Hendrik
I believe this video was never posted. Chet playing Snowbird in 1970.

Chet Atkins - Snowbird

Re: Chet Atkins - Snowbird ('70)

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 2:39 pm
by PhilHunt
It's a shame that they had Chet "finger-syncing" to the pre-recorded track. You can tell because of the fingering and where the toggle switches are. I wonder what tv show this from? This is definately one clip I don't have. I would love to find the one show with him playing the Super Chet with The Boston Pops. I have about a 10 second snippet of it and that's all.

Re: Chet Atkins - Snowbird ('70)

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:57 pm
by Ray Bohlken
Wow! What a great version and the video was so clean and clear. I sure enjoyed watching this video. Thanks for posting it.

Re: Chet Atkins - Snowbird ('70)

PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 11:36 pm
by ajbremer
That was major awesome! (as opposed to minor awesome). I saw many fingerings and positions that I'll have to study and maybe get a few of them down.

Re: Chet Atkins - Snowbird ('70)

PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 8:55 am
by Norm
PhilHunt wrote:It's a shame that they had Chet "finger-syncing" to the pre-recorded track. You can tell because of the fingering and where the toggle switches are.

Just discussing here...

I don't think Chet ever did "finger sych." Any visual anomalies I would attribute to how sometimes older clips seem to have a tendency to drift.

The other issue is that playing a song like that live creates a bit of a risk for the player because the echo device is a soul-less machine and the guitarist must comport to the settings the musician assigned to it. Once you step up and start it onstage you don't get to adjust the thing.

Thirdly I don't understand how you can reference "how the toggle switches are" since during that period Chet was doing a lot of experimentation with those switches. Paul never thought to ask Chet what was going on with them at that time. I thought he had moved the selector to the cutaway and made individual mud switches to each pickup. I wired my personal gretsch that way and showed it to Chet. He said he had done something similar but did not divulge exactly what he had going on with the two upper bout switches.

Finally, the overall tone will be affected by the TV studio audio engineering and TV seems more focused on spoken word than musical excellence.

That old 59 of his is a magnificent guitar IMO. Tone-wise nothing he ever played came close to it.

Re: Chet Atkins - Snowbird ('70)

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 1:14 am
by mark reinhart
Actually, Chet did "finger-synch" this particular performance -- the audio in the clip is undoubtedly the studio version of "Snowbird," and you can see Chet trying to match his fingering to his recorded performance. He does a pretty good job of it, but he is by no means perfect -- for example, at 1:22, he misses the string bend heard on the recording! There aren't too many videos of Chet miming to one of his recordings, so this video is definitely a bit of a rarity.

Re: Chet Atkins - Snowbird ('70)

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:38 am
by PhilHunt
That IS a pre-recorded track! Sad to isn't Chet actually playing (no disrespect to Chet or anything). I would love to hear the actual audio. Regarding the toggle switches....tone switch is down (which would make sound muddy). Pickup selector switch is down (which would select treble pickup). Chet would have played "Snowbird" either mixing both pickups (as seen on the Austin City Limits '78 show pickup selector in middle position...notice also no tone switch). With the album version (which is what Chet is playing along with on this tv sounds like he is using both pickups with the treble pickup being bled off a bit).
A dead giveaway that this video is Chet playing along with the album recording is at 1:21-1:22 where the on album Chet is bending a note and on the video he is doing a pull off.

Re: Chet Atkins - Snowbird ('70)

PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 11:15 pm
by Norm
His switch configuration of the day had the selector switch at the cutaway and some sort of voodoo going on with the upper bout switches. I spoke to Chet about it as I mentioned in my other post and he confirmed that but was coy about saying exactly what he had running on the two switches on the upper bout.

By that reckoning, (selector on the cutaway) both pickups are running. Just what he and Ray Butts did to the other switches during that period no one will ever know. They could have tinkered the thing every week and twice on Sunday. Both men loved tinkering guitars.

I'm not going to quibble about the 'finger synch' business but that is a combo behind him at about 1:26 onward.

Not looking for a fight. Just relating what I was told about the guitar itself.

Re: Chet Atkins - Snowbird ('70)

PostPosted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:32 am
by Douglas
I kind of have to agree with Phil on this one. It does sound like the album cut of the tune. For me I noticed the same "clam" or dead note on the descending arpeggios at around 00:37 of the video. It's the same on the album.

As for the musicians in the background, the foliage pretty much blocks them but they don't seem to be doing anything save the one fellow with a woodblock or cowbell or something tapping away in the back.

As for the switches, Norm is correct. In most photos, and from memory seeing Chet live back in the early-mid 70's this is pretty much the "standard" settings he used. The pickup selector was definitely on the cutaway. I've often wondered about the two upper bout switches. Norm mentioned "mud" toggles but the more I think about it I'm not convinced. Given the general lack of utility of a mud switch, the tinkerer in me suggests some form of coil switch or coil phase switch might have been more attractive to Chet. Going back and relistening to some of the cuts from yestergroovin' (Cherokee,Liberty,Bring Me Sunshine,how High the Moon) I often thought the Gretsch is sounding either more "single coil"ish or out of phase. Could be just EQ but it seems that in the 60's and early seventies Chet was always doing something different and new to keep the guitar tone unique and interesting. And we know he definitely liked to tinker with his guitars.