When You Wish Upon a Star

Discussion of history's greatest guitar player.

When You Wish Upon a Star

Postby mark reinhart » Wed Feb 12, 2014 2:31 pm

As I'm working through my book project, I've come to one Chet song that I'm having a bit of trouble following the history of. Of course, Chet's most well-known recorded version of "When You Wish Upon a Star" was the one that appeared on the PICKIN' MY WAY album -- but to give a bit of backstory on that recording, I want to talk about his version of the song that appeared on his album DRIVE IN just a few years before.

As I listen to that recording, I'm trying to decide if Chet is playing either a standard classical guitar or his Del Vecchio on it. Usually the half step-up tuning of the Del Vecchio lets you know if that really is the guitar Chet is using -- but in the case of the DRIVE IN "Star," Chet's guitar is tuned only a tiny bit above standard tuning, not a full half step.

The PICKIN' MY WAY "Star" definitely sounds like it is played on Chet's classical and not the Del Vecchio, but the DRIVE IN version has got me stumped in terms of just what guitar Chet is playing. I would really appreciate any thoughts that any of you might have on this. Thanks!
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Re: When You Wish Upon a Star

Postby the-ocean87 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:03 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dc9fbCzUzPU

This seems to be the "Pickin' my way" version. Played on nylon string classical guitar.

I don't know the "Drive In" album. Is it a regular release or a compilation? The only thing I know is that another version appears on his "Solo Flights" LP from 1968. But I don't own that record.

Btw. this is one of my favourite arrangements and recordings of Chet. However, did he arrange it himself?
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Re: When You Wish Upon a Star

Postby mark reinhart » Wed Feb 12, 2014 3:26 pm

Oops! In my haste to post my message, I referred to the SOLO FLIGHTS album as DRIVE IN! "Drive In" is the first song on the SOLO FLIGHTS album, and I discussed that track in my book -- so the album kind of got stuck in my head as the "Drive In" album. But the "When You Wish Upon a Star" version I was asking about was the SOLO FLIGHTS version. Sorry for the confusion!
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Re: When You Wish Upon a Star

Postby craigdobbins » Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:52 pm

Chet used an amplified nylon string for every track on side 2 of the album. I don't know what guitar, but it definitely sounds like a Prismatone pickup. He didn't have a Prismatone installed on his Estruch until a few years later, so it's entirely possible that it's a Baldwin electric classical. It's definitely the sound of a pickup, not a mic.

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Re: When You Wish Upon a Star

Postby mark reinhart » Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:42 pm

Thanks, Craig -- I think it was the slightly more biting sound created by the pickup on the guitar that made me think that perhaps I was hearing the Del Vecchio. As always, you've been a great help!
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Re: When You Wish Upon a Star

Postby Hendrik » Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:30 am

Craig, could it be that Chet used the Dorado (by Gretsch) classical w/ Prismatone? He used that one around that time if I'm not mistaken. Didn't Chet also had a Hascal Haile prototype w/ Prismatone? Don't recall Chet ever played a Baldwin.

Paul once mentioned this regarding the Estruch guitar: "Chet's was made in 1959, it was his first classic guitar, that's about all I know about it, in the 60's he put a Baldwin prismatone pickup on it,one of the many tunes he used it on was "Blue Angel" thanks Paul".

Blue Angel is recorded in '68, Solo Flights is recorded in '68, so based on Paul's information Chet used the Juan Estruch w/ Prismatone on this version of When You Wish Upon a Star.
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Re: When You Wish Upon a Star

Postby the-ocean87 » Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:16 pm

So he didn't use a microphone to record his classical guitar back then (Solo Flights)?
When was the first time he recorded with a classical guitar that had a pickup?

I always preferred the natural sound of the classical guitar and think a microphone represents it better than a pickup.
The Studio Classic and all models that followed have a nice sound, but never came near the natural sound IMO.
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Re: When You Wish Upon a Star

Postby Hendrik » Thu Feb 13, 2014 3:54 pm

Chet recorded Solo Flights with a Prismatone pickup, not unamplified like The Other Chet Atkins or Class Guitar. I believe Solo Flights is the first album he recorded with a electrical classical. This album is released in 1968 but recorded in November 1967. Hometown Guitar is also from 1968, but I guess it is also recorded in 1968.
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