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The Old Guitar Player Memories

February 26, 2017
I had a brand-new 1966 Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentleman for awhile, & the “Filtertron” pickups made that thing sound like a piano, it was SO clean. One of the nicest American Made axes I sure wish I’d hung onto. Wasn’t fond the muting ability, just use the heel of your hand, but the neck feel was great. Of course, back then we had to really play around to get “fuzz” & most other common FX everyone takes for granted today. A Phase Shifter was an engineer manually rocking the tape head in the studio, i.e. Couldn’t get that sound, live. The better amps usually had reverb & tremolo, but that was it. If you had some extra $$, you could get an Echoplex tape delay for true echo of maybe half a second with available infinite repeats & on into weird feedback FX, but they were cost-prohibitive for most & undependable, mechanically. If you wanted overdrive, you got a good tube amp (like a Fender Super Reverb) & crank it up until you just about couldn’t stand it (and risk blown-out speakers), OR you could GENTLY preamp it with another (small) amp brain & hope it didn’t start smoking (you had to take a speaker output & feed it into the input of your “main” amp, dangerous stuff, that). There was no “fuzz” or “distortion” box made back then. When you wanted “light gauge” strings, you’d move the whole set down one (so the ‘A’ became the low ‘E’) and use a banjo high ‘A’ for the high ‘E’. It’s easy to do with a Bigsby whammy, just hook the banjo string’s loop over the peg of the Bigsby. Otherwise, it was tricky, BUT there was only one weight string set, too heavy. The only way I’d really miss those bad ol’ days is if only I could’ve known then what I do know now. 🤗 HAH!!! 😎

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