Gretsch Chet Atkins Hollow Body (single cutaway)

In 1952, when Gibson signed Les Paul to an endorsement agreement, Gretsch signed it’s first endorser, folksinger Burl Ives, for a flat-top acoustic model, and the results couldn’t have been more disparate.

By 1954, Les Paul’s star was still rising, carrying Gibson guitar sales along with it, and Gretsch went looking for their own guitar star. They found Chet Atkins. Atkins had been playing his distinctive, smooth, country-influenced style on a D’Angelico archtop equipped with a floating DeArmond pickup and a vibrato.

For his Gretsch model, all he asked for were a brass nut, Bigsby vibrato and heavier bracing under the top (for more sustain). Gretsch staffer Jimmie Webster, the man responsible for the aesthetic flair that took over the entire Gretsch line in the mid 1950s, came up with the Western ornamentation.