|Comments||We don’t see these very often, but here’s a fine example of a very influential guitar – a 1990 Gibson Chet Atkins CE Solidbody Classical. The late, great and greatly lamented Chet Atkins was responsible for not only great music, but a number of musical innovations. Given his many performances over decades, under a very wide range of conditions, it’s not surprising that he often sought out ways to control or prevent feedback at stage volumes. Gretsch’s trestle bracing scheme was a direct result of Chet’s request – though he might have preferred a solid block, as was then found on the Gibson ES-335 to 355 models. By the 1970’s, Chet was often playing a classical guitar, and in 1981, Gibson introduced the Chet Atkins CE and CEC models, which allowed feedback-free classical playing at amplified stage volumes. These solidbody ‘classical’ guitars owe more to Les Paul than to Hauser or Torres, with a spruce cap on a cutaway, solid mahogany body. These were the first of the now-popular ‘crossover’ classical instruments. The Godin Multiac is the most direct descendant, and many classical builders (including Ramirez and Alhambra) have acoustic versions of the concept. This type of instrument is frequently found on Latin music stages, where the responsiveness and expression of the nylon string works so well. Produced from 1981 to 2005, the Gibson Chet Atkins CE and CEC models are nearly identical, with the primary differences being the fingerboard material (rosewood or ebony) and the nut width – 1.75 inch on the CE and a full, ‘standard classical’ 2 inches on the CEC. They use a multi-element piezo bridge pickup with a battery-powered preamp that balances out the sometimes trebly output of a piezo.|
|Serial Number||90320552, which dates to February 1,1990. Built at the Gibson plant in Nashville, Tennesee.|
|Pricing||$1,099 CAD with original case.|
|Neck||Mahogany neck with unbound rosewood fingerboard (the CEC model had an ebony board and wider – 2 inch – nut). 640mm scale length, 1.75 inch nut width, rosewood headplate.|
|Frets||Original frets with no appreciable wear.|
|Body||Cutaway Classical body with comfort contour. Mahogany slab body with bound spruce cap, rosewood bridge. There is a ‘soundhole’ cover with the Chet Atkins Gibson logos, and it’s entirely for aesthetics and a more traditional look for anotherwise radically innovative instrument.|
|Finish||Gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish in excellent condition. There is a mark on the back – the guitar was at some point long ago left on an A-style stand, the the foam of the pad reacted with and stained the lacquer.|
|Hardware/electronics||Entirely original, with gold Gibson-branded tuners, gold plated control and output jack plates, original piezo pickup and controls.|
|Playability/Action||The Gibson Chet Atkins classical plays quite well. It is obviously not the same as a traditional acoustic classical guitar, with more weight and a thinner body.|
|Case||Original Gibson brown hardshellc ase included, in 10/10 condition.|
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