Home Page
"When I met Chet"
CAAS Convention
Chet Bios
Chet Links
Fan photos
Contact Us
About This Site


In the early 70s around 1972 I was playing with a show band ( top 40 ) at a night club in Nashville in Printers Alley . I cannot remember the name of the club but I was told Boots Randolph was part owner of this club . I only remember that it was downstairs . I was always a Chet Atkins fan and my father had all his 45 rpm records . I also was playing a Gretsch Country Gentleman that I bought new in 1967 which I still have in near mint condition . I wanted to meet Chet so I went to the old studio B to see if I could meet him also I was having some trouble with some of my Grover machines slipping also I wanted to talk to him about doing some guitar session work . As luck would have it he was in his office and was able to meet him I know how busy he was but I could not believe how much time he spent with me he was so gracious to a fellow guitar player . We talked about session work and what it would take to get involved and it would have meant relocating . I also had a 2 year contract with the band I was with . I told him about my machine problem and he told me where to go to get new ones . I left very happy to meet my favorite guitar player . The next night I was working in the club and who walks in but Chet with a new set of machines , I could not believe it . I introduced him to my band mates and he stayed for a set and then he left but not before we exchanged phone #s . We stayed in touch every month or so and we talked . In the early 80s I was studying jazz and doing a duo with another guitar player when I  was watching a program Chet was on and he was playing this new Gibson Classic Nylon , I was doing a lot of Latin music in our shows and I fell in love with this new guitar . I called Chet the following week and he told me that they were not on the open market yet and at that point there were only about 10 guitars given out to artist but he said he would keep in touch and when they were available he would let me know . Sometime  later I got a call from him and he said that one has been sent out to me through our local Gibson dealer with my name on it . I went and picked it up and could not wait to take this guitar to a gig . As I was cleaning it one day I realized the serial # is B001 . So I put this one in my guitar collection and a few months later bought another one for jazz gigs . In 1993 I invited Chet to come to Rochester NY to do a solo concert at the Nazareth Performing Arts center so we arranged it so he could come to Rochester which he was In Poughkipsee NY the night before . We talked that week and I said I would come to pick him up and drive him to Rochester . On the way to Rochester ( 6 hour drive ) we caught up on old times we talked about everything under the sun . Chet as a rule was a very quiet man but on this trip he was talking like crazy . That night he came to my home for dinner and he wanted to see my guitar collection ( I had about 95 Gibson  archtops and Gretschs from the 40s 50s 60s ) , So we went to my music room and he was like a kid in a candy store asking me about each and every guitar . We sat down and I gave him my Gibson Classic and I pick up my 1968 Gibson L5CES and we played for about an hour . In that course I was playing some licks that I learned off his recordings but he did not recognize his own licks and I was teaching them back to him I thought that was pretty funny . He played the solo concert the next night he ask me to do some tunes with him and I did , as the years went by I learned quite allot of his finger style guitar and was using that  style some when playing the nylon . While he was here he signed my Classic Nylon and my Country Gentleman  now that I am retired I have sold most of my guitar collection but I still have these guitars . In closing I have worked with some of the greatest guitars players in the world but Chet was best at it there ever was and a man with incredible humility . He treated every one with respect and he made you feel special . He was always as close as a phone call . I will never forget my time with him and how treated a fellow guitar player .

- Chris Burrell

Return to the list


Have your own Chet story to tell?
Send it to us at Tom Redmond

News | Discography | "When I met Chet" | CAAS Convention | Bios | Links | The ChetBoard | Fan photos | Your Favorites | Contact Us