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I have been a Chet Atkins fan for longer than I can remember, from around the time he played with Bill Carlisle.. I had heard other great thumb pickers while learning the style, but in those days, Chet's playing was (and still is) so clean I couldn't believe it.

The first LP I got by him was "Stringing Along With Chet Atkins" I wore that record to a nub, resetting it over and over to try to steal a few of his licks.

In '61 myself and a friend of mine (another fan of Chet's) drove from South Texas to Nashville (before the days of all the interstate highways) to visit a friend that lived there (Odell Martin, who was another excellent picker, any style). We asked Odell if he thought there was a chance of us getting to meet Chet... He told us we could try, so we went to the RCA Studio where Chet worked and waited for a while. That place was as busy as the Opry on a Saturday night. I didn't think he would have the time to see us, but sure enough he came out of his office, invited us in. The two phones on his desk started ringing before he sat down, and he finally told his secretary to hold his calls, he was busy !!! He talked and visited with us, he even got his guitar from behind his desk and laid a thumb on a few songs for us.. How many people that busy have you ever run across that would do that for someone he has never seen? I'm sure there are some around but they don't run in droves

Chet Atkins is the kind of idol most of us wish an idol to be... Not only a great and exciting musician to listen to, but a real "Country Gentleman" to boot.

- Gary Allen

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