Chet Atkins 'Special' Prototype #1 Guitars

1987 Gibson Chet Atkins 'Special' Prototype #1

Color: Natural, Rating: 9.25, Sold (ID# 01459)
Call to Inquire: (818) 222-4113

Unique 'Prototype' Model Made for Chet Atkins at The Gibson Custom Shop in 1987 -  Signed by Chet Atkins on the Headstock and Given to Actor Musician Steven Seagal.  One Of The Most Beautifully Made Guitars That We Have Ever Seen…


1987 Gibson Chet Atkins 'Special Prototype' #1.


This unique 'Prototype #1' Chet Atkins Special' 17-inch-wide thinbody (just under 1 3/4 inches deep) guitar weighs 10.10 lbs. Laminated birds-eye maple body with highly flamed top, sides and back. Two-piece highly-flamed birds-eye maple neck with a fat nut width of 1 3/4 inches, a scale length of 25 1/2 inches and a  wonderful medium profile. Ebony fretboard with 21 medium frets and "Tree of Life" inlaid in Abalone and Mother-of Pearl across the first nineteen frets. The body of the guitar has seven-ply binding on the top and five-ply on the back. The 'f' holes are single-bound in cream. The headstock is single bound in black and the fretboard is single-bound  -  bound within additional white line on each side. Headstock with inlaid Abalone "Gibson" script logo. Serial number "83227011" and "Made in / USA" stamped in blind on back of headstock. Bell-shaped Mother-of-Pearl truss-rod cover with two screws. Individual Gibson Rotomatic tuners with 'swing-out' 'tulip-shaped' metal buttons. Two Gibson 'Patent Number' pickups with black plastic surrounds and outputs of 5.92k and 5.57k (each engraved on the underside "Patent No. 2,737,842"). Four controls (two volume, and master tone & three-way pickup elector switch) on lower treble bout plus master volume control on treble horn. The potentiometers are stamped "137 8807" (CTS February 1988). Gold plastic 'fifties-style' bell-shaped control knobs. Gibson 'Nashville' Tune-O-Matic retainer bridge (stamped on the underside "Gibson / Patent No. 2,740,313" with metal saddles on height-adjustable ebony base with a Mother-of-Pearl 'Dragonfly' inlay on either side. Gibson adjustable 'finger-style' tailpiece secured to the lower edge by three screws. All hardware gold-plated. Inside the truss-rod cavity, written in pencil are the letters "PRJ". This is one of the most beautifully made guitars that we have ever seen and is in near mint (9.25) condition. The guitar was made as a promotional model for Chet Atkins, at the Gibson Custom Shop in November 1987. Housed in the original Gibson four-latch, shaped black hardshell case with royal blue plush lining (9.00).  Chet Atkins has signed the headstock in gold marker "Chet Atkins CGP".

"CGP" is a 1988 album by Chet. The initials in the title refer to the Atkins-coined title "Certified Guitar Player" a name he assigned not only to himself but other guitarists he admired and felt contributed to the legacy of guitar playing.

Together with a letter of provenance signed by the actor and musician Steven Seagal "I Steven Seagal received the Chet Atkins prototype #1 year 1987 was given to me by Chet Atkins and autographed by Chet Atkins in my presence". Also included are two photographs of Steven Seagal with the guitar. The case has two labels, the first with "Gibson '87 / Chet Special / Prototype #1" and the second with "163 Chet (SP) / SS 111"

We sent a description and detailed photographs to our friend Bob Burns at Gibson…here is his reply of July 19th, 2012 - "Hello David, Thanks for sending the pictures. The instrument has similarities to the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman and the Chet Atkins Tennessean models, but neither have the controls set up exactly like this instrument. It appears to be a special order or promotional in nature, but we have no archived information available on the original owner. Thanks. Best Regards, Bob Burns Gibson Customer Service."

"The biggest endorser and innovator of Gretsch guitars was Mr. Chet Atkins. And although he played Gretsch instruments for years, his obligation with the company ended and he chose not to sign on with the new owners. The quality of Gretsch instruments was slipping and Mr. Atkins was well aware of this fact. It was around 1980 when Gibson and Chet Atkins began a relationship. Gibson started by designing the Chet Atkins CE (Classical Ecelctric) thin body nylon-string guitar. This guitar was first offered for sale in 1981. By 1987 Gibson designers had come up with the Chet Atkins Country Gentleman. The design was loosely based on the Gretsch 6122. However there were quite a few differences - the main ones being that the Gibson uses an 'Alnico' 492R humbucker in the neck position and an 'Alnico' 490T humbucker in the bridge position - these pickups are slightly hotter than Gretsch Super-Trons, and the Gibson has three volume controls and a master tone control whereas the Gretsch used a three-way tone switch."

From our sponsors:

David Brass Rare Books.  1-818-222-4103.  Finest Copies.Evil * Robot - 818-222-4113.