SOLD - You don’t see these very often, but here’s a fine example of a very influential guitar – a Gibson Chet Atkins CEC (Classical Electric) solidbody classical from 2001.
The late, great 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.
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 Ramirez, with a spruce cap on a cutaway, solid mahogany body. These were the first of the now-popular ‘crossover’ classical instruments. 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. The extra 'C' stands for 'Conventional'.
They use a multi-element piezo bridge pickup with a battery-powered preamp that balances out the sometimes trebly output of a piezo. The resulting sound is a rich and full authentic nylon string guitar – except you can turn it up !
Serial # is 0160xxxx, which dates to 2001 – one of the last Nashville built models before production moved to Montana.
Solid spruce top with binding
Body - cutaway classical body with rear comfort contour
Mahogany slab body (weight relieved)
25.5” (640mm) scale length
2 inch nut width
Original frets with no wear showing
Rosewood bridge with 6 individual saddles
Gold Gibson-branded tuners
Gold plated control and output jack plates
Original piezo pickup and controls.
Gloss nitrocellulose lacquer finish in excellent condition.
Weight 8.32 lbs
There is a ‘soundhole’ cover with the Chet Atkins & Gibson logos, but it’s entirely for aesthetics and a more traditional look for an otherwise radically innovative instrument.
The pickup system consists of six individual piezos that are installed under the bridge. The pickup signal is preamplified in the control cavity (that consequently houses a 9V battery), a volume control and the (active) tone control is located on the rim of the guitar (later models have a bass and treble control). A really useful feature are six trim pots inside the control cavity that allow to adjust the volume for each string individually so that you can equalize volume differences easily.
Overall this guitar is in amazing condition with only a few small dents almost impossible to see. Hardware & electronics are entirely original, with no tarnishing showing on the gold tuners.
Most importantly, it plays really nicely, and sounds brilliant when plugged into a decent acoustic amp or PA system. The action is quite low, and clean all the way up the neck.
At a little over 8 lbs this Chet CEC is comparatively on the lighter side for these models. It feels comfortable and balanced when standing or sitting down. It’s a super solid professional instrument that will deliver the goods when you need it. Just ask Mark Knopfler who used a CE and CEC for years on Dire Straits tours.
The Gibson Chet Atkins CEC is a classic model now having been discontinued for many years. It was ahead of its time when it first appeared, and still holds up brilliantly today. It is the perfect nylon string guitar for live performance, especially if you like it loud. You can turn this thing up and it will cut through the mix with lots of tone and no feedback.
Comes in its original Gibson hard case in excellent condition.
Gibson Chet Atkins CE / CEC Comparison Video -https://youtu.be/5M_HJaPe3RA