A man who changed the lives of musicians all over the world, the extraordinary Chet Atkins (1924-2001), "Mr. Guitar," created and developed "the Nashville Sound."
"Approach your guitar intelligently," he said. "And if there are limits, don't deny them."
Chester Burton Atkins was born poor on this day in rural Luttrell, Tennessee. His first instrument was a ukulele, then he learned how to play the fiddle and guitar. In 1948, he made his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry and became one of Nashville's top session men, playing on Hank Williams's Your Cheatin' Heart and Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel.
"Work within your restrictions. Some things you can do better than others, some things you can't do as well," he once said. "So accentuate the positive."
Known for his intricate finger-picking, he had the ability to play two melodies at once. His thumb would strum a bass line while his fingers created endlessvariations of harmony and melody.
Singer Dolly Parton once praised Atkins for "spreading gold dust around the world."
About how he'd like to be remembered, Atkins said, "I guess I'd like for people to say that I played in tune, that I played in good taste, and that I was nice to people. That's about it."
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