Charlie, born in Wilmington, N.C., special ordered this Gretsch in 1959 from Paul Marsh Burn’s grocery store in his hometown. It was a Chet Atkins Country Gentleman model, but he wanted it to have the White Falcon gold sparkle binding. He also had it painted white with his name written in abalone on the fingerboard. It was Charlie’s first real guitar. He was playing a gig with his band, The Jaguars, in Maryland and the guitar was left in the parking lot after the gig. He went back to look for it, but it was gone.
Forty plus years later, Charlie received a call from a guitar repairman asking if he had ever owned a Gretsch guitar. Charlie said yes, but that it was a long time ago. The repairman asked if it had his name on the fingerboard and Charlie confirmed that it did. The fingerboard with Charlie’s name written on it had been replaced but the repairman could still see his name faded on the wood underneath the fingerboard. When the guitar was returned to Charlie, he had the Gretsch factory refurbish it to the way it was originally ordered.
This guitar, and many others like it, can be seen during a visit to the museum, open between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information call (615) 244-3263 or visit www.musicianshalloffame.com.
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