Grammer or played one since those days 30 years ago. As I recall, they are not only nice players, but extremely well made as well.
Billy Grammer was a serious and well known Country artist of the 1960’s. He played guitar and sang and was also was a good businessman. One of his life’s goals was to build the perfect flattop guitar.
Jimmy Dean band for Jimmy’s CBS TV show. Billy was hired to replace Roy Clarke, who was sacked for being perpetually late to work.
Prior to this job, Grammer backed up such country artists as Hawkshaw Hawkins, T. Texas Tyler, Clyde Moody and Grandpa Jones.
Eventually The Jimmy Dean Show moved to New York and Grammer was left without a job.
“I Gotta’ Travel On.” Grammer recorded the song in Nashville and it was released around the time of the resurgence of folk music aka The Great Folk Scare. I Gotta' Travel On has gone on to be one of the most recognized and popular tunes ever recorded.
The lead guitarist on the recording was Chet Atkins, Floyd Kramer, bass player Bob Moore, drummer Buddy Hardin, the Anita Kerr singers and the Jordanaires provided backing vocals. The song went on to become not just a Country hit, but a Pop hit as well.
R, G, and G Guitar Company.
It was trial and error for a while, but he and his team came up with a guitar design and bracing pattern that he felt encompassed the best features of both the Martin and Gibson. Guitar #1, the first prototype was finished in March of 1965.
Members of the Gower family, Fred Hedges, and Clyde Reid were enlisted and hired for the venture. Power tools, lathes, drum sanders and other wood working equipment was purchased on the company went on to replicate the prototype.
The factory was building one complete guitar every day.
Grammer during the production years 1965 to 1968. The first 70 production guitars came with a mustache bridge and a head piece that was wider at the corners than the later guitars, which featured a crown bridge and
dark triangular shaped insert at the base of the body.
There was no binding on the neck for the Grammers built by RG and G. The binding and inlay were added by a California company called Vitali. One of the signature feature of a Grammer is two vertical lines of abalone going down the neck.
Strap knobs on the base of the neck were standard. Grammer used Sitka spruce for the sound board material.
The back and sides were Brazilian rosewood, flamed maple or striped mahogany. Fret board materials were rosewood or ebony.
The first Grammer guitar offered for sale bore serial number 1001. There were approximately 1000 Grammer guitars built between 1965 and 1968. These are essentially handcrafted flat top guitars of the best quality ever made. The Grammer guitar was gaudy on the outside, but seriously well built with an excellent sound.
The Grammer guitar number 1001 is in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee.
Most Grammers are approximately 15 and a half inches wide, 5 inches deep and have a 24 and a half inch scale. They all had oversized pegheads, large pickguards and bridges.
Throughout his partnership in the guitar company, Billy Grammer continued to tour and record. Running a business and being a Country artist eventually caught up with him.
Grammer was happy about the deal since he could retain the name and he was to make a 5% royalty on every guitar sold.
It was not long before Ampeg sold the Grammer business to a man named Ralph Fielding in 1971.
Steel guitarist Roy Wiggins acquired the company but could not revive it.
In 1972 the remaining assets of the Grammer Guitar Company were auctioned off to pay business taxes.
Tut Taylor’s son, Mark, continues to build exquisite guitars under the name Crafters of Tennessee.