|WWII soldiers listening to a radio|
For Country Music, one of the results of World War Two was the massive increase in listeners. Radio transcripts of all types of broadcasts were delivered to the European and Pacific fronts for the morale of those fighting the war.
My own father, who was stationed near the southern German border was exposed to ‘Hillbilly’ music from his troop members from Kentucky, and listening to broadcast transcriptions from WSM.
By the time the war ended, Nashville was fast becoming a Mecca for Country artists. Owen Bradley, who was a music arranger, and songwriter for Decca Records was already recording music with some great artists, such as Ernest Tubb, Burl Ives, Kitty Wells, and Red Foley.
|Historic Castle Recording Studios|
Bradley had learned enough about the industry and decided to open his own shop. He purchased a home on 16th Avenue where the studio was built.
|Quonset Hut Studios|
These were temporary buildings used during the war, and were being sold as war surplus. This structure abutted the original building and the endeavor became know as Quonset Hut Studios. Late in 1956, major Country artists came here to record their songs.
|RCA Studio B|
But it was Owen Bradly that is credited for creating what came to be known as ‘The Nashville Sound’ by adding lush string arrangements, and choral parts to Country Music songs.
|Recording at The Quonset Hut|
Much of the music recorded there became hit songs that crossed over from Country to Popular music.
Bradley, figuring he was on to something, even tried to update some Jimmy Rodgers songs played by Moon Mullican, and songs by Bill Monroe to include the Nashville Sound.
Both his studio, and RCA employed some of Nashville’s greatest guitarists at the time as ‘session musicians’. In Nashville those session players were known as The A Team, long before the TV Show came out.
The A Team guitar section included Chet Atkins, Grady Martin, Hank Garland, Ray Edenton (also mandolin, ukulele, and banjo), Harold Bradley, Velma Williams Smith, Paul Yandell, Pete Wade, Jerry Kennedy, Norman Blake, Jimmy Capps, Spider Wilson, Fred Carter, Jr., Billy Sanford, Wayne Moss, Jimmy Colvard, and Chip Young.
He was especially known for adding the 'tic-tac' bass line to songs by using a Danelectro six string bass guitar. Harold Bradley went on to develop RCA's studio B.
|Hank Garland with |
his Gibson Byrdland
|Hank Garland with Byrdland #2|
|Hank Garland Byrdland #3|
He then ordered the #3 model with a cherry finish, and a Charlie Christian pickup in the neck position. Because of the scale being almost 2" shorter than the standard L-5, the Byrdland's only had 20 frets.
Garland played a variety of guitars that were mostly manufactured by Gibson. These included the 1940's Epiphone Xpher with 'Sugarfoot' inscribed on the pickguard.
|Gibson ES-345 and EB-6 Bass Guitar|
His career was tragically cut short in 1961 following a car accident.
Garland played through a Standel amp, and an Echosonic amplifier made by Ray Butts. You can hear Hank on Patsy Cline's recording, 'Walking, After Midnight'. That is Hank Garland's guitar you hear every Christmas on 'Jingle Bell Rock'.
|The Everly Brothers with|
Chet Atkins and Hank Garland
|Chet Atkins with |
Back in the day, Atkins used Gretsch guitars. His first was a Gretsch single cutaway 6120.
|Chet with D'Angelico Excel|
His first electric guitar that he used with The Carter Sisters was the very first D'Angelico Excel electric guitar, that he modified by adding a P-90 pickup and a vibrato bar.
Gibson built him a similar guitar they called The Phasor. He owned one of the first Echosonic amplifiers. Later on he used Standel amps with an Echoplex, and much later relied on MusicMan amps with a digital echo unit. In the 1960's he worked with Gretsch to design some amplifiers.
|Grady Martin with a Bigsby Guitar|
There was a faulty tube in the mixing console, that caused the part he was playing to be distorted. The producer liked the effect, and recording engineer Glenn Snoddy, back traced what had happened and went on to design the Maestro Fuzztone.
|Grady Martin on the left - El Paso|
|Grady Martin with |
Gibson ES-345 12 string
He played a borrowed Martin on 'El Paso' and did the guitar fills in one take. Martin used a Gibson ES-345, and a Gibson ES-345 12 string on some recordings. Grady Martin played recordings and concerts backing artists from Ernest Tubb to John Prine.
|Paul Yandell with a |
Gibson Country Gentleman
Jim Colvard had over 140 recordings that he was credited as being the guitarist. He was one of the first guitarists to play steel guitar lick on his six string guitar.
|Jim Colvard on the right |
with Little Jimmy Dickens
Colvard backed up Wanda Jackson, Jimmy Dickens, and George Jones. He had his own trio that played in Nashville and his home town of Minneapolis. Colvard favored Gibson L-5 CES guitars.
Chip Young was a guitarist known for his thumb picking style of guitar playing, and he was a session player for many hits that included those made by Elvis, Jerry Reed, Dolly Parton, and Billy Swan. Young was also a record producer.
|Chip Young with his Super 400 CES|
He played Martin and Gibson acoustic guitars, a Gibson Les Paul, and a Gibson Super 400 CES.
|The Anita Kerr Singers|
It was during these days that Country Music became more ‘Pop’ music. The music coming out of Nashville now gained the reputation of being ‘Countrypolitan’.
|Roy Orbison in RCA Studio B|
using a coat rack as a baffle
Not only did songs cross over to popular format radio, but some popular artists of the day came to Nashville to record. These included Elvis, Perry Como, The Everly Brothers, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Joan Baez, Gordon Lightfoot, Neil Young, Linda Ronstadt, and Paul McCartney.
|Willie Nelson In |
His Nashville Days
Willie Nelson wrote so many hit songs that were sung by other artists, such as Crazy for Patsy Cline, Pretty Papers for Roy Orbison, Hello Walls for Faron Young, to name but a few. He tried desperately to fit in as a Nashville entertainer. Nelson dressed in Cowboy clothing, and combed his hair the right way. But Nelson realized he was never going to be the new Ernest Tubb.
|Willy Nelson and Trigger|
|Nelson with a Baldwin |
Vibraslim - Getty Images
|Willie Nelson's Trigger - Martin N-20|
Willie has beat this guitar to hell and back, but continues to use it. He named it 'Trigger' after Roy Roger's horse. Though he could afford a much better amplifier, he has used that Baldwin C-1 amp throughout his career.
|Kristofferson With His Gibson SJ|
|Young Waylon Jennings|
|Waylon Jenning's 1968 Telecaster|
Like Holly, Waylon started out playing a 1956 Fender Stratocaster. But Waylon Jennings is best know for playing a Fender Telecaster that is wrapped in a leather covering. He had more than one Telecaster.
The one that he was usually seen playing is a stock 1968 sunburst Telecaster with a white pickguard, that he took to a leather saddle maker, who encased the guitar in a hand-tooled leather covering, etched with roses. This was stitched on both sides.
|Waylon Jennings with 1953 Telecaster|
Waylon's first guitar was a 1953 Telecaster with a black pickguard. Waylon sold this one early in his career. Waylon also favored Fender amplifiers, including a Fender Super Reverb, and the huge Fender Super Six Reverb, which had six 10 inch speakers.
|Hillbilly Central |
Down the street from RCA’s studio B, and Quonet Hut, Tompall Glaser purchased a two story stucco building, that author Shel Silverstein dubbed ‘Hillbilly Central’. Tompall had been in a band called 'The Glaser Brothers'. Artists that desired for Country Music to return to its roots, began to flock to record their music at this small studio where clocks and budgets did not matter. The goal to record great music.
|Tompall Glaser In The Studio|
And the Outlaw movement in Country music began.
Despite taking the Nashville music industry by shock, the masters were sent to RCA for distribution.
It became the first Country Music album in history to reach platinum certification for selling over a million units. And this once again changed Country Music.
Click on the links under the pictures for sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.
©UniqueGuitar Publications (text only)