Fender Danny Gatton Guitar

Fender Danny Gatton Guitar

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This Guitar Is Available As A Fabulous Fake

Danny Gatton (September 4, 1945 October 4, 1994) was an American guitarist who committed suicide at his Maryland home in 1994. A biography, Unfinished Business: The Life and Times of Danny Gatton by Ralph Heibutzki, was published in 2003. It has a voluminous discography. Gatton was ranked 63rd on Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time in 2003.


Danny Gatton began his career playing in bands while still a teenager. He began to attract wider interest in the 1970s while playing guitar and banjo for the group Liz Meyer & Friends. He made his name as a performer in the Washington, DC, area during the 1980s, both as a solo performer and with his Redneck Jazz Explosion, in which he would trade licks with virtuoso pedal steel player Buddy Emmons over a tight bass-drums rhythm which drew from blues, country, bebop and rockabilly influences. He also backed Robert Gordon and Roger Miller. He contributed a cover of "Apricot Brandy", a song by Elektra Records-supergroup Rhinoceros, to the 1990 compilation album Rubáiyát.

 Playing style

Gatton's playing combined musical styles such as jazz, blues and rockabilly in an innovative fashion, and he was known by some as "the Telemaster" (a portmanteau of "Telecaster", Gatton's guitar of choice, and "Master"). He was also called "the world's greatest unknown guitarist". His most common nickname was "The Humbler", owing to his ability to "humble" or out-play anyone willing to go up against him in "head cutting" jam sessions. A photo published in the October 2007 issue of Guitar Player magazine shows Gatton playing in front of a neon sign that says "Victims Wanted".

However, he never achieved the commercial success that his talent arguably deserved. His album 88 Elmira Street was up for a 1990 Grammy Award for the song "Elmira Street Boogie" in the category Best Rock Instrumental Performance, but was beaten out by Eric Johnson for "Cliffs of Dover".

His skills were most appreciated by his peers such as Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Steve Earle, and his childhood idol Les Paul. During his career, Gatton appeared on stage with guitar heroes such as Alvin Lee and Jimmie Vaughan, the latter literally walking in one night on a Gatton club gig. There is also an apocryphal rumor about an onstage "head-cutting" jam between Gatton and fellow Washington, DC-area resident (and Telecaster player) Roy Buchanan. (Gatton had roomed with Buchanan in Nashville in the mid '60s and became frequent "jamming partners" according to Guitar Player Magazine's October 2007 issue). In 1993, Gatton was invited by rocker Chris Isaak to record tracks for Isaak's San Francisco Days CD. Reports of where Gatton's playing can be heard on the CD vary, with unconfirmed reports placing him on either "Can't Do A Thing (To Stop Me)", "5:15" or "Beautiful Houses". Gatton reportedly brought a customized Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster to the recording session.

He usually played a 1953 Fender Telecaster (Fender now manufactures a replica of his heavily customized instrument), with Joe Barden pickups and Fender Super 250L's, or Nickel Plated Steel (.010 to .046 with a .015 for the G) strings. As a slide Gatton would often use a beer bottle or mug (still half full of beer) without regard to whether it might spill all over stage or his guitar (most likely, a clever gimmick by the showman). During a 1991 performance on Austin City Limits he follows this by wiping the guitar neck with a rag, then holding the rag between his fingers and the frets, all the while playing flawlessly.

He always played with a jazz style teardrop pick, and was capable of intricate passages combining Bluegrass, bebop, and garage sounds, executed with amazing clarity and at dizzying speeds. His picking technique was a hybrid combination of pick and fingers, primarily his middle and ring fingers on his right hand. The basis of his picking technique was banjo rolls—he was an accomplished banjo player and learned the traditional (Scruggs style) right hand technique from playing the banjo.

Also among his admirers are Les Paul, James Burton, Lenny Breau, Joe Bonamassa, Vince Gill, Evan Johns (of "Evan Johns and His H-Bombs"), Chris Cheney, Bill Kirchen, Albert Lee, Steve Vai, Buckethead, Arlen Roth, Ricky Skaggs, Slash ("Guns N' Roses"), and Richie Sambora.