When I First Heard Chet
Jim Wood - Georgia - "Chief" Childer's son-in-law
The first time I remember hearing Chet was on an old Reel-To-Reel my Dad had. The cool part was that this thing was a collection of stuff and nearly 2 hours long. That was where I learned to play lead notes. I was about 10 and could not (and am just now learning) understand how he got all that sound. I just knew he had somebody else playing the bass line cause I used a, gasp, flatpick and didn't see how it was possible.
I never really knew about the thumpick until I saw him on TV with the million dollar quartet on Hee-Haw. The best part of the big reel was that the other direction of the reel was FULL of The Ventures. I went absolutely ape over their stuff cause I had a amp with a HUGE reverb and tremolo and could get that WAY COOL sound. I would come home from school, play ball, do homework, etc... then put that reel on and play both sides and play along. I did this for years, and at least 3 or 4 nights a week.
The even better part was that, since it was on reel, I could slow it down to half speed and pick up the notes. I wore the player out in college and buried it somewhere. The final result is on the little line between the tracks of the tape. Somewhere between the Chet track and the Ventures track is where I wound up.
Chief has known me much longer than I've been his picker-in-law and watched me grow up. After getting to know him at the fair and now, I've finally begun to understand the "rules of thumb" and appreciate it
more. I am thankful that I had my tape, my guitar, amp, and a Mom who would let me play, a Dad who encouraged me and God who gave me the ability. I am
convinced that learning the guitar while young kept me out of a lot of trouble.