Chet's Velazquez


This classical guitar features a trio of famous names, starting with its maker, Manuel Velazquez. He started making guitars as a teenager in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He moved to New York in 1941 and was devoting full time to guitarmaking by 1950. He returned to Puerto Rico in 1972, and two years later he made this guitar for New York-based virtuoso Jorge Morel.

Born in Argentina, Morel made a splash in the U.S. with a 1961 concert at Carnegie Hall. By the 1970s, he had built a reputation not only as a top classical performer and composer but also as a jazz guitarist. He met Chet Atkins, who helped secure a recording on RCA, and Morel gave Atkins his Velazquez guitar. After Atkins's death in 2001, his widow Leona Atkins returned the guitar to Morel, and she has provided a letter of documentation with this instrument.

In addition to its historical importance, this instrument (inv. #AC1843) has a superb sound. With its original hardshell case, it is offered at $20,000.