Peaver, Paul Yandell Custom Built Guitar, 1981 - Chet Atkins


Peaver, Paul Yandell
Peaver, Paul Yandell Custom Built Guitar
The Story Behind

The “Peaver” was build by Chet Atkins accompanist and guitar tech Paul Yandell. 

Chet Atkins was famous being an Electric-acoustic guitarist, but he had also one solid body guitar he used. Not happy with a standard Fender Stratocaster guitar he ended up with this guitar which is is a combination of different selected parts. Building with selected guitar parts a guitar has been done by several famous guitar players such as Jeff Beck, …  Paul Yandell took a Peavey T-60 guitar and removed the neck, replacing it with a Fender Stratocaster neck. Paul then rewired the guitar, installing two EMG pickups and a phase switch. Chet named this guitar, The Peaver.

What makes this guitar special is the pickup placement and was the deliberate choice of Chet Atkins. For anyone who has tried to get harmonic notes on a Stratocaster, you may have found this difficult if using the neck pickup. The placement of the neck pickup is under a section of the string that can be divided to create a harmonic tone. Therefore, this placement cancels the tone out. To resolve this, Yandell installed a middle and bridge pickup.

Here is what Paul Yandell, the builder of the guitar, had to say:

“What was the “Peaver”?

The “Peaver” was a guitar I built for Chet to record with. I had made myself one and he liked it. He had a Peavey T-60 so I took the body and put a wide type Strat neck on it. I then put 2 EMG pickups in it. He used it quite a bit. “Sunrise” was one tune, “Laughing at Life” was another. It wasn't very pretty as guitars go, but sounded great.”

The Peaver guitar was also used as the prototype for the Gibson Chet Atkins CGP/Phasar and which not a success.

Chet used this guitar to record 14 songs on 9 different albums from 1983-1995. Chet Atkins used the guitar live with Earl Klugh, Larry Carlton & George Benson for the Stay Tuned album release in 1985. 

The guitar can be seen and heard in the following videos:

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