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Danny Gatton

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Biography

Danny Gatton (September 4, 1945 – 4 October 1994) was a talented and enigmatic American guitarist who committed suicide at his Maryland home in 1994 while still relatively unknown to the public.

Gatton was born in Washington, DC on September 4, 1945. His father, Daniel W. Gatton Sr., was a former rhythm guitarist known for his unique percussive style, who left his musical career to raise his family in a more stable profession. The younger Gatton grew up to share his father’s passion for the instrument.

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” or “the world’s greatest unknown guitarist”. However, he never achieved the commercial success that his talent arguably deserved. His skills were most appreciated by his peers such as Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, and his childhood idol Les Paul.

Danny Gatton made his name as a performer in the Washington, D.C. 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 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 use a beer bottle or mug.

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  • Hugo_A-Go-Go

    Master of the Telecaster

    23 Sep 2013 Reply
  • Bessermacher

    Verdammt nochmal! Warum gehen die Besten der Besten immer zuerst ?

    1 Aug 2012 Reply
  • hai_dere

    me thinks the reason why redneck jazz isn't a top album is because the version floating around the internet doesn't scrobble correctly to last.fm. I've noticed this with a few less popular artists/albums, because usually only one rip exists.

    5 Feb 2012 Reply
  • nothsonles

    anyone like unfinished business?

    24 Dec 2011 Reply
  • spencerthedog

    DG was a guitar savant. There is no other way to explain his skill and knowledge of every style of guitar music from jazz to country to rockabilly to rockn'roll. He didn't have the grace, his fingers weren't "guitar fingers" he just did what he did and he was amazing.

    30 Sep 2011 Reply
  • IvanMalison

    The top tracks/Albums are pretty wack. Blues Newburg and Funky Mama are particularly egregious inclusions-they're pretty weak songs. As pdeep mentions Redneck Jazz should definitely be a top album. American Music, which was released under the name Danny & the Fat Boys is probably my favorite album, and I don't even see it here at all...

    18 Aug 2011 Reply
  • reagan0

    88 Elmira St. is one of my Desert Island Disks.

    15 Apr 2011 Reply
  • jayakiran

    Virtuoso Extraordinaire

    12 Dec 2010 Reply
  • Montrose1973

    Pro

    2 Sep 2010 Reply
  • telema54

    My favorite guitarist of all time. We miss you

    28 Aug 2010 Reply
  • reagan0

    This guy's like the energizer bunny on guitar. Wish I could have seen him in concert.

    28 Jul 2010 Reply
  • infra_vermelho

    New photos have been posted

    3 Feb 2010 Reply
  • infra_vermelho

    How a huge talent can still be so unknown?

    3 Feb 2010 Reply
  • jayakiran

    Virtuoso Extrordinarie

    17 Dec 2009 Reply
  • ChariotsOfFire

    un virtuose de la telecaster définitivement tagué "guitar virtuoso"

    23 Nov 2009 Reply
  • drewblue

    The greatest that ever lived- "The Humbler" was also a fine and humble man. His loss was a terrible tragedy... .

    3 Dec 2008 Reply
  • elpippimonster

    i miss danny

    22 Sep 2008 Reply
  • pdeep

    Happy Birthday, Danny!

    5 Sep 2008 Reply
  • roomx

    impressive stuff

    7 May 2008 Reply
  • pdeep

    Top albums = should probably include Redneck Jazz.

    15 Mar 2008 Reply
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