The Chet Atkins Country Gentleman changed a lot in 1971, but this is a really early one from that year, and still has old features. The serial number dates this to January 1971; the 76th guitar of that month.
The pickups are Patent Number Filter'Trons, it has a mute, a gold plated headstock badge and no real f-holes. All of these features would soon be gone. (See a 1976 Country Gent).
The mute, or muffler, is operated by moving the lever, next to the Bigsby V tailpiece.
The poor durability of gold-plating is evident here; it has clearly been looked-after, but much of the plating is gone. The original dark brown finish has faded. The only colour listed in catalogues at that time was this, Mahogany Grain, whilst the other two Chet Atkins Gretsches, the Nashville and the Tennessean both had their own colours, amber red and cherry red respectively.
The gold-plated headstock plate has the guitar model engraved onto it: 'The Chet Atkins Country Gentleman'. The Gretsch logo is inlaid in pearl. Note also the truss rod cover, held in place with three screws.
Grover closed gear individual Imperial tuning keys. The reverse of the headstock also holds the serial number in gold: 11 076. This dates this guitar to Jan 1971; the 76th guitar made that month.
Images courtesy of justgreatguitars.com