Even after five decades of rock & roll, observers of the form can’t make up their minds as to whether or not the classic ‘rock’ guitar is a phallic or a female symbol. This is an intriguing issue, because when a fretboard is projected, thrust or jiggled on stage, the first option comes to mind. But when you consider that the instrument is shaped with sensuous flowing contours, which many players are prone to caressing, then the latter has the edge. It’s a fact of life that some people come over as the epitome of cool whilst toting a guitar but a great many don’t. Duane Eddy certainly does look the business, particularly in the presence of his famed Gretsch of which a brand new version is now on the market.
Duane has the distinction of being the first ever rock & roll guitarist to enter the elite signature field. In 1960, Guild Guitars introduced the Duane Eddy Models DE-400 and the deluxe DE-500, then in 2004 the Gibson Custom Art and Historic Division introduced its own Duane Eddy Signature edition. Here in the present day, the Gretsch Guitar Company has launched its G6120DE Duane Eddy Signature Hollow Body model and what a beauty it is. The instrument is a slim neck single-cutaway, and it combines many of the features of Duane’s original 1957 model with all the latest developments that together pay fitting tribute to the undisputed King of Twang.
The new ‘Desert Sunrise’ lacquer-finished wonder was very much a talking point at the recent Duane Eddy Convention held in London at Kings College in the Strand. The sell-out crowd was given the technical lowdown by way of an extremely clever digital video, and many an order was being placed once the proceedings were through. But that couldn’t happen until the resident “Twang Gang” did their thing in the name of vibrating E-strings. For the first time in several years (this was the 33rd Convention), yours truly got to join the line-up on bass, as no less than ten players strove to turn the the ‘gang’ into an orchestra. There was not a dry leg in the house.
The reception was tremendous, but the thing that really wowed the crowd was the news that Duane Eddy will be playing Glastonbury this year. On a bill that promises Coldplay, Big Audio Dynamite, Beyonce and The Wombles, Duane will be appearing along with his turbo-charged tenor sax player, Ron Dziubla. He will also be debuting his new album, “Road Trip”, which has come to fruition through the sterling efforts of Richard Hawley and his manager Graham Wrench. The former Pulp and Longpigs axeman was at Duane’s table when he picked up his Legend Award at last year’s Mojo’s. So if you want the real thing, then do yourself a favour and check out the man who really knows how to swing an axe in the name of rock & roll.