Duane Eddy's House of Twang

Duane’s set at Deke’s Guitar Geek Fest ‘10!

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Since Duane's headlining set at the 7th Annual Guitar Geek Festival was also the tip-top highlight of the NAMM weekend for many who love Gretsch, it deserves its own topic, which links here from both the NAMM thread and the the main Guitar Geek thread. _____ If you're a guitarist hanging around these pages, Duane Eddy – like Chet and George and Brian – truly needs no introduction. He's one of the first-name guys to us. And in the outer world, he's been called the first rock guitar hero. If you don't know about the hits that made him the top-selling instrumental rock artist EVER, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame honor, you can look it up. Some layman listeners – even some guitarists – may tell you they don't know the name. But when they hear one of the songs, they know the sound. And if they haven't heard Duane's records, there's still his pervasive influence. The tone he developed and popularized, and his jewel-craft approach to the detail of a riff, has affected everyone who's played rock/pop guitar since – or listened to it. There are many players about whom we say "I know who it is as soon as I hear the tone." But about no one is that truer than about Duane Eddy. That fat focused twang is instantly recognizable – equal parts metal and wood – and to a certain extent, his recordings are as much "carriers" for the tone as melodic and rhythmic constructions. (Of course, they're both.) But for all we've heard the records, and carry a model of that sound in our sonic DNA, relatively few of us have heard Duane in a live setting. While his guest appearance on the 1986 Art of Noise version of "Peter Gunn" brought The Tone to a new generation – and he played some high profile gigs in the late 80s – Duane simply hasn't toured much in the last three decades. There have been too few opportunities to hear the mystery man – and exactly none to hear him up close in a setting like Geek Fest. So there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity. _____ Geek Fest is famous for running late, with headliners in past years having started as late as 1:30 in the A of M. Deke made it a mission to run on time this year, with large-display digital clocks atop both speaker stacks facing the stage. He explained that he didn't want to be the one to tell Duane Eddy he'd have to start 90 minutes late. Duane was scheduled for midnight, and in fact all the other acts had played – and Deke had finished his raffle drawings – by 12:15. The packed room was in a great mood. They'd heard fine music all day, been dazzled by some players, rocked by others, and had just been taken back to the era of early 60s instrumental rock by George Tomsco and The 3 Balls of Fire. Everyone in the room was there for Duane. We were ready. . I wondered how The Tone would translate in a live setting, and how Duane would work with the band Deke had assembled. (Duane had told me earlier in the day that rehearsals had gone well and he couldn't be more pleased.) (I'd also asked if he was going to play LOUD. He said more like "full" than loud.) So I thought I knew about what to expect in tone – and I hoped the expectations would be exceeded. Duane and the band took the stage, Duane wearing what I knew to be a new Gretsch DSV, pretty much stock. It looked natural, it looked good. There were moments of anticipation as Deke made his introduction and the players made little testing and tuning noises (which sounded just like anyone else's). There was excited applause, which died down to exactly three seconds of silence. Then the unmistakable opening four measures of "Movin' and Groovin," sounding huge at concert volume, drums pounding and the DSV throaty and on the bare edge of warm grit through a pair of early 60s Fender Showmans. Then suddenly, four measures in, there it was - the TONE. It made for an electric moment of almost instant glee, with smiles of recognition everywhere. And it was bigger than I'd imagined – with the visceral impact of a sonic fist to the middle of the chest. It snarled and squirmed and ground by turns. Did Duane sound like the records? BETTER than the records. Bigger and more enveloping, commanding, authoritative. But hey – enough o' my yakkin'. Hear for yourself! (Do crank it, guys.) ____ Duane LIVE Movin' and Groovin' Detour The Lonely One 40 Miles of Bad Road (video) The Stalker Band Introductions A word from Duane... Rebel Rouser (video) Cannonball _____ Duane was quietly personable and talkative between songs, giving some background and history. He tends to concentrate on his playing – but from time to time looked around with a warm grin, clearly enjoying what he was hearing all around him. It looked like he was having fun. That comes back partly to the band. He was gratified that all the guys knew their parts cold and played them just hot enough, with equal respect and drive. He mentioned several times in conversation how pleased he was with their work and their performance – and Ron Dziubla's growling, shimmering saxophone was only the icing on the cake. The Band • Joe Tritschler - acoustic rhythm • Chris Sprague - drums • Pete Curry - keyboards • Deke Dickerson - bass • Ron Dziubla - sax The 11-song set was well-received – and it had little to do with nostalgia. The tone, and the material, sound as fresh and vital today as they did 50 years ago. Duane has more than stood the test of time – the music is timeless. I can't tell you how everyone there was affected, but to me the gig suggested headlines like "lovefest" and "triumph." Duane, it's great to have you back on stage – now we wants mo! ______
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Thanks to bonedaddy for these stellar action pics
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Great sound and video clips, thanks a lot Proteus. I feel like I was almost there! Nice close-up pic of the raised Dynasonic pole pieces! The bridge on the mentioned "new Gretsch DSV, pretty much stock" looks kinda copper-ish, ...Tru-Arc?
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Thank you Proteus and Bonedaddy!
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What a great sound. To paraphrase another Gretsch hero much in our minds during NAMM 2010 — "that's Somethin' Else!".
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Proteus (or anyone else for that matter)? Did he happen to explain how it is that he chose the Gretsch to play that night? He has had marvelous signature models from three companies, all of which are very similar guitars. He is going to get the sound that he wants from any of the three and I believe that he is still under an endorsement deal from Gibson. Just wondering if he mentioned his reasons? Sentimental favorite? Gibson not participating at NAMM this year?
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Very Cool. Thanks for this Proteus. The "backing band" (they are all great in their own projects as well) does it RIGHT and Duane sounds great. I hope he plays more shows with this lineup.
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All I can say is you lucky devils that were there... Wow!!! Duane sounded as good or even better than the records. The band was great. The King of Twang is alive and well.
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Man....thanks for posting all of this, and thanks to all who took photos and video. I wish that I could've been there, Duane is such a larger-than-life icon, and that guitar sounds fantastic in his hands. Now come on, Deed, bring Duane to Canada! I need to see him for myself!
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Thanks Proteus and bonedaddy...great coverage, great pics, great audio and video! Everyone of us who were in that room that night were exceptionally fortunate to watch and listen to a master at work. Through the years I've seen a lot of the original 1950's guys live...Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles, Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers, Little Richard, BB King etc, etc,...and some of those gigs were phenomenal while others were a bit disappointing. Duane's set last weekend was far and away the best gig by a 1950's artist that I have ever seen. I had the distinct feeling that what we were listening to was exactly how it sounded to audiences back in 1958 or 59. Duane's the man!
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Doesn't get much cooler than this! And I'm not suprised the band was great too...oh how I wish I could have been there!
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Awww, how good does that 6120 sound? Great to see Duane with his Gretsch again and nice to hear a band that can play his music well too. Full marks!
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I just have to say, as others have mentioned, Duane sure looks good with the DSV strapped on. And Oh, the tone. That was about as good as it gets.
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Hope you guys realize how priviledged you were! Man, what a show. Thanks for the pics and sound gents. Completely and totally fantastic.
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Thanks, Tim. Edit: having now listened to some of the mp3s I must congratulate Duane and Deke's band for capturing so well the real 50s "feel". No wonder Duane was pleased, this was just about the closest I've heard to the real thing that I heard in 1960 and I have most all of the clips etc. one can find. Great stuff. BTW, the link "A word from Duane..." doesn't work.
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the schroeder is correct, and of course Proteus too humble to mention it ("pretty much stock" him sez), but yes it was indeed a copper Tru-Arc on Duane's guitar.
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This was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Duane like that, with a Gretsch in his hands for the first time in a long time. Great performance doesn't do it justice. And man, to be there and feel every one of those notes reverberate through your very soul was just surreal. I've gotta tell you to, I'm not really a saxaphone fan, but the cat blowing the sax with Duane was unbeleivable. Duane told me he's the best he's worked with.
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Duane is sounding greater than ever! So are those pickups stock? It's been a long time since i saw Duane live ,Saturday 20th April 1991 with The Everly Brothers, at the Dundonald International Ice Bowl Belfast,block A ground floor row 9 admission £16.75 !
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Thanks Proteus, Bonedaddy and everyone else for all the great coverage. After idolizing Duane for 50+ years, I finally got to hear him play and meet him. How great he played and entertained us! And what a great backup band Deke put together! It was also great to meet a lot of great Gretsch page people there.
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dbirchett, actually Duane is no longer associated with Gibson. He's an independent, and thus able to choose what he wants to play. I think he went with his heart – and the fact that a new DSV sounded SO right in his hands is pretty good testimony to the quality of the current product. (Though perhaps a bit depressing to those of us who have one and can't get that tone from it.) It turns out Gibson actually WAS at NAMM, sharing booth space with Monster, as I understand it. I didn't see the display myself. Good to hear other Duane-heads' impressions of the the gig and the recordings matched mine. Didn't sound like a nostalgia act to me! Tony, I thought about you during the set and wished you could have been there. You would surely have loved it.
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Man, that is the Real Deal! Can't say much more than that. Thanks fellas for bringing this back for us to enjoy.
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This is how it should be. Gretsch in hand, tru-arc installed, great band and some good ole no BS twangin.
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I'd like to thank Proteus for making sure he got my bAld spot in all the videos!
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Billy - as far as I'm concerned, you are a dead ringer for "Five Easy Pieces"-era Jack Nicholson - perhaps the baddest of all asses, and wisest of all asses as well (probably showing my age here). Go with that, man. The sheer attitude of it all transcends any amount of visible pate. Seriously, never even noticed.

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