Duane Eddy's House of Twang

Just realised how much of an influence Duane has been on me

1

I've been playing for almost 40 years now (gasp!). I first started playing after hearing Sultans of Swing on the radio, which is what made me think Aha! I must play guitar. But for most of the time I have been playing I have had a deep twangy sound reverberating in my head as what a guitar should sound like. For years and years I have been refining my version of that kinda sound. It's why I bought my first Gretsch, after reading how twangy they can be. This was way before the internet.

I tried Strats, Teles, various Gibsons... Got close, but it was when I got my first 6120 I started to get there. And then when I got my first single-cut 6120 - an SSU - in around 2000, I felt at home. Not a Dyna model, but close. But in all these years it never occurred to me where this mysterious sound in my head might have come from.

Funny thing is we had no Duane records in my house as I was growing up. And for years none in my house once I got married. I don't know exactly where I heard Duane's playing, but it stayed in my subconscious ever since. I did see Duane play in Perth in 1975 and remember being very impressed. I was 10.

There are many guitar players whose playing has impressed me very much, and I have tried to figure out what they do. Scotty Moore, Joey Santiago, Rev Horton Heat, Nick Curran - but the sound i hear in my head is Duane.

All I can think is that Duane's sound and touch must be mighty potent stuff - for a sound to stay in my head with so little exposure over the years is remarkable. I think Duane must have sensed that being able to play is part of the equation, but being able to play with such a beautiful and memorable sound is what separates the wannabes from the pros. Duane's playing is a singer with a beautiful voice and great technique. A wonderful combination.

And a huge influence. Go Duane!

2

I think we all get caught up , at some point, at what sound we're looking for and have to take a step back and realize who made that sound. I was inspired to pick the guitar back up seriously when I was @ 15 or 16 and George Thorogood hit the scene. I wanted to play like that but I didn't want to sound like that, Years later, I realize that my dance around the pick playing is more like Alex Lifeson's, not that I can play like him but the influence is certainly there, without my ever trying. At times, Jimmy Page is influencing my sound and at others, well, there ya go, It's Duane. Man I love this place and I am so glad I kept making the effort to learn. I'm self taught and it has been a looong road to get where I am now, which is just passable.

3

I played for years before I felt good enough to get a Gretsch. Between Duane and Chet and George, that sound, that twang, was in all of our heads, in our collective subconscious. There was something so special about certain sounds blasting out of the 6X9 speakers from the Am radio in a car rolling down a lonely hiway; Rebel Rouser, That'll Be The Day, I fought The Law, Day Tripper, and yes, Sultans of Swing. Not all were Gretches, but they were the sounds that stuck in your head, the ones you tried to get on that cheap Silvertone or Harmony.

Thanks to all of those people that started us on our lifetime quests for "that" sound. Even if we never quite achieve it, we're enjoying the hunt.

4

I was fortunate enough to hear Duane Eddy play at the Gretsch NAMM show this year. I was like a deer in headlights with my jaw open probably the whole show. His sound is so pure and it hit me right in the gut and the heart. Like you said, "being able to play with such a beautiful and memorable sound is what separates the wannabes from the pros". I felt a responsibility to stand there and watch the whole show for both me and my Dad who lives in PA.

5

Duane's sound is the sound. Everything else is details.

6

I would call Duane an influence also although my leads really have no twang and my playing is a mash-up of Stevie Ray, Albert King, Dicky Betts, T-Bone Walker, Johnny Winter, Dave Gilmour, Luther "Guitar JR." Johnson, Freddie King, quite a few more and well....stuff just made up by me.

Where Duane really is a huge influence is the approach. He "lends" his guitar to the song and therefore lifting the song up to its greatest potential. Duane is completely selfless, defines the highest level of discipline but yet always is filled with "cool" and soul.

His discipline is transparent and makes me a better player. One could even say Duane Eddy "keeps me in line" which helps me improve and love playing even more.

7

Duane's sound is the greatest guitar sound ever.

Some time ago, I watched a video of Duane not doing his "hits thing," but a complex fingerstyle piece. I don't remember the name of the tune, but if you didn't know better, you could have mistaken the playing for Chet's.

Does anyone have any links of Duane doing more complex pieces like that (I'm thinking that I must have gotten it here)?

Thank you.

8

Duane and his unique guitar sound , has had such a profound influence on my life . From 1958 things changed , trying to play those riffs like Mr.Eddy , having to have my fingers extricated from the neck of the guitar . I gave up thinking just sit back and loose yourself in the masters work. ---- From 1958 I had started going out with my wife . She would say , " You have two lines of conversation , Duane Eddy and politics ! " - Fifty nine years on she would say , " Nothing has changed ! "

9

I just finished reading all of the previous comments. What a GREAT thread with delightfully candid memories of the long shadow Duane has cast over all of us. This should be included in the liner notes for Duane's next album.

Separate thought: Forgetting Gretsch guitars for a second, I wonder how many guitars with Bigsby vibratos Duane has helped to sell.

Song idea: How about a Duane-like instrumental of "It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing" re titled "It Don't Mean A Thang If It Ain't Got That Twang?"

OK, I better stop now before I hurt someone ... or myself.

10

The man knows his influence upon the masses of guitar players, and is quite humble about it. I was personally ignorant to how much I was indirectly influenced by Duane's playing by other artists, but once exposed to the man's music, forever in debt.

Can't we just get him a nice cake or something?

I'm sure he'd appreciate that, too.

Or, maybe, a jelly of the month club membership?

11

Although I credit George with me getting off my butt and starting to play guitar, the first person to picque my interest in the instrument was Duane. His impact on so many people is undeniable.

12

Duane's sound is the greatest guitar sound ever.

Some time ago, I watched a video of Duane not doing his "hits thing," but a complex fingerstyle piece. I don't remember the name of the tune, but if you didn't know better, you could have mistaken the playing for Chet's.

Does anyone have any links of Duane doing more complex pieces like that (I'm thinking that I must have gotten it here)?

Thank you.

– Lionel

Maybe - CANNONBALL RAG?

13

Decades ago I purchased the first of a long line of guitars, none of which I played well as my long suffering family will attest. My main influence has always been Duane and the great thing is that he has also steered me towards other great music I might not have discovered. Twang A Country Song pointed me in the direction of George Jones and I am forever grateful for that ! I hear our man's influence in so much music and the undeniable truth is that after all these years Duane Eddy's sound is still current. Aligned to the fact he is one of the nicest people I have ever met we have the perfect package . A few years back Duane signed my pick guard and I said "Maybe this will make me a better player" which made him laugh. He was right to laugh - it didn't help !

14

Thank you very much, Tony.

Are there any more like that out there?

I wish that Duane would do an entire album of that stuff, dedicating it to Chet, of course.


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