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.


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