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Gretsch Q&A With Duane Eddy

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Duane Eddy at Summer Jamboree

Duane Eddy (R) and Adam Bowden-Smith of Gretsch.

By Adam Bowden-Smith

In August, Gretsch signature artist Duane Eddy made his first-ever appearance in Italy to headline the annual Summer Jamboree festival in Senigallia, halfway down the east coast. Playing his signature Gretsch G6120DE, his trademark twang rolled over the crowd of thousands.

After a storming hour-long set, Eddy found time between signing autographs for the bustling crowd and a late dinner to have a quick chat with Gretsch about his first visit to Italy, as well as guitars, the band and the food.

GretschGuitars.com: This is your first time in Italy, but is it your first time in Europe?

Eddy: No, I’ve worked in the U.K., Germany, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Switzerland. Everywhere except Italy. Although, I’ve still never worked in Spain.

GretschGuitars.com: That’ll be next on the list, then.

Eddy:  Yeah, that’ll be next on the list. I’ve even been to South Africa, back in 1963.

GretschGuitars.com: How does Italy compare with the other places you’ve been in Europe?

Eddy: It’s beautiful. It’s a different beauty from England, for example. It’s, y’know, sunshine, and sea and sand. You got sea and sand in England, but not much sunshine [laughs].

GretschGuitars.com: Tell us about the particular guitar you used for this gig.

Eddy: The thing I thought was fantastic was that I shipped the guitar over from America to Italy, and I just took one that was right off the line.

GretschGuitars.com: So it’s literally just straight out of the factory?

Eddy: Right, straight out of the factory, straight to me. And so I took it out of the case and plugged it in, played it. The neck is just like my prototype. The guitar sounded great, so I put it back in the case in the box and shipped it on over here. I was amazed at being able to do that. I’ve never been able to do that. I’ve been with three different guitar companies, and I never was able to just grab one off the shelf, or pick one out of a store and play it, and it’d be just like mine.

And now I’m so pleased and proud to say that every one I’ve seen has been just like my prototype, and the company over there in Japan that builds them really are doing a fine job.

I took one off the factory line to Joe Glaser in Nashville, and I said Joe, “Check this out and see if you can adjust it so it plays better.” And I went to pick it up, he says, “Er, I can’t really charge you anything.” [laughs] He says “I can charge you a couple bucks for my time, but I couldn’t do anything to it, because they’re doing a fine job for you, at the factory. It’s perfect already.” And nothing was wrong with it. So I thought, “Wow, what a recommendation that is!”

GretschGuitars.com: Your backing band for this gig was a bit of a mix of people. Who did you have playing with you?

Eddy: Well, yeah – this is one band I use from California; Deke Dickerson. I worked with him last year in Las Vegas, I worked with him a couple of years before that in California, and also the year before that in New Orleans. I’ve worked with him about four times, but the band I usually use [in Europe] is Richard Hawley’s band, from Sheffield, and they are a superb bunch of musicians.

GretschGuitars.com: And you did a record with them, of course.

Eddy: Yes, we did a record with them, Road Trip (released on EMI in 2011), and I’ve done several (gigs). We did a whole month last year, and the month before that we did the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Festival Hall.  We’ve done up and down, everywhere from Brighton to Scotland to Glasgow and so forth. Went all over the place. And Tina and Louise, our singers, do a great job.

GretschGuitars.com: Now that you’ve played Italy, would you like to come back?

Eddy: I would love to come back, if only for the meals! [laughs] But, no – I’d love to come back. The people are sweet and nice, it’s really easy to get along with them and they’ve all been so sweet to us. So I’ve enjoyed the heck out of it. It’s been a wonderful time.

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