|Duesenberg Guitars 2016 NAMM display|
Duesenberg guitars were a big hit at this years NAMM exhibit. In researching Duesenberg, I have discovered this German manufacturer has a most interesting history.
The Rockinger Tru Tremolo had a locking system that came as an add-on and the unit included its own special nut that kept the strings in tune. Additionally the unit featured conical bearings, adjustable bridge saddles and fine tuning knobs for each string.
Eddie Van Halen Tremolo.
Les Trem II was developed and marketed as an add on for Les Paul guitars.
By 1981 the Rockinger company expanded to the United States and set up Rockinger-USA in Asbury Park New Jersey. More updated tremolo systems were added and offered and the company set up production of P-90 style pickups. A year later Rockinger began exporting products to South Africa and New Zealand.
1986 was when the Duesenberg name was first attached to a guitar. This guitar was called the Atze Rockinger Duesenberg. The name was derived from the 1920’s automobile brand that was built by Friedrich and August Duesenberg in Indianapolis Indiana. These luxury cars were high quality, high performance and very expensive automobiles. Duesenbergs were commonly nicknamed Doozy or Duesy, which eventually became an expression for a very good product.
|Rockinger Kit from Musiker Board site|
However within a few years internal differences were occurring, so that by 1991 the direct-to-customer business ceased.
That year the company was renamed Göldo Music. Their focus was on distribution and export of Germany produced instruments and part, and outsourcing components to dealers and wholesalers.
|Carl Carlton with his Duesenberg model|
Two years later the Diego high quality reproduction line was offered.
The year 2000 brought about a dramatic increase in sales, especially in the Japanese market.
|Ron Wood with his Duesenberg|
In 2003 DSP Guitar named Duesenberg as The Guitar of the Year in England.
That same year ZZ-Top's Billy Gibbons and Chris Whitley were new sponsoring artists.
|Duesenberg, Fullerton CA|
|Duesenberg, Hannover, Germany|
|Billy Gibbons with Duesebberg|
Many Duesenberg guitars come with a Bigsby style vibrato with a modified arm. Those without the vibrato usually have a tune-o-matic style bridge and a stop tailpiece. The exception is the solid body Duesenberg 49er which comes with a wrap-around tailpiece that has individual saddles.
Duesenberg utilizes some extremely unique colours and patterns on their guitars, such as transparent orange, surf green, pastel red, and glitter finishes that come in black, blue and silver. Other more extravagant finishes include mother-of-pearl, ice, blue and emerald pearl. More traditional offerings include gold, sunburst, fireburst and blonde.
Some of Duesenbergs most unique designs are done in a mosaic tiled finish with a mirrored pickguard.
And some models come with images embossed on the top such as their Johnny Depp models.
The pickguards are generally Duesenberg’s own trademark design, that includes single volume and tone controls and a Stratocaster style slider switch.
|Note the Art Diege (Art Deco) tuners|
|Hollow body Imperial|
The company's woodworking is done in Korea, but all guitar assembly is finished in Germany.
|PLEK CNC Fret Leveling Station|
|A PLEK in action|
This original fret path is indicated on screen in red and makes the fret-height anomalies quite evident.
Once all the anomalies are determined, the strings are loosened and the computer guides a mildly abrasive rubberized wheel over each fret to remove the determined amount of fret material. The fret height is achieved to an exact crown contour for each fret. It is remarkable to say the least.
The TV guitars strings pass over a tune-o-matic style bridge and are attached to their Diamond Deluxe Tremola. These are exquisitve looking instruments. This model guitar is also available with a stop tailpiece.
|TV Classic -Honey Finish|
|TV Outlaw - Leather Finish|
The TV Outlaw has leather covering on the body and headstock and a nickel plated pickguard.
|Starplayer TV Custom|
|Mike Campbel I and II|
|Duesenberg Dave Stewart Blackbird|
Duesenberg's Fullerton TV guitar combines the same features found on the TV guitar, but with a double cutaway. It also comes in a hollowbody version known as the Fullerton Hollow.
|Duesenberg CC (Carl Carlton)|
The top is made of arched maple and topped with a single pickup in the neck position. This can be either a Domino P90 or another pickup that Duesenberg calls the Little Toaster.
|Duesenberg 52 Senior|
The Double Cat is a semi-hollow body guitar that is so named due to its double cutaways.
The body is alder wood which is topped with maple laminate. The neck on this guitar is set in style with an Indian rosewood fretboard. The fret markers are pearloid dot inlay style. The tuners are Duesenberg Z style models.
|Double Cat with Multibender|
|Double Cat 12|
This guitar is topped with Duesenbergs high output Crunchbucker pickup.
The Starplayer Special is available in a variety of colours that include sparkle finishes.
The Duesenberg 49er is a single cutaway, solidbody, dual pickup set neck electric guitar. The 49ers body is made of mahogany as is the neck. This guitar features a Domino P90 pickup in the bridge position and a Grand Vintage Humbucker in the neck position.
|49er - String-through|
Once again the fretboard on the 49er is made of Indian rosewood topped with pearloid dot markers. The tuning keys are also unique with their art deco design.
|49er with Outlaw finish|
The 49er comes in Honey, Gold-Top, Blue-Pearloid and the Outlaw design, which features Leather on the guitars top and headstock
Duesenberg’s Dragster is a electric solidbody guitar with just a single Domino P90 pickup in the bridge position. The body and neck are both made of mahogany. The fretboard is again Indian rosewood with pearloid dot position markers..
|Double Cutaway Dragster|
Although The Dragster it is a single coil pickup, there is a slider switch on the pickguard that provides a variety of tones.
|Oil and Wax Finish|
The bridge is a wrap-around style, but its unique design allows for individual string saddles. This model comes as a single cutaway or double cutaway with a variety of finishes or better yet as a double cutaway with bare wood and an oil and wax finish.
The Fullerton Bass appears to be a double cutaway version of the Starplayer Bass, however the Fullerton bass is a true hollow body instrument and the electronics are different. They include a single volume and tone control and a slider switch to activate the choice of the basses dual Bass-Bucker pickups.
The headstock is topped with 4 Duesenberg Z tuners done in Art Deco design. It only comes in Fireburst.
This basses body has a unique shape. Pickups are controlled by a single volume and tone control and a five-way blade switch. The headstock is topped with four Duesenberg Z-Tuners that are featured with an Art Deco design.
|Duesenberg D Bass|
The body is made of contoured American alder wood. There are twin staggered pickups placed in the same manor as one would find on a Fender Precision Bass. The pickups are Duesenberg’s “Toaster” models. Once again the headstock is topped the Art Deco tuners.
This bass comes with a unique adjustable bridge/saddle and a separate tailpiece. It also can be ordered with a fretless neck.
Aside from the guitars that I have already described, Duesenbert offers several artist models which feature input from the artists, but are based on standard Duesenberg models.
|Johnny Depp - Joe Walsh - Mike Campbell - Peter Stroud - Dave Stewart (bottom)|