2002 - 2004-Ron Wood, Rolling Stones, Stars & more, Soave
2002 – Ron Wood
We had just redesigned the bodies of our star players with a domed back and top and placed extremely thin mother of pearl pieces on a prototype (a bit like a Zemaitis guitar) and our new Duesenberg proprietary tremolo with the simple string threading through small holes in a block under the axle shaft (instead of those thin pins for the ball ends) and the round lever, which is much better in the hand, was installed, as it happened that my old friend Chris Jagger and his band Atcha had a gig in Hannover's Blues Garage. Of course they stopped by and I showed him this guitar: "Wouldn't that be something for Ron Wood of The Stones? "Of course", said Chris. "I know where he lives and I'll bring it over to him." No sooner said than done. Ron was thrilled. The comment he sent me: "Dieter made a tremolo that really stays in tune! And already he played this Duesenberg at all the Stones concerts. And when he didn't play it, it was in the stand next to his amp for the entire concert, along with an ESP solid. Chris sent a bunch of photos of Ronnie with the guitar on his sofa, as well as a signed copy of a self-portrait with a dedication: "Dieter, the guitar is superb". (Ron is also an accomplished painter, by the way.) Success all along the line.
now something completely different ... 2002 - Carl Carlton's wedding on MallorcaCarl lived with a certain Natascha on Mallorca. For the purpose of a spectacular celebration of his marriage he invited to a Balearic weekend. All inclusive and big party on a boat that was supposed to navigate off the coast of Palma.
Dress code: all in white! I had white pants with me, because summer. But I couldn't avoid to buy a white jacket in Campanet, which I wore during this event. But since then it is still hanging in my closet in Madrid, what nonsense! Well, there were all kinds of illustrious guests like Robert Palmer, Udo Lindenberg (including gorilla), Dieter Dierks, Bertram Engel and many more. During the day there was a heavy storm and the festival seemed to be in great danger. But towards 5 pm the sky cleared and the sun came out like an angel. The actually planned live music could not be realized, but it was still a respectable event, even including jumping into the sea from the boat. And Udo gave a skilful wedding anthem without accompaniment. There I also met Kurt Scheidegger, a Stones fan with whom I am still a good friend today, and who had a special connection to the Rolling Stones - more details here in chapter 2003 ...
Well, the marriage with Natascha did not last long.
2002 – Larry Garner
With joy we became aware that this super blues man played a star player, yes, in Hannover's Blues garage.
Carl Carlton put him up to it. The old rocker Spedding once had a real hit with the song "Motor Biking" and later played in the band of Brian Ferry. There is also a DVD where he plays with Robert Gordon at the Paradiso (Amsterdam), 15 songs with our Duesenberg, practically without any retuning and without a broken string. A primary rock of rock. W were mighty proud that he was so happy with our guitar.
Spedding at the Paradiso, Amsterdam - Motorbiking: https://youtu.be/Pudb5V6mx8A
Meanwhile, I was musically very active with my "Duesenberg" band, plenty of concerts in the Hannover area. We had a very nice concert at the so called "Lister-Meile-Fest", where during our song "After Dark" a small brawl between two vagrants took place in front of the stage. One of them, a toothless, frail old man, attacked a younger, rather rocker-like styled guy, who, while dancing, merely avoided the helpless blows of the aggressive old man and made fun of him. We had kindly filmed the concert. The video is on Youtube and has reached almost 4,500 clicks to date. See: https://youtu.be/_ddmsZsnKdw
Shortly afterwards we recorded our CD "Morrison & More". My old Formentera friend Miro plays some nice saxophone solos. Various songs can be heard here under "Audio"
Too much work in our company. So Ingo brought his former work colleague Daniel Frantz to us. That was a good move, because Daniel is super reliable and still with us today! And a little later, another ex-work colleague joined us, Ted Otto, who meticulously took care of incoming goods and later future trainees.
New Duesenberg users were also added: John Platania, this very discreet musician who plays the guitar on what I consider to be the best Van Morrison double album, namely "It's Too Late To Stop Now". And in addition the grey eminence Robby McIntosh, who got a DCC through Carl.
In addition, we brought as the cheapest guitar the DSP Starplayer Solidbody on the market, a kind of scaled-down TV with glued maple top, screw neck and two humbuckers, at the bridge the new "Crunchbucker". The next year, after all, was voted "Guitar Of The Year" in England.
2003 – Rolling Stones in Hannover
There they were with their gigantic stage. I have to mention that I've been a Stones fan from the very beginning and they are still the greatest for me. We had already prepared everything for a backstage visit, especially since my Swiss friends Kurt and Edith Scheidegger were there. Kurt has always had the best rapport with the Stones, since in 1990 he lent two Zemaitis guitars to Keith Richards for the Stones tour - one of them identical in construction to one that Keith had lost in a fire. In addition, Kurt and Edith formed the hard core of a fan group that had accompanied the Stones to all their concerts on various European tours. As we are all well known - Kurt because of the two Zemaitis guitars and me because of Ronnie's Starplayer - the pre-briefed Johnny Starbuck, Ron's guitar tech, picked us up at the edge of the stage and led us into the holy backstage area.
Johnny had just put new strings on "our" guitar, which the techs routinely do on all instruments before every concert. This is an integral part of their job. And I had to get a compliment from Johnny for threading the strings on our tremolo. We don't have those stupid tiny pins anymore, from which the ball ends and strings always disappear when the strings are wound on a Bigsby.
Then he put them in the rack with Ron's other guitars. Their purpose was to be used on "Midnight Rambler".
Note the label "Doozy"! We looked at all this and then disappeared into the concert crowd again. Kurt asked if I wanted a beer. "Here you go". Shortly afterwards he came back with a promising look and some solid plastic cups. He lifted one up in front of my face, and I couldn't believe it: there was actually a photo of the four Stones printed on it, and Ronnie with "our" guitar. Wow! Unbelievable! And these mugs must have been used by tens of thousands on the tour.
It was a great concert, but unfortunately a security man discovered us taking pictures and demanded our films. But Kurt still had an empty roll of film in his trouser pocket which he gave to this idiot, so that we got the most important shots. See for yourself!
And then a video of the Stones appeared in the Parisian studio, Ronnie with our guitar!
We had sent the gentlemen a dark aubergine-colored DCC to Paris. This guitar was sold at the auction of a Bill Clinton Foundation on June 19, 2020 for a whopping £156,250 pounds!
To return here to Ron Wood's enthusiasm for our tremolo: I even fear that these American tremolos, which were installed on Gibsons, Guilds and Gretsch guitars over the decades, were rather appreciated by guitarists as decorative elements without practical use, but that hardly any guitarist ever used them, precisely because of their fatal malfunctions. Tremolos as a kind of fear factor! It starts with stringing, and it ends with constant detuning. Thus, many have simply taken out the spring and replaced it with something solid.
Duesenberg tremolos do not have these hardships, but we had to "fight" until the tremolos of our guitars were recognized as highly professional tools. And that was an absolute new discovery for many guitarists: a tremolo that works!
TMR9N Bigsby Replacement-Set
And so we implemented our idea of the bottom-mounted ballend block, through which the strings are threaded, as a replacement set for Bigsby tremolos in this early year. Our axleshaft has a diameter of 10mm, while the Bigsby axle has an American measurement of the equivalent of 9.4mm. So we had an axle made for it with just that diameter, along with the bottom ballend block.
The exchange is not quite problem-free, because you have to pull out these small, pressed-in pins from the shaft with pliers. If a pin breaks off, you have to file or flex away the remaining end. Otherwise you won't be able to pull the shaft out. If in doubt, hire a guitar maker! But the success is worth it!
And it should take until 2020 until the Bigsby company copies our idea.
MANUAL SUPER TREMOLA replacement kit:
- To remove and install the axleshaft, you need the following tools:
1) Snap ring pliers
2) Sharp end cutter pliers
3) Small Phillips screwdriver
4) Screw clamp
A. Clamp the tremolo to the table
B. Pull out the 6 pins:
1) Start with an outer one by placing the pliers (precutter) on the adjacent pin and using it as a fulcrum.
2) Pull out all other pins in the same way.
3) If a pin breaks off, file the remaining end with a fine file before pulling out the shaft.
C. Carefully spread the snap ring and pull it off. Then pull out the shaft.
D. Using the Allen wrench, loosen the grub screw so that the lever arm can be removed from the shaft.
E. Tighten the new axleshaft well on the lever and insert it into the tremolo housing.
F. Now screw on the ball end block with the 3 Phillips screws.
We also launched the DSP Starplayer Solidbody as our most affordable guitar, a kind of scaled-down TV with a maple top, screw neck and two humbuckers, with the new "crunchbucker" at the bridge. The next year, after all, was voted "Guitar Of The Year" in England.
New Duesenberg users had found us: John Platania, this very discreet musician, who plays the guitar on the m.M. after best Van Morrison double album, namely "It's Too Late To Stop Now". And in addition the venerable Robby McIntosh, who got a DCC through Carl. And another one of the very best: Robbie McIntosh!
There was a lot of work for our company. As a result, Ingo brought his former colleague Daniel Frantz to join us. This was a good move, as Daniel is super reliable and still with us today! A little later another former colleague named Ted Otto also joined us, who carefully managed the incoming goods department and later future trainees.
To come back to Ron Wood's enthusiasm for our tremolo: I even think that these American tremolos, which were installed on Gibsons, Guilds and Gretsch guitars over the decades, were rather appreciated by guitarists as decorative elements without any practical use, but that hardly any guitarist ever used them, precisely because of their fatal disadvantages. Tremolos as a kind of fear factor! It starts with stringing, and it ends with constant detuning. Thus, many have simply taken out the spring and replaced it with something solid.
Duesenberg tremolos do not have these hardships, but we had to "fight" until the tremolos of our guitars were recognized as highly professional tools. And that was an absolute new discovery for many guitarists: a tremolo that works!</br />
Ballend Stopper Tailpiece
It's much more comfortable if you don't have to thread the strings through the holes of the stop tailpiece, but can simply hook them in the back. But they tend to slip out of the tailpiece, which is also annoying. That's why I had the idea of attaching a round bar under spring tension at the back, which holds the ballends in their holes. But unfortunately it soon ended up in the garage "for inventions that are not sufficiently suitable for sale" ...
Telecaster jack plate spreader
Installing an original jack plate set in a Tele-Body is a real pain in the ass, because this small rectangular plate has to get stuck in the jack hole. For this purpose, I have developed this spreading tool, which makes it very easy. You just bend the plate inwards, put it on the screw in the right place, and tighten the wing nut so that the plate spreads straight again. Ha!
For more than a decade, a small vintage guitar fair was held every May in the idyllic northern Italian town of Soave. All this in the beautiful, medieval ambience of the centuries-old mayor's office.
Our Dixie Kidd was present as always, as well as Seniore Davoli as our Italian importer. In the middle Rick Harrison, former owner of the HIWATT brand of amps. Musicians like Albert Lee, Jerry Donahue, Johnny Highland, Larry Coryell and many more played there as "special guests."
A guy from Nice told me that now Brian Ray, guitarist in the Paul McCartney band, also had a Starplayer. There was a restaurant which offered various dishes made of horse meat in addition to the good drinkable Soave wine. This is a great meat, as steak is better than beef!
Unfortunately, this show has not been held since 2015, which is a pity. The really nice things are not coming back!
In August this wonderful email, namely in English and at the same time in German, was translated by Google, by ZZ-TOP or "ZZ-upper part" regarding Mr. "Invoice F. Gibbons":
Billy Gibbons is a really funny guy, intelligent and humorous. He also had the idea for our later "Senior" model and even drew us a little sketch.
And Dusty Hill is also a rogue!
The time seemed ripe for us to release a "Fender style" model. Time for the "V-Caster"! But we didn't want to follow in Fender's footsteps so closely and I preferred to place authentically wound single-coil coils with Alnico bar magnets in our humbucker frames. They fit in there without any problems and even the bridge pickup was placed diagonally into the pickguard like Fender's. The tone pot was inactive in the middle position and turned clockwise added the middle pickup and lowered the treble in the other direction.
All well thought out, but the sales results were poor: The guitarist's brain works like this: "What this looks like, it must also sound like.". And if it looks different, but sounds the same…. "I don't understand anything ...". Bitter experience and soon off to the "rejected inventions" department!
Jule Göls & Raab
My daughter Jule, (presenter on the children's channel KIKA) was invited to the Stephan Raab Show for a birthday and presented him with our new V-Caster, a guitar in DSP form, a little thinner and with 3 single coils in humbucker housings. Stephan - also quite a good guitarist - was very pleased, especially since he was one of the first who had bought a Duesenberg in 1996 from the Karlsruhe Rockshop. He played some hot Rock'n'Roll with the house band Meiomei. Several million people watched that!
In the same year, I was on Formentera at least twice, always living in the beautiful Casita of the aforementioned saxophonist Miro. In March I had revised the göldo catalog and in autumn I wrote my second book "Formentera Fever", in which my protagonist Gerd Hammer experiences exciting and frightening things.
Ulli Heicher's last journey
My very close friend Ulli, also bass player and singer of our band Rollinger, had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, pretty much the worst thing that can happen to you. Ulli was a great guy, a prankster, a brilliant word twister, he could make unbelievable noises, total Tower-Of-Power fan and himself a brilliant bass player with a brilliant voice. Shortly before his death he was still able to go on a last trip to Formentera with me. I'm sure this was able to pull him out of his gloom at least a little bit. In the following February he passed away, a great loss.
Here you can hear his voice again:
Sweet Emma (Rollinger)
Easy Money (Lowel George)
Hanno Grossmann (guitar), Rudi Käding (drums) and myself (vocals & guitar).
And another nice G&B article about Carl ...