2006 - Mike Campbell, Rolling Stones, Tito

2006

Nathan – Tom Petty

At the end of 2005 Ingo had the great idea to give our Starplayers a Rally look with two wide white stripes on a metallic blue background. 

A short time later, after two prototypes were finished, Nathan called him with the news that his new "contact", the Black Crowes, should get their black TV Starplayers in Las Vegas. They had a joint concert with Tom Petty planned.

Ingo told Nathan that he had to bring an instrument into the tour bus of the Tom Petty Band and that he would immediately send him an instrument by express mail, namely the new blue and white "Rallye" guitar. With it in his luggage Nathan flew to Las Vegas. Nathan delivered the black one to the fully drugged Black Crowes, to finally get the blue and white one onto the tour bus of the Tom Petty Band. About two weeks later Nathan got a phone call, and on the phone was Mike Campbell. He asked what the guitar was doing with him. Nathan told him that we would like to work with him and that would have been our idea as a proposal. Mike said that he really liked the guitar, but that we still had to change a lot of things. So Nathan called Ingo and told him everything. Ingo suggested that Mike should first play the instrument for two weeks to get used to it, and then we go from there.

Two weeks later they had the next conversation: the instrument was great, everything was fine, nothing to change, everything was fine. Then we had his signature engraved on a nickel pickguard, and that was the Mike Campbell model.

Later on there was even a limited version for the 40th anniversary of Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers. But that' s another story.

Soon we presented Mike with another version of our new "Double Cat", with his personal "Alligator" logo on the top. He was very enthusiastic about the 12-string version: The strings were strung the other way round (octave string first), with the additional feature that with our bridge, each of the twelve strings could be individually adjusted for intonation. With details like this you can convince people of our technical competence!

 

At the NAMM show, Nathan had again set up the same wide booth and had it ready to go. The showcases framed in walnut, two high tables with bar stools. Everything went well, and due to our constant presence in the USA we gradually had a whole new status - Duesenberg-USA! In addition, a well-known painter named Sebastian Krüger - a good friend of Ron Wood's - had published some of his finely alienated and sinfully expensive Stones portraits as limited edition prints. We showed one of them at our booth by Keith Richards, which underlined our Stones friendship in the best possible way.

49er

 

At the end of 2005, we launched our 49ers line, as if they had already existed since 1949. Solid body, a bit smaller than the Starplayers, fat, glued-on maple top for the Les Paul lover. But instead of a stop tailpiece, it had strings drawn through the body in slim screw sockets, where you could even adjust the exit height of the strings individually. Add to that our crunchbucker on the bridge and a domino on the neck. It was very well received at the Frankfurt fair.


Trans-Trem collapse

Even in my earliest youth I was allowed to buy the latest Mickey Mouse magazine every week. I always thought the stories with Goofy sucked, but the Donald Duck episodes were great.  Especially the stories with Daniel Düsentrieb.  He had a garage with a sign saying "inventions that have been discarded".  That's how it is with "inventors"!  All sorts of things you think up end up in the garbage can instead of going into serial production.  So much for the preface:

 Although I am not a great friend of this country music with its super-melodic pedal-steel effects, I have always been fascinated by the idea that a tremolo could be used to "transpose" a chord to other pitches without changing the intervals between the six strings.

There was (or still is?) this Steinberger "trans tremolo", which caused many users to have nervous breakdowns.  The goal: to tremolize the strings up and down in the same proportion, while maintaining the harmonic chord - just like on a lap steel guitar when you push the bar back and forth.  This is an extremely complex problem with a tremolo.  The deflection of the respective string relative to the center of the axis must be different in order to produce the same pitch step with the same lever movement of the tremolo.  Therefore, all string support points must be at different distances from the center of the axis.  Then there is the problem of string thickness: the thin high E-string needs much more deflection in relation to the thicker G-string, which needs much less deflection to change tonal in the same proportion.  To make all this adjustable for different string sets requires an extreme, fine mechanical effort.  The only practicable solution is to develop a system that works with fixed string strengths.  But even there, tolerances occur, because every G-string of .017 gauge is not necessarily exactly like the other one.  So such a system can at best only function acceptably within a small range of - say - two whole tones up and down.


Here are two examples:  A very unusual one from the 80s.  Back then, I was crazy enough to come up with a fully adjustable system that even had something like adjustable depth stops (like a router's) so that you could change the overall tuning by several semitones with a knob. But too much was too much and off to the garage of "discarded inventions" it went!


The second one from this year 2005, where I ran the strings over height-adjustable grub screws, also went into the barrel.  Unfortunately the strings broke very quickly. Nevertheless, I kept on working on it and you will know when our practical Trans-Trem comes on the market.

But here is a sample of this fantastic effect:

2006 Rolling Stones again in Hannover

Everything had fit perfectly. Ron Wood played with our Pearl-Duese and, because he is a very skilled painter, is a friend of Sebastian Krüger, who lives 30km from Hannover in a village called Springe and who had made a lot of fine portraits of the four of them (see photo of one of his works!).


The day before the concert, the three Stones guitar techs, Pierre Debaufort, Michael "Derek" Phelps and Dave, whose last name I forgot, actually visited us in my workshop in the Oesterleystraße. You have to imagine that: For a relatively small guitar company this was a high-profile visit.


They looked around curiously, asked all kinds of questions and were extremely impressed by our creative work.  Pierre spontaneously fell in love with an old, very narrow tweed case, which was probably made to store some weapons rather than a lap steel.  Obviously we both had the same taste.  I gave him the case as a present later.  And after the factory tour Ingo and I invited the three Stones techs to my favorite restaurant "Rossini Bistro", which was also a complete culinary success.  (Many Yanks don't know what "real good Italian cuisine" means!)

The next day backstage, where I had the extreme pleasure of playing the soundcheck together with the techs, including a trip on the catwalk built in the middle of the soccer stadium.  They had an incredible monitor control, i.e. wherever you were, you were "followed" and sounded perfect from one of the countless monitors.  It could not have been more professional.  And don't think the Rolling Stones would ever put those horrible in-ear monitors into their ears!


Oh God, and then Ronnie with "our" guitar ...


There's a nice YouTube video from July 2014 on which I'm playing the soundcheck with the Stones' techs in Madrid at Bernabeo Stadium (Real Madrid): https://youtu.be/c3pTvoXUMIU This, by the way, on a Duesenberg Outlaw with the amp that was set up for Mick Taylor.  A great sound!


Later, at the beginning of September, the Stones played another concert in Horsens, Denmark. They had asked us to get them some fine tuning fork units from Wittner as presents for some of their dear friends. We got that set up and I flew there with a huge suitcase full of tuning forks. That was already the time when smoking was no longer allowed at airports. Not for me! I just went downstairs somewhere in the basement and smoked some cigarettes without being observed. Still: Fucking smoking!


Musik & Prominenz

All sorts of other celebrities showed up in Hannover. At least Robbie Williams, whose guitarist Stephen Duffy played a Pearl guitar. Bela B stopped by and signed a 49er guitar.



Picture middle: Ingo and his still little son Luca, who also works with us today.


Tito again - live in Hannover

And finally again my beloved Tito & Tarantula.  Tito is the same age as me; a charismatic and well educated Mexican.  And you have to pay attention to his guitarist Steven Hufstetter, a fantastic man.  For me one of the best guitarists ever!  As you know, the two of them produced the song "After Dark" for the movie "From Dusk Till Dawn", which can also be found in my version including saxophone and rainmaker on our CD "Morrison & More".  For this song Tito always gets a bunch of people on stage to celebrate the vampire dance.  And since I treated myself to the concert at close range right in front of the stage, he pulls me up and lets me - absolutely nothing was agreed upon beforehand - sing the last chorus!  Wicked!  And also take a look at the little newspaper article!


And we had a nice lunch at my favorite Italian Ireneo Pellegrinelli's "Rossini-Bistro", which I frequented almost daily, which the "Titos" really appreciated.

Soccer

The Bundesliga has always bored me. The only thing that interested me were World and European Championships. From time to time I organized soccer evenings for all kinds of friends in the Oesterley. Everybody was seated with my not inconsiderable collection of 50s style seating and fed with sparkling wine and an Italian buffet from  my favorite Italian place, the Bistro Rossini. Let me say in advance that - from my point of view - the best soccer can be enjoyed in Spain (which I have been enjoying since the end of this year until today). And pay attention: international soccer is FULL of Spanish players. Of course, there are a lot of Latinos as well ...

 And interesting: When I came to Madrid, I despised Real Madrid because of their money and I admired FC Barcelona because of their coach Guardiola and because of those guys like Pujols, Jabi, Iniesta and even Piquet. But for some years now I have been a fan of Simeone and Atletico Madrid! Barça no more!

Pickup-Shifting


The bridge pickup of a Fender-Strat sounds different depending on the position (normal or left-handed-reverse). And even the neck pickup sounds different on a 24 fret guitar than on a 21 fret guitar. To explore this further, I came up with a pickguard construction where you could twist and move the bridge and neck pickup: specially shaped surrounds that were "clamped" under the top pickguard with plenty of clearance. This made sense for the bridge pickup, whereby the neck pickup always sounded best the closer it was positioned to the neck. It was a nice idea, but it didn't make it into production. Ergo: "Storage Garage"

Open Strat Pickup Covers

Finally something that didn't end up in the bin! Nickel silver covers, which, unlike plastic, shield the coils of our authentic reproductions, look chic and match our large pickup covers perfectly.

Wrap-Around-Trem


As an old fan of the Wrap-Around-Bridge I thought this construction in a tremolo could be awesome. But since the string tension at the bridge is much greater with this construction, a translation was needed. I mounted the bridge between the legs of our tremolo and drilled two grub screws in the front of the legs for height adjustment. On the central axis, where the strings are normally attached, I mounted a cam with a ball bearing, which pressed on a kind of reed, which was attached to the bottom of the bridge.

This worked super soft with a perfect tone response, as you are used to from wrap-arounds.  But there were problems with the overall height, and the bearing including the defined zero point was not perfect either.  Once again into the barrel!  But sometime I'll go back to it ...

Cam-Trem

The cam, which was also part of our tremolo mold, had to be used somehow.  So instead of the low-pressure roller, I attached a rotating tailpiece between the legs (see photos).  This also worked super soft, but the company decided that it was "too soft".  I thought it was great, but still: throw it in the garbage can!

Here is a tremolo with a big metal cover, which we used from time to time.

And here are the specialties that were and still are our favorites ...

2006 Kottan-Mania

At the end of the 70's the Austrian series "Kottan ermittelt" came on TV. The first episodes were about murders in tenement houses, colonies of arcades etc. Enriched with a lot of Viennese black humor. But episode after episode it all became more and more surrealistic. Several gags that had nothing to do with the actual film plot. For example, Detective Inspector Kottan suddenly had a band and the always hysterical department chief Pilch conspicuously often never gets coffee from the vending machine. Okay, so far ... But the crowning glory was the last episode: Kottan, now suspended from duty, takes a job with a doctor Mabuse and finds out that Mabuse kidnaps many important Viennese politicians etc. and replaces them with replicas that he produces from beef. Something absolutely wacky, hair-raising ... I was a total fan. and one day I was told that the whole series was available in a DVD three-pack. I watched it several times with renewed enthusiasm. So I had the crazy idea to write a documentary about this series.


The first thing I did was to contact the director Peter Patzak. He was immediately willing to allow me to look into his various boxes of archive material. It should also be mentioned that the ingenious screenwriter Helmut Zenker, who had invented this whole madness, had died.



Without further ado I traveled to Vienna and visited the extremely obliging Peter Patzak in his sophisticated villa. Of course, he had lots of stories to tell about the series, which I recorded on the Dictaphone and later wrote down. He also allowed me to go through all the boxes and cases whose contents were related to the series. And what seemed important to me, I was allowed to photograph.

Soon I checked into my new, small Formentera apartment, looked meticulously through each episode and typed all the facts into the computer. I also took lots of screenshots for illustration. I got up at nine in the morning and typed until nine in the evening. Then I went to the Fonda Pepe for dinner. Then I wrote for another two or three hours. And not a single time to the beach. I'm not really into that and I would never lie in the sun. Maybe a short bath, and then off to the shady beach kiosco, at that time mostly the "Pirata Bus". 14 hours daily layout and writing What work! But it has become a fundamental work.



A small book excerpt here:

Autumn 2006 - Ines Diarte - Madrid

 

Boom! That was when I was hit hard. Just as I was finishing my Kottan documentary in late fall on Formentera, I met Ines Diarte, a French artist living in Madrid. Fascinated by the lady, I fell in love with her and visited her in Madrid a short time later. Boom again! We were a couple. Ines had a huge loft near the bullfight arena on the fourth floor of an industrial building, where she welded sculptures together from sheet steel and etched motifs into steel plates using a screen-printing technique. Very exciting woman and we had a really good time together, with some visits to see her parents in Normandy and to see her aunt in Paris. By the way, communication always took place in English - which did not help my Spanish, which was still very poor at that time.