2012 - Joe Walsh, new tremolos, Wandé
This time the two Hanoverian filmmakers Olaf Neumann and Steffen König were in on the action. Olaf is a full-time music journalist and had set his mind on making a film about the guitar with Steffen (this actually rather commercial film maker), with a special focus on the Duesenberg brand.
Besides all kinds of sight-seeing including a visit to the fascinating Joshua Tree National Park, the two interviewed a lot of well-known musicians at the NAMM show.
wild life on the booth ...
and always rich food ...
and Dieter was allowed to play something at the Ballroom concert ...
Lilientalstreet 2 and the whole crew
The new paint boothWe were able to return to Hanover joyfully and with good orders. Meanwhile Arijan had made the new paint booth clear, which finally had a reasonable outlet to the outside. Everything went like clockwork.
New workbench on the upper floorI had moved my personal workbench to my office, with the ulterior motive that I wouldn't come here too often anyway. And the office was still big enough for everything.
FrankfurtOur penultimate appearance at this fair. The noise level in the halls had increased to such an extent that sometimes you couldn't understand your own word, let alone do proper business with our partners.
NewsFullerton double cutaway models were the order of the day. In addition a TV-Custom with three pickups and a fretless D-Bass.
And with Joe Walsh we continued to be involved. Also the Motown bass with three Alnico blade pickups and new lap steel designs.
back to MadridMy turning, milling and sawing department worked perfectly and I started working on new designs again.
And the metal-top guitars, like those made by Mr. James Trussart, I was kind of taken with them. In addition, we had to spend a considerable amount of time assembling the Resobros, which had not been calculated before, so I started thinking about how to reproduce that sound in an even easier way. An all-metal ceiling with a pressed-in arch for static stability, from which the metallic sound could be taken off again from below.
Luigi, Formentera-LyonMy friend Luigi, Swiss and currently living in Formentera, gave courses at a business school in Lyon. He had the idea of developing a study with his students in the next course on how Duesenberg could be marketed in South American countries. To do this, he asked me to make a video with a short presentation from me. Here is a part of it:
May is one of the best months for a trip to Italy by car.
Colliery bounced ...
Aldo is Italian and was a waiter in the early 1980s in "Milano", my favorite restaurant in Hannover at that time. Aldo was attentive, likeable and sometimes quite entertaining. Especially when he was suddenly chasing a supposed annoyance: If he was aware of the attention of some guests, he would walk straight to their table, carrying an espresso cup (on a saucer and spoon) in front of him with an outstretched hand. Quite normal ...
Invisible to everyone, that the cup was empty and the spoon was "hooked" into the handle.
When he arrived at the table, he simulated a stumble, with the guests at the table regularly crying out in panic. As is well known, an espresso is hot and leaves annoying marks on clothing.
Only when the alleged victims had calmed down, the sounds of pain and annoying stains had disappeared, did they realize that nothing at all had happened. The cup was empty anyway and dangled harmlessly from the spoon that Aldo held on to the saucer with his thumb.
The initial screams of panic turned almost seamlessly into loud laughter. Sometimes even into applause.
So popular with his guests, it was actually only a matter of time before Aldo opened his own restaurant. And it was in Isernhagen, a gathering place for the nouveau riche just outside Hanover.
Aldo's wife, Luana, comes from Pesaro, a small town on the Italian Adriatic coast, the birthplace of Rossini. In his honor there is a music academy and an annual opera festival. From the windows of the houses one can often hear the music students practicing their violin and cello scores. In addition, until about 25 years ago, a music fair was held there, which is why I came to this beautiful little town for the first time in 1985. Music, music, music ...
In Pesaro, Luana's brother, Lorenzo, ran a fine restaurant called Bristolino. Sophisticated Italian cuisine with a focus on seafood. In addition, a simple osteria in Pesaro offers the best pizza "bianca" I have ever eaten in my life. All this together is reason enough that I always like to make a detour to Pesaro when I travel to Italy. This time as well:
I had reserved a table by phone under "Dieter-Atze - friend of Aldo and Luana". The Bristolino is a flat porch of the Hotel Bristol, with about 300 square meters of floor space. Everything is perfectly decorated, even if with a strange touch of asian flair, everything is somehow trimmed for chicimicki.
At the door, the first question from a small-sighted, petite woman in her fifties: "Reservato? "Si, de nombre Atze". She asked us to a table near the front door. Immediately the ordered water and a pizza bread arrived, in which some cherry tomatoes had been pressed before the baking process. Delicious and unexpectedly satisfying ... while we waited for a bottle of regional Verdicchio white wine.
Finally Brother Lorenzo, the god of the temple of food, came to introduce himself. Without knowing it, I "outed" myself as a friend of Aldo and Luana, giving warm greetings from his sister. But this was obviously a mistake. Lorenzo had no interest in greetings from the sister from Hannover. Something was running very unevenly here. The only conceivable explanation: at Luana's insistence, Aldo had also joined the Jehovah's Witnesses about 20 years ago. As a result of this folly, he had lost a bunch of extremely wealthy guests and had had to lower the quality of his kitchen. Beyond that, however, I suspect that this sectarian nonsense may have worsened or even levelled the playing field with his brother-in-law Lorenzo. But as it soon turned out, this would have been the only thing that could have been to Lorenzo's credit.
After a short, discreet handshake, he went over to the daily schedule and presented us with various recommendations. So no card, no prizes, just trust.
But that's okay for me, as long as the food, drinks and ambience are all right. The chef explained that his cuisine was of the lightest and recommended to start with a mixed seafood platter. And as secundo we ordered monkfish fillet from the oven. All right, the starters would be served on a big plate anyway and we could choose who wanted to eat what or not... Well so far.
But there was no big plate, but first a plate with slices of swordfish carpaccio. Very decoratively arranged with pomegranate seeds - but not ordered. Shortly afterwards gambas ala catalan came on the table, halved scampi - also not ordered.
We had already reached saturation level. And the scallops were still to come. In any case, there was no more room in the stomach for the monkfish. Against this background we cancelled the monkfish. No problem ... one would think.
But the small-faced waitress took this rather horrified and almost anxious on record and immediately expressed doubts whether this could still be done with the kitchen. But I confirmed our request. Since we had ordered monkfish "out of the oven", it could not - in view of a certain cooking time - be that it was already in the oven. "Logical, right?"
This was followed by 50 minutes of stress, during which the waitress came to our table several times with a tearful face to let us know that she had met with considerable resistance in the kitchen when we cancelled the order: the attempt to reach a diplomatic stalemate to our disadvantage. The scallops served in the meantime were to serve as a forewarning: typical deep-frozen food, without those otherwise common orange appendages, gratinated with onions and breadcrumbs, the mussel meat with a slightly fishy character. Now we were fed up and no longer wanted to discuss the cancelled main course. Paloma left the restaurant immediately, suggesting that she wanted to smoke a cigarette outside. Looking at the next table, I pretended to put banknotes under the wine bottle, went to the toilet, grabbed my jacket when I returned, and so we disappeared. Bye, bye Bristolino!
The next morning I received a call with an Italian number. Probably brother Lorenzo. Sure, he had saved my phone number from the reservation. But by then we were already on our way to Toscana. I just pushed the call away, ignored it, like my monkfish cancellation. Fuck you ...
2012-07-McAlisterIn July 2012 this at least dubious Prime Minister of Lower Saxony McAlister came to visit us on his election campaign trip. What should one think of politicians today, please? Of course it was still good publicity for us, plenty of press and media coverage, but somehow it went against the grain.
Afterwards, a quite apt newspaper article appeared and afterwards a stupid note on an internet site "I, Dieter Gölsdorf, could now get rid of my worries at McAlister". This can make me aggressive, because I had no "worries" at all and this CDU minister is presented as a "helping hand" - contrary to all reality. On the same day, I wrote these people an e-mail with a message in my armor, which read: "What idiot could be stupid enough to publish such nonsense". Politicians and journalists - beware!
Unfortunately, the factory that had made us these tuners closed its doors, so we had to put Clip-Haus on ice for now.
Perloid, massive CelluloidI always found these pearl celluloid bindings of the Höfner jazz guitars beautiful. We could also use something like that. So we had massive, 2mm thick celluloid made in this vintage pearl look. This looks super noble for my taste, in contrast to those kitschy abalone ornaments.
TremolitisThere was a very simple tremolo on a couple of Italian guitars of the brand "Zerosette" with a pin-point bearing, which worked wonderfully smooth without going out of tune. But it had those typical "European" flaws: too little string spacing, too high (bad pressure angle on the bridge), a very easy to lose and in the inclination not adjustable lever. So I took it up and perfected all the details. We put this into production some time later in various designs.
Single Twins - First a bad surprise!
All previous attempts to make single coils "hum-free" proved to be useless at closer soundcheck. All sorts of companies had tried and praised this as the enlightenment. Two coils on top of each other, side by side, whatever. Even if the sound of these pseudo developments was very similar to a single coil, in the end the attack, the dynamics when striking the note was missing - loud and soft.
So I had the idea to put two counter-pole, vertical coils in one strat-pickup housing, like in a precision bass pickup. It worked and it sounded great, just like a real single coil. And then the nasty surprise: When I pulled the G-string upwards towards the D-string, the sound went out. Shit! This had to be caused by the counter-pole magnetic field between the strings. The only solution: to position the coils at an angle so that the magnets are further apart. Of course, it doesn't fit into a single-coil housing anymore. But possible for a Fender-like pickup in a mini humbucker housing and for a P-90 (larger dimensions in a humbucker housing). What should we call this? Idea: Single Twins! That's how they were created, the P-90 as an authentic humbucker and the mini single twin as a "Fender-Sound" replacement.
To be able to compare the sounds in an authentic way, I ordered two super-cheap Chinese Strats with plexiglass bodies. In these I milled the already existing, so-called "sandwich compartment" to the outside and then made inserts to be able to accommodate different pickups. Milling plexiglass is a mess, because this material gets electrically charged when it is milled off and sits down everywhere, as if magnetically attracted. Watch my arm and shirt.
This measure has more than paid off. But to bring the pickups into production was a considerable financial and working effort: ordering magnets in special dimensions, having coil bobbins lasered, a new nickel silver cap including bottom plate for the mini version and various prototypes made with my small winding machine. But it worked out. For a good sound nothing is too complex and nothing is too expensive!
Parts & DesignA Bigsby tremolo without a down pressure roller can be fatal, especially if you install a B5 on a Les Paul, because there is no pressure of the strings on the bridge. After all, the strings are guided around the axis with the small pins for the ball ends. If you install a B7, the pressure roller is so close to the bridge that this again leads to friction and detuning problems. Hence the idea: a short B5 and an adjustable down-pressure roller, which is screwed into the pin of the stop tailpiece that was previously removed. And then we created these decorative shims for pots and toggle switches, which simply look far more valuable than, say, the Les Paul Treble/Rhythm Plate. And a cover for Fender switches, all nicely rounded, transparent and screen printed in black and gold from below.
Thumb-Wheels und Endpins in the „Three-Step" Duesenberg-Design.
Radiator-TremoloOur tremolas were not suitable as "direct replacement" for Bigsby tremolos because of their somewhat wider construction (better string spacing). So I had the idea to develop a new design which should be halfway Bigsby-compatible in width and position of the mounting screws. The beautiful old BMW radiator grille came to my mind. Let's do it with these internal struts! And the part that lies above the frame at the back got a kind of lobster tail look. That's how the radiator (radiator grille) tremolo was created. My absolute favorite in terms of "Duesign"!
We also produced Fender replacement parts under our Roger brand, that is hardware, pickups, bodies and necks. Always the trouble with the design patents, which were now over sixty years old. For several decades, this was ignored by all copyists worldwide, until Fender or the current owner company found a legal way to protect some of their "forms" afterwards. Very questionable but of course problematic, because nobody wants to be sued by this giant. So I had two ideas to change the headstock design:
1) The line you see here below the Roger logo has a slight curvature in a Strat. And also the "corner", where it merges into the circular end, has a much bigger inner radius. So I straightened this curved line and made the inner radius extremely smaller, which, by the way, was technically practically impossible to do with the 1950s milling technique. For this purpose I placed this elliptical part underneath it at half height. For my taste it even looks more noble than the original.
2) Version 2 was the same, but without this half-high elliptical part. So you can cheat past protected designs!
Here also our tremolo with the saddles, which had a "Deluxe" engraving on both sides. We offered this with different tremolo blocks: steel, brass and aluminum. And the blocks were milled diagonally halfway up so that you could push the tremolo further down until it bumped against the milling in the body.
Piezo-BridgeFor this bridge, our elegant Tunamatic bridge was milled from the bottom to be used as the upper part of our special piezo bridge, which sits in a u-shaped lower part and should not be higher than a "normal" Tunamatic. A few years later, Heinz Rebellius and Daniel Frantz had the brilliant idea to market the bridge - as flat as it was - as a so-called "low-rider bridge", namely for guitars on which a "normal" Tunamatic could not be used because of its too high construction height.
Then we had this Telecaster-Control-Plate with the much more comfortably positioned controls, fancy new packaging with a viewing window and as a "new" product a round rod trussrod with dual-function, which had been developed more than twenty years ago and which allowed the neck to be adjusted concave or convex in both directions.
I have always liked the pickups of the Gibson Melody Makers. An inexpensive construction like a Fender pickup. But instead of the six cylindrical magnets an Alnico block magnet. That sounds very similar, but a bit stronger. And the strings are taken off evenly everywhere. Nice even in our open nickel silver caps!
Trans TremThis thing did not let go of me. Damn it, how many hours, days and weeks did I spend on it? But this project always ended with problems of disgruntlement. Let's see, some day I will bring this to perfection! But so far: Garage!
Better accessWhy does the neck end always have to be attached in a body/neck pocket that is as wide as the neck? This way you never get up to the last fret unhindered. So the idea: simply remove the neck pocket on the side of the three high strings! And simply mill the neck profile rounding on the same side to the end. In the past you might have expected problems with the stability of the connection. But with today's CNC technology, this can be milled so precisely that the side of the three low strings easily fits tightly against the edge of the neck pocket. Two strong screws are quite enough that nothing can move. Finally in the year 2020 this has been incorporated into one of our solid body series models.
WandritisAfter this first Wandré experience in Paris, these creations of Mr. Pioli drove me extremely crazy. I remembered again these two gifts from my Roman "Magnetics" friend Pierro, who had bequeathed me the body and neck of a "bikini" guitar. I dug them out of a box to make an at least halfway authentic recreation. This is what the complete original looks like, for which you have to invest at least € 25.000 nowadays.
All hardware and electrics including pickups were missing, as well as the oval loudspeaker to be flanged on. But I didn't really need that either, because Dieter owns several amps! So here is my meager possession:
The hardest thing was to somehow recreate the pickguard. I sawed out an appropriate shape from our beautiful vintage perloid and framed it with a chrome-plated plastic profile - which would have been more likely to be offered on the Internet for some car spare parts. Then I installed a volume pot in the shape of a thumbwheel and a 3-way switch above the pickups that sat in our special "senior" housings. I didn't (yet) have the original Wandré pickups, but I wanted it to look as "vintage" as possible. The "W" logo was cut out of an aluminum plate, grinded and polished and mounted behind the bridge on the continuous aluminum neck. As a bridge I installed our 12-string bridge, because there you could put the strings a bit closer together.
Underneath this continuous aluminum neck was also an aluminum tube running through the entire body, which was designed to hold a variety of those thick 1.5-volt batteries that were used to power the amplifier in the oval speaker section. I closed this on both sides with self-twisted, matching aluminum discs and mounted two end pins inside.
And there he was, that crazy bird!
Wandré and Marco Ballestri
And there is a Marco Ballestri, doctor in a clinic in Modena, who nursed the creator Antonio Wandré Pioli for a year until his death. The two became very close friends during this time, and Wandré left his complete archive documents to him. By the way, "Wandré" is a nickname given to him by his father (guitar maker) because little Antonio Wandré Pioli was too often in the way somewhere. "Wandré" means something like "get out of the way! In Spanish by the way "vete!". Marco looked through the archive material and (like me in terms of "Kottan") wrote an extensive book about it in his spare time. Two years later it was published with the announcement of an exhibition in the village of Cavriago, where the former Wandré factory was located. Worth seeing also the website FETISHGUITARS.COM >>> https://www.fetishguitars.com/wandre/
And even more of it ...
I then not only started to purchase a few more of these pieces of jewelry, but also developed ideas to incorporate these Pioli designs into our creations. Various experiments!
Necks still made of maple, but these tuners set into the aluminum had me particularly fond of, especially since the originals from the 60s were not exactly of the best quality. So we used modern technology! And an invisible neck connection came to my mind.