2013 - Johnny Depp, Caribou, Chris Jagger
2013 - an important year
The year 2013 should now catapult us extremely further up into the guitar heaven.
And again NAMM-Show
If you stay longer in Spain, you will notice that many names of streets and squares in L.A. are of Spanish origin (Alamo, Katella, Balboa, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, California, Florida etc.), because California was discovered by the Spanish - and Mexico is just around the corner. Almost all the people who do menial jobs here under American thumb (hotel staff, waiters etc.) are Mexicans who left their wonderful country in the hope of earning better money. And they buy the packs in the supermarkets, packs that are generally twice as big as ours.
And this story comes to my mind again, how we - my Spanish partner Paloma and I - one day had dinner with one of Nathan's fair helpers and told him that we had a direct flight from Madrid to Mexico City, because we stayed a few days and then took the plane to L.A. From there we went back there after the NAMM to explore Mexico for more weeks. This man named Bob looked at us in disbelief and said that Mexico is extremely criminal and that it is very easy to get "killed" there. In response to Paloma's answer that such things could happen to you "very easily" in L.A., he replied: "But in L.A. they at least kill you "civilized".
Omeiomei, although Bob knew that my girlfriend was Spanish and that we both live in Spain, he asked us the question: "And how do you do that with the language, how do you communicate with the Mexicans? Unbelievable, this Yank didn't even know that "Mexican" = "Spanish"!
On Namm-Sunday there will be a small vintage guitar show in Costa Mesa. And - you can't believe it - right next door they are organizing a huge gun show. There the guys come out with huge pistols, shotguns and machine guns that you really get scared.
In terms of NAMM ...
Everything as usual, here are a few photos ...
And again a glamorous Ballroom concert with Mike Campbell. Special guest this time was "Orianthi", an accomplished guitarist, PRS endorser, who had played with Michael Jackson and others and she didn't miss the chance to try out a Duesenberg.
Nathan had rented an additional showroom in Fullerton thanks to well going business and also bought an impressive Harley Davidson with a 1000 Watt loudspeaker system. The restaurant was not quite finished yet, but one could expect impressive things. The walls of clinker bricks, thick carpets, pompous leather armchairs and couches. All a bit pompously American, but "thick trousers" can be quite appropriate in the Amiland. And Nathan knows his Pappenheimer of course better than we Germans, who are a little differently poled.
For the first time our stand was divided into two departments: Duesenberg and Göldo-Guitar-Parts. New introduction of the "Rusty Steel" TV: We apply a ferrous lacquer which oxidizes immediately. Then the whole thing is clearly painted over so that nothing rubs off on the stage outfit. And Andrei presents a "shady" Fullerton double cutaway.
We have been working on this new model for a long time. Various designs, symmetric, asymmetric, various pickup combinations, a lot of communication with Ingo, "It's better not like that, it's better like that" etc. And in the end we created this body shape with glued-in neck and 3+3 headstock. Pretty "surfy" the whole thing, generally based on American tradition. And so it was well received.
Our Nathan Fawley, incredible! Through his first contact with Tom Petty's guitarist Mike Campbell, Nathan was suddenly able to make ALL connections to virtually ALL top stars. The doors were open! Through Alice Cooper, who had just formed his new band "The Hollywood Vampires", he got in touch with Johnny Depp, second guitarist next to Joe Perry. Johnny was a professional guitarist before his acting career. He even lived in France for a while and got himself into gypsy jazz - so he was a thoroughly respectable musician, the man. Soon you saw photos with this Caribbean pirate playing a "Mike Campbell Signature TV". And shortly afterwards Nathan offered Johnny to create a very special guitar for him. The "pirate" said: "Yes!". But this was by no means our intention to "exploit" his pirate image. Other companies may come up with such obvious ideas, but not us!
- First ideas:
- Body: Caribou
- head plate: black / or dark rosewood
- F-Hole: with binding possibly? Or none at all?
- Body Top: We thought about it and soon came across his tattoos, those huge amount of tattoos that adorn his luxurious body, which is coveted by practically all women in the world. Tattoos all over the place (one could have decorated umpteen guitars with them).
- Body back: a skull and ribs, which he has as a tattoo on his back
- Headstock back: a picture of what his son painted.
- Fingerboard inlays: his "3" in the third fret & and a lightning bolt in the twelfth - otherwise maybe nothing at all!?
- Color: either high gloss black, matt black or a translucent TV Yellow
- Trussrod cover: an Indian feather
- One or two Pu's? Even the new PH90?
- 1 x volume with an E-compartment on the back of the body / or 1 x volume
- & 1 x Tone? - or with Pickguard?
- Bridge: Our slim wrap-around bridge with Tunamatic spacing?
- Tattoos = great idea! But how and where to place them?
- First idea: A kind of boat plank wood look - engrave tattoos.
Next idea: An aluminum plate on the top, with a few engraved motifs?
That was it: Johnny was enthusiastic about this idea and allowed to take photos of all his tattoos first. A guy from Hollywood, who worked for Disney, took them and "cropped" and graphically vectorized them all in a program like Photoshop.
Yes, a very own guitar design, absolutely beyond "Pirates of the Carribean"! Martin Huch then positioned these motifs on the aluminum top and on the back of the body. Toño, a graphic designer and bassist from my Madrid band, created a kind of "pearl necklace" around the aluminum top and vectorized the entire graphic so that the engraving was technically reproducible.
And a special JD pickup also had to be used. We came up with a P-90-like construction with 6300 windings (his year of birth 63 plus an additional winding of further 1963 turns (corresponding to his year of birth 1963) for more output, selectable by slide switch. Shortly before that I had reproduced a "new" pickup cap in the design of the legendary conical Italian Wandré pickups. It had some rhomboid-shaped elevations on the top, which we didn't need for Johnnie's guitar. In short, we invested in another tool for a cap with a flat surface in the same outer shape. Such punching and pressing tools for nickel silver caps cost a fortune, but in this case nothing was too expensive for us.
And there it was, the Duesenberg Johnnie Depp signature guitar, limited to 52 pieces. We sold 40 instruments ratz fat, except for twelve guitars for Johnny. Some of them he gave away to people like Keith Richards, Bob Dylan etc. And Johnny also allowed us to continue with an unlimited, slightly modified version, basically the same features, but the graphics arranged differently, unsigned of course, and without his tattoo on the back of the body.
We talked about one of his last movies "The Rum Diary", during which he unfortunately met this female "leading lady" Amber. The script is based on the novel of the same name by Hunter S. Thompson - for my taste Hunter's best work, although he became more famous for his book "Fear & Horror in Las Vegas". I once translated two thirds of "The Rum Diary" into German because I planned to publish it in my small publishing house "Panama Publication". Unfortunately, shortly before the end, another German publisher had secured the rights. Anyway, I didn't really like the film, because the script differed from the original in important points. Especially Johnny and another very important guy had been merged into one person. Johnny also played the leading role in the movie "Fear & Horror in Las Vegas" and since then he was such a good friend of Hunter's that he even financed his spectacular funeral, namely shooting Hunter's ashes over his territory by cannon! Johnnie had first-hand accounts that Hunter himself had personified himself in his book into those two guys. Anyway, the film was not a great success - possibly also because of the qualities of the "leading actress". But be sure to read this book!
At the penultimate college concert, there were a lot of joints smoking backstage and I couldn't resist participating. Wow, that was heavy stuff, especially for me as a non-smoker. At some point everything turned around. But still: a joint with Johnny Depp!
ShanghaiAs a businessman one should not be tempted by the beauty of the employee of a company to rashly start a business!
The only China-Connection we ever had came up on the occasion of a visit to the fair in Shanghai. Let's see what's going on in China! The Chinese have come to a lot of money, and maybe you could find a Duesenberg importer here. At the then already unmanageable trade fair we discovered by chance a company offering a replica of the best "Fender" switch to date - the very switch with the small tension spring that we had always purchased from our American supplier.
However, it became more and more expensive from year to year, even though - according to the OEM packaging imprint - it was now manufactured in Mexico: "Made in Mexico" was written on it ... This could no longer justify this extremely high price. But that's how they, the Americans, are full of greed. And these Chinese, who had an incredibly attractive sales manager on their stand, seemed to us at that moment to be a great opportunity to take revenge for the completely inflated US price. So we ordered samples. The result: although everything looked reproduced true to the original, the center position of these switches was not exactly in the middle and the contacts did not only fail, but one or the other slider moved past the contacts. So double annoyance and we had to stay with the damned Ami-Mexico switches.
At the end of September Raimundo Amador called and asked if I could lend him instruments and amps for a gig at Sala Sol (important live club in Madrid). No problem. I had all kinds of nice things in my sound booth. One of them was an AC30 replica top that was built for me by an Argentinean named Pablo Kahayan, a crack musician who lives in the Madrid area and who is also a specialist in studio technology. And this amp also had reverb. On the "regular" AC30, size, weight and the missing reverb had always bothered me. But the sound with these EL84 tubes is just awesome. But all this only on the edge ...
We loaded all the stuff into Raimundo's van and started talking. I mentioned a chance acquaintance with a photographer who knew "Chechu", who is very prominent in Spain, and who also recommended the Duesenberg website to him.
"I know him very well and he is a fan of mine," explained Raimundo. "He also makes music. I'll give him a call right away so that he can come to our concert! In the evening a hot blues concert. And there I met the man with the nickname "Chechu".
A MAN WITH THREE NAMES
Chechu's stage name is "El Gran Wyoming". Born José Miguel Monzón Navarro, he is the most important political figure in Spain, as important as perhaps the "TODAY SHOW" in Germany today. Harald Schmidt might also be an example, but he was less political. Chechu has a television show every week evening from 9:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., in which he and several of his comrades-in-arms shred the political events of this country with caustic humor. And in Spain, with its franco-fascist past, which still persists among the right-wing parties, there are a lot of incredible events that need to be brought to public attention: Corruption, bribery affairs, criminal machinations. In my opinion, the right-wing party "PP" - "Partido Popular" is rightly accused of running a mafia-like organization. I could tell stories without end - maybe later. But back to Chechu: This man is an absolute multi-talent, including musician, singer and guitarist in his band "El Gran Wyoming y los Insolventes". And Paloma used to look at the recordings of his previous day's program on her computer every morning and laughed her head off about his malice.
Concierto en la Sala Sol
Raimundo played with a session formation. At some point a string broke and I realized that that famous Chechu was not too bad to take Raimundo's guitar, go backstage and string him up. Wow! What better thing can you expect from a person?
During the break I introduced myself to him: "Dieter, Duesenberg guitars. I would be happy if you would stop by my secret laboratory in the Ventas district of the city.
And he actually came by a little later with two musicians who were friends and wanted to buy some Duesenberg guitars. By the way, one of them was a certain Carlos Vega, architect and brother of Antonio Vega, the late superstar in Spain. Anyway, we became good friends about this guitar thing. Future excessive eating and drinking in our mezzanine kitchen, joint visits to restaurants etc. were the result.
Chechu has a nice vacation home in a place called Zahara de los Atunes, which he often gave us for free. Zahara is located on the Atlantic coast between Tarifa and Cadiz, a former idyllic fishing village, where it is very good to live for a while. From there we often went to Càdiz with the result that we soon found a house in the old center of this wonderful town.
And this man not only writes political books, but is also a very talented actor and appears in practically all the films of my favourite director Alex de la Iglesia, whom I was lucky enough to meet once in Zahara, because he had a house there in addition to all sorts of important media stars. Best movies, very well dubbed in German: Mad Circus - Eine Ballade von Liebe und Tod, Perdita Durango (with Javier Bardém), "The day of the beast" (Muertos de Risa)
And to anticipate it right here: Chechu had purchased an Ice-Pearl and a Mike Campbell II. Both of them appeared in his shows from time to time, when he was performing something with his band for special events for the "Insolventes". But that was not enough! In all the months of the Corona crisis, in which they broadcast their program on the Internet from the actors' homes, the red MC-II stood half a meter to the right behind him every evening. You can hardly get much better free advertising. Chechu! A thousand thanks!
In the 80s we had tried to sell the extremely exotic staccato basses of Chris Jagger with moderate success in Germany. Nevertheless, a lasting friendship developed out of it, which also resulted in the fact that this brother of Mick brought our Pearl-Top-Guitar to Ron Wood, which brought us our international success. In Madrid I had made the acquaintance of a Stones fan group, musicians who had produced two CDs under the name "Angel Slang", which sounded extremely like "Stones", really well done! But as it is, they had spied on me to create a connection to the Stones. In addition, there was a painter who called himself "Abdul Bas" and who had painted various AC/DC pictures in the Sebastian Kruger style, with the obsession that one could organize an exhibition in Madrid with works by Ron Wood and his works. But Abdul's art was rather of inferior quality. And so it immediately met with Chris Jagger's reluctance. But in order to motivate him to continue his "collaboration" in terms of exhibitions, he was offered concerts with his band Atcha in Madrid. Chris Jagger, on top of that not lazy, Madrid sounded good, too, and despite his brotherhood with Mick Jagger in the music business not exactly highly traded - although a really good singer and musician - agreed and came to the Spanish capital with a small line-up. We accommodated him in our Sotano in the boxing ring bed and his double bass player and violinist in Palomas currently empty apartment near the bullring. Tight fee, many costs saved!
some Technics ...
We have always sold considerably more guitars than basses. That could be because I'm not a bass player, although I'm very good at playing bass. Ingo as well. And we also know a lot about how a good bass should be. Or it could be that we never designed basses with active electronics because, as Bill Lawrence said, "A battery sets up a flashlight"? And this devastating sentence is quite justified: You play a gig with an active instrument, suddenly the bacteria is gone, which gives you at least an unpleasant time-out to replace it. In addition, for over half a decade there have been passive basses that are highly regarded by bassists. If you're looking to "bend" certain frequencies, you can do that on an amp or even a floorstander!
And a good example: our Star Player Bass. Small quantities, but pretty much everyone who owns this bass is totally happy with it. Even bassists like Ron Blair (Tom Petty) or Luis Mayol (Vargas Blues Band) prefer this bass.
Mike Campbell wanted to have a volume adjustable booster directly on his guitar, which he could switch on directly with a fingertip for overdriven solos. Of course, the guitar had to be playable "normally" when the booster was inactive.
CLIP-HAUS TunersAs already mentioned at the very beginning, Robert Kolb had developed this tuning mechanism, later copied by Schaller, in which the worm shaft was pressed against the gear wheel with a spring steel clip, which resulted in a backlash-free action. A construction that still worked just as perfectly 50 years later and was used on many Guild, Framus and other brands. Despite this ingenious idea there were technical, optical and dimensional deficiencies, as with many German developments. A good reason to reopen this matter.
The case was too long, so that it did not correspond to the conventional American machine heads dimensions, which had become the standard, in terms of "distance between the fastening screws". Not suitable for replacement! In addition, one could have simply cut off the two ends of the case like a 6-left Kluson machine head to have a one-sided machine head with 24.5mm clearance.
The cover caps were simply ugly, smooth without any decoration or brand emblem.
For me it was simply missing our patent to be able to put the strings through the shaft from above to cut the string ends below the cap.
So: Create a basic construction fine, but a modern version of it! Converting this old 60s construction into a modern design was a real Sisyphus work. Shifting and modulating the measurements by tenths of a millimeter, then the decoration of the cover spring plate with Kluson-typical lines, then the position of the hole in the middle of the cap from which the string end could emerge through the machine head shaft according to our patent. Several weeks went by, after which we applied for a new, extremely sophisticated patent.
Another tremolo-version with a leaf spring. This project I will continue 7 years later.
So we have just generated fancy new "Wing" inlays from the back of our D-logo.
Sound-City - Rick Springfield
There was a movie about a famous recording studio in L.A. And there a certain Rick Springfield shows up with our senior guitar. This guy had many hits!
It didn't tear off. A new feature about a Bob Dylan book - the Bob again with our guitar. And another one about Tom Petty, where you could see two of our Duesen in his guitar tripod series. Thanks again!
Dezember – Göldo-Duesenberg-Weihnachts-Fiesta
It was also nice to be in Hannover for the Duesenberg/göldo-Fiesta. Again a lot of new employees in the company, which I hadn't seen until now.