Duane Eddy, the Gretsch wieldin’, baritone guitar pioneer has died

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Duane Eddy, the Gretsch wieldin’, baritone guitar pioneer has died

Duane Eddy
Words by Mixdown staff

Duane Eddy moved with his family to Arizonia in 1951, a move that set him on a path of country and western fame.

Duane Eddy was born in 1938 and spent 86 years pushing the boundaries of the electric guitars, most often with a Gretsch slung over his shoulder. Famous for songs like “Peter Gunn”, “Rebel-‘Rouser”, and “Because They’re Young”, Eddy also pushed baritone tunings into the limelight, his unique twangy tones being instantly recognisable.

Duane Eddy death

Having played guitar since age 5, Duane Eddy’s use of vibrato, tremolo and slap-back informed the sound of a genre and generation, many of his picking techniques and effects still commonly used to this day.

“Rebel-‘Rouser” was Eddy’s breakthrough song, selling over a million copies. With a string of hits to follow, Duane Eddy was also voted and named NME’s World’s Number One Musical Personality, winning out over Elvis Presley in 1960. This was followed by an acting career, starring in the country and western films that his music had featured on so heavily. Duane Eddy’s music is probably what you imagine when country western films are brought up.

Peter Gunn

1986 saw Eddy revisiting his (now infamous) version of Peter Gunn with The Art of Noise, making Eddy the only instrumentalist to have had top-10 hit singles across four different decades in the United Kingdom.

Duane Eddy is immortalised in decades of music, a handful of Gretsch signature models, and an iconic acting career. Hear some of his thoughts about twang and guitar here.