Duesenberg Custom Tv Special

Last year I made another guitar purchase. I was needing something with a wider tone than the tele at lower volumes. I was thinking of getting a Les Paul style guitar, but because Gibson guitars tend to vary widely in quality, I decided to buy a Duesenberg. Duesenberg is a German guitar company, made famous by players like Mike Campbell (of Tom Petty's band, RIP) and Joe Walsh. Jason Isbel also plays one, and he said during a rig rundown that the guitars are extremely consistent. Isbel's interview made me feel comfortable buying a used Custom TV Special on reverb sight unseen. 

The guitar was beautifully made, with 3 "D-Tron" pickups that are the company's version of Gretsch PUPS. With a semi hollow body shaped like a Les Paul the guitar caught a lot of eyes when I would pull it out at a venue, but I eventually ended up trading it up for a Les Paul. Ill try to describe the pros and cons of the guitar below. You can hear it in action on my newest single "Highwayman"

The guitar's tone was indeed beautiful, the tone knob allows you to blend in the third pickup with different combinations of the Bridge/Neck, and all three are noiseless. The volume knob is right near the strings so volume swells (not possible on a Gibson LP) are possible. The tremolo system is near perfect, even better than Bigsby as advertised and I would agree. The tuning pegs were locking and were some of the best Ive experienced. The body offers a semi-hollow warmth to it, but also feeds back a little at high volumes.

I ended up selling the Duesenberg about a year later. Though it was near perfect in every technical way, I felt the sum of the parts didn't have any original character. The tone was pretty, but it lacked any depth or sustain. There was no versatility to the guitar, it did one thing really well but when I would try and push it to get a more country or bluesy tone it would not go with me. The fretboard was extremely slow, which I've heard from other players. At the end of the day, I need something with an extremely comfortable fretboard and sensitivity to my touch, and the Duesenberg didn't offer that. After a year of ownership I still felt like I was using someone else's tool. My problem with it seemed to be mostly in live situations, in the studio I was happy with what the guitar could do, but playing in stereo with two vintage Fender amps was probably most of what brought joy to me :)