This futuristic Jetsons
rocket ship of a guitar looks like it’s ready
to blast into orbit at any time. It was made
in 1960 for instrumental hit-maker Duane
Eddy by a Phoenix amplifier guru named
Tom “Howard” McCormick. McCormick is
known for his unique amplifiers, but little is
known about his guitars.
Duane Eddy was and still is the “King
of Twang,” and he is most remembered for
his Gretsch and Guild signature model
guitars. In the late ’50s, however, he used
to switch back and forth on stage between
his Gretsch 6120 and his Danelectro 6-
string bass. McCormick reckoned Duane
needed a doubleneck that would do the
same thing. Duane recalls that this instrument
sounded and looked great, but he
rarely used it due to its prohibitive weight.
McCormick made unorthodox amps,
and this guitar is in keeping with that tradition.
The necks are made of fiberglass
with rosewood fretboards, and the backwards-
Explorer headstocks predated Robin
guitars by two decades. The pickups are
super high fidelity, and the dense guitar
sustains forever. Other features, such as
the inside-out Strat jack mounted on the
side, the six oven knobs and five switches,
and the hand-milled vibrato are great
reminders of an era where the future was
so bright, you had to wear shades. Where
are the jet packs they promised us?
Little may be known of Tom “Howard”
McCormick, but this author hereby declares
this guitar as the coolest guitar ever made.
May the Twang be with you.
Special thanks to Duane and Deed Eddy and
Teisco Del Rey.
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