Vintage Vault: Duane Eddy's 1960 Howard Doubleneck guitar

September 1, 2010

GP0910_Riffs_VV1_nrThis 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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