“I knew that if I wanted to express myself, it was going to have to be through the guitar”: Why every guitarist owes something to the first rock 'n' roll guitar hero, Duane Eddy

Duane Eddy plays a red Gretsch at the 2009 Country Music Awards
(Image credit: Ed Rode/WireImage)

Duane Eddy, who died April 30 at age 86, was the first rock ’n’ roll guitar hero. His unique twangy guitar lines were among the most truly distinctive sounds in the history of rock guitar; whenever producers wanted that unique vibe on a record, they’d only have to ask for a Duane Eddy-style guitar part, and everyone would instantly know what was required. 

Unlike anything that had come before him, Eddy – with his echo-drenched, deep-bass driven melodies – managed to encapsulate the essence of the new age of rock ’n’ roll that was taking over the world in the Fifties.

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Mark McStea

Mark is a freelance writer with particular expertise in the fields of ‘70s glam, punk, rockabilly and classic ‘50s rock and roll. He sings and plays guitar in his own musical project, Star Studded Sham, which has been described as sounding like the hits of T. Rex and Slade as played by Johnny Thunders. He had several indie hits with his band, Private Sector and has worked with a host of UK punk luminaries. Mark also presents themed radio shows for Generating Steam Heat. He has just completed his first novel, The Bulletproof Truth, and is currently working on the sequel.