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2003 Gibson Custom Shop Duane Eddy Signature Pilot Run Prototype 100% Original & Signed w/ Case


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Up for sale, a 2003 Gibson Custom Shop Duane Eddy Signature "Pilot Run" Prototype in 100% original condition and in perfect working order, complete with the original hardshell case. While the production run of this model was exceedingly limited in its own right with only 75 instruments produced, this Pilot Run example is hand-signed by Duane Eddy on the back of the headstock, just below the Pilot Run ink stamp (this was #6, and Gibson's Pilot Runs were typically limited to 10 instruments).
Even among Gibson's signature model instruments, few have ever been as feature rich, aesthetically dazzling, and limited as the Duane Eddy. Marrying an L-5 CES and a mid-1950s Gretsch 6120 in build and tonal intent, the Duane Eddy features a 16" highly figured maple body with a Venetian cutaway and 3" body depth, finished in high gloss nitro lacquer Rockabilly Brown. The pickup compliment is as unique as the guitar itself, with a pair of Seymour Duncan-made active DynaSonic magnetic single coils paired with an L.R. Baggs transducer pickup built into the saddles on the Nashville bridge. Appropriate for the King of Twang, the DynaSonics produce a sparkling yet warm sound with a distinctive midrange character that offers a chewy, dynamic sound suitable for glassy instrumental passages with plenty of pluck, as well as detailed, complex Jazz voicings.
The control layout marries Gretsch and Gibson, with a Master Volume on the cutaway, individual Volume knobs for the two DynaSonics, a Master Tone knob, and a push/pull Volume pot to engage the bridge transducer (located where you'd typically find the bridge position tone control). Topped off with a typical three-way pickup selector toggle, the layout is surprisingly intuitive, and mixing the transducer into the signal adds a percussive clarity and top end shimmer that's a perfect compliment for the tonal breadth of the DynaSonics. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar and weighing 7lbs 10oz, we've dialed in this Duane Eddy with fresh 11-50 roundwound strings, low action, and optimal intonation.
The two-piece highly figured tiger maple neck has a central strip of walnut between the intense flame, and the neck has a slender C profile carve with slight shoulder and a very fast feel, measuring .790" deep at the 1st fret and tapering to .880" at the 12th. The ebony fretboard feature pearl moustache inlays, and the ebony board combined with the maple body ensures the perfect tone wood pairing for articulate, glassy treble response and snappy note attack. The original frets are slender with fairly low crowns, indicative of a '50s Gretsch, and the frets are practically perfect with no wear and easy playability in every register. The scale length is 24.6", another Gretsch feature, although just fractionally shorter than Gibson's typical 24 3/4" range and offering a nearly identical feel to the player. The nut width measures 1 11/16". The headstock features the original nickel Grover Rotomatic tuning machines which show uniform surface patina and turn very smoothly. The headstock face has the original brass "King of Twang" truss rod cover, and the reverse boasts Duane Eddy's signature along with the original stamped serial number and additional Pilot Run designation. Not to be confused with any silkscreen, Duane Eddy actually hand-signed this instrument, and the gold ink was finished over at the factory with a nitro clear coat to preserve the signature.
All of the electronics function as intended, and hardware includes a carved ebony bridge base with bowtie pearl inlay on the feet, as well as a Bigsby B6 vibrato tailpiece with tall gold spring. The spring height ensures that the bar is elevated off the body with enough range to execute deep, expressive warbles and dives. The four-ply pickguard also has Eddy's name etched through the top layer, and visible through the F hole, the original orange oval Gibson Custom label is intact. Multi-ply binding is used throughout, framing the tight, vibrant quilt figuring in the maple that extends across the entire body. Cosmetic wear includes a bit of pick scuffing across the guard, a few scuffs and finish scratches in the clear coat on the back, and some tiny pinhead-sized marks just north of the Bigsby on the bass side lower bout on top. There are a couple shallow dimples of “rack rash” on the neck profile behind fret 10, and a small amount of additional chatter on the profile in the higher registers, as well as light palm wear through the gloss on the bass-side shoulder behind frets 1-3.
The original Gibson Custom, Art & Historic hardshell case is included.