Starplayer – Mike Campbell Signature Edition
Nowadays most guitars manufacturers
conform to a formula of tried and tested methods, or perhaps
deviate slightly from it within their model range. However
if you want to think outside the box for something a bit different,
you need to look towards manufacturers like Duesenberg who
have been making alternative and eye catching designs since
1986 in their Hanover headquarters in Germany.
The model which we are reviewing today
is the Mike Campbell Signature edition which
was released for the Tom Petty and the Heart Breakers
30th anniversary; although rumour has it that
it was originally meant to a Ford Shelby Mustang special edition
which Ford turned down as it wasn’t US made instrument.
First played by Mike Campbell at the
2007 Super Bowl halftime show, the guitar is of a semi hollow
construction with a substantial tone block in the centre.
As per German traditional construction the top is made of
spruce and the bent sides are made of laminated maple. The
D shape maple neck sports an Indian rosewood fretboard with
pearloid markers and 22 jumbo steel frets. The guitar is finish
in electric blue in polyester lacquer with the racing stripes
seemingly painted on as opposed to the use of decals.
Hardware wise the TV has much of Duesenbergs
own branded parts finished in nickel. These include locking
tuners with Art Deco details, a Bisgby style tremolo and what
looks like a standard TOM style bridge. The pickguard is nickel
as well and has a detailed laser etch of Mike Campbell’s signature.
In the electronics department the “Duesy”
has a P90 single coil fitted in the neck position and a humbucker
in the bridge position. These are controlled by a three position
switch, and separate volume and tone control pots for each
Fit & Finish
Where exactly this instrument is made
is a bit of a mystery, most sites mention that the body and
neck are made in Korea and then moved on to assembly in Germany
with Duesenbergs own hardware and pickups. Whatever is the
case does not detract that this is a very high quality instrument.
Paintwork and general fit is superb which no visible flaws,
paint bubbles or overspray. The Art Deco details in the hardware
are also and finely machined. What really stood out to me
on the first sight was the reassuring chunky metal clunk of
the pickup selector with its metal switch tip, which gives
one the impression of a vintage gear selector.
MC TV sounds very retro with clean and sparkly highs from
the bridge pickup, a useful rhythm sound in the middle and
a warm jazzy tone from the P90 up front. It does most styles
of music well and responds well to pedals too. I would say
a bright amplifier would suit it best, it definitely sounded
better to me on a Fender Blues Junior and a Roland JC120 than
on a Marshall DSL15. It overdrives well, and seems at least
during a jam session to be stable as to tuning. It definitively
has its own voice somewhere between a vintage Fender and a
A quality guitar to be enjoyed for many
years to come.
Please be ware that on some sites the
hardcase is not included as standard and also that the provided
string gauge 10-50 is quite unique and available from Duesenberg
as their DSA10 set.