The new workshop – 80s Duesenberg Heavy Metal

The new workshop - 80s Duesenberg Heavy Metal

In our workshops the wood was piled up on pallets cubic meters by cubic meter. A new gluing frame with hydraulic pressing cylinders made it easier to join the halves of the carcass together. Dresser, thicknessing planer and a stationary sanding belt levelled the wood surfaces. Wood chips and wood dust were collected by our large four-bag extraction system.


Klaus Winckelmann




And Hinnerk (a friend of Thomas Stratmann) and a Swabian named Rüdiger Schäuble had started with us.

Hinnerk und Schäuble

Duesenberg – Heavy Metal

Düsenberg headstock

When our whole operation was finally running like clockwork, I wanted to create an independent guitar brand. We could have done that under "Rockinger", but that had come to be known for parts, kits and custom work.  Somehow that didn't quite fit for a new and exclusive line of guitars. A new brand name was needed!

I tasked a number of friends and acquaintances to "please think up a suitable name!" The winner receives 500 German marks.

And who came up with "Duesenberg"? Well, our eagle bass specialist, Fargo Pedder. Yeah, we used the Duesenberg name, here's your 500 marks!  We already had a certain idea of the final product: Strat style body with slimmer horns and shaped more in the metal direction.

Düsenberg Starplayer

Since tuning at the body was the trend in those years, why not do a tremolo, where you can tune the strings?  The strings are anchored to the headstock in the same way as on our headless basses. In addition, we used a cleverly designed roller saddle - not rollers on small axles, but small, centrally grooved rollers of different diameters, which move freely when the tremolo is activated. Pickups: OBL blades by Bill Lawrence, which were very popular at that time. They also had an active midboost and a Q filter to lower the mids.

Düsenberg adjustment

Düsenberg details

1986 - Duesenberg Folder

With Herrmann Frank (Victory, Accept) & Jens Gallmeier

The icing on the cake: a small gear for adjusting the trussrod from the side:

Error as art


On one body Sascha had accidentally sanded through the paint, so that a lower layer of paint appeared. I thought it looked hot and made him sand through some other parts of it, to bring his "mistake" to perfection.  That's how our so-called dreadlock-painting came into being, i.e. painting the body with several, different layers of paint and then sanding it through again in certain places. This is basically the same thing that is called "aging" today, except that our intention was not to make the body look old and worn out.  It was more an artistic, individual design. We even applied for a patent for it.


Düsenberg Durchschliff

The headstock: It simply had to be metal. That's how this rather extreme design came about, with a little curlicue at the saddle level. There was also a slot that was not visible from the front, so that served as a cigarette holder. On the headstock there were six clamps that the strings were put through. These could then be tightened with caps and threaded slot head screws. To this end our necks had a round truss rod (like the old Fender and Gibson necks) but with an adjusting nut on the side where the neck is connected to the body. This worked like a guitar tuner with a gear and worm shaft. Opa Osburg punched the U-shaped bodies from sheet steel and bent them into shape.


Düsenberg Hüft-Tremolo

And last but not least, the hip tremolo, a kind of knob that could be quickly inserted into the tremolo block on the back of the body, leaving both hands free to operate the tremolo from the hips.


The elements with which the strings could be clamped at the top of the head and which we called "Pitten" from then on were made for us by a Mr. Roitsch in his automatic lathe shop in Südstadt. Mr. Roitsch always seemed a bit limp since the beginning of our business relationship. One morning I visited him in his office, where he immediately started to complain with a reddened face - a bottle of beer on the desk in front of him: "Oh, Mr. Gölsdorf, I feel so shitty!"

Well, shortly afterwards he had to close his business.

The elements with which the strings could be clamped at the top of the head and which we called "Pitten" from then on were made for us by a Mr. Roitsch in his automatic lathe shop in Südstadt. Mr. Roitsch always seemed a bit limp since the beginning of our business relationship. One morning I visited him in his office, where he immediately started to complain with a reddened face - a bottle of beer on the desk in front of him: "Oh, Mr. Gölsdorf, I feel so shitty!"

Well, shortly afterwards he had to close his business.

The Schmitt

To our "Power-Strat" with the name Starplayer, we added the “Schmitt" model based on the design idea of Thomas Schmieder.  Super extreme, futuristic and of course not for every taste, but I really liked it. We only produced a very small number of them.

The Schmitt

We then made a special model for the bassist in Thomas Schmieder's band, of which only one was made. Soon you would see Billie Liesegang, Nina Hagen’s guitarist, with a The Schmitt on stage.

Schmitt Bass Billie

Here is the D logo compared to the current one:

Back in Frankfurt

Düsenberg Demo

Once again we were at the Frankfurt Musikmesse. It's always really busy here. Thomas Schmieder presented our Duesenbergs and people crowded around. This ingenious band named "Silly" dropped by and told about their problems getting equipment and guitar parts in East Germany.  After all, they enjoyed a special status in the GDR and thus received a special visa to visit the fair.




There was at least one more booth where there was a lot going on, namely the company of Chris Jagger, Mick’s brother, with their exotic Helebardic Staccato basses: fiberglass body and an aluminum neck. We soon took over the distribution for it. Chris came to Hannover to discuss the details. But Staccato was unfortunately not a great success despite the Rolling Stones background - very expensive and too exotic for the average bassist. Today I'm still friends with Chris, who came to visit in Madrid several times with his small band for various gigs and stayed with me. A very well educated person in addition to being a really good musician and singer.

Staccato Chris

Another little story: I flew to London for the "Guitar Weekend" to meet some people and especially Chris Jagger. It was a small show with a lot of English guitar builders who were all really into it. The Lawrence Bill was also there and at the Staccato booth the bass players were clumping together. And also "HP", Hans-Peter Wilfer was there with his Warwick basses. At some point I went with him to the cafeteria. There an inconspicuous type stepped to us, whom HP introduced to me as "the Jack". We drank coffee and chatted about trivial things until Jack took his leave. And only much later I had to realize that "the Jack" was Jack Bruce, who played HP's basses. Damn, how embarrassing! There I would have had completely different topics of conversation on it. Meiomei, Jack Bruce, one of the most important musicians of that time! Cream anyway, and he had also produced a brilliant album with Lou Reed. A totally exceptional musician. Such a shit! That still upsets me today!

Custom Guitars & Kits

We continued to produce a lot of custom instruments and kits. For the kits we had the best packaging: super hard single layer cardboard foam, the finest!

Ullas Bausatz

And always good press ...

Metal Hammer



We offered all sorts of other products such as pickups and various electronics from other companies, whereby I still follow the beautiful saying of Bill Lawrence: "Batteries listen to a flashlight!

Unfortunately we also had the product "SPINS" in our program, a neck mounting plate with a ball bearing mechanism to which a belt and cable were attached. You could spin the guitar or bass in front of you. I think there was once a video from ZZ Top with it. But unfortunately that didn't help. We only sold a few of them.  Failure all along the line! Along with a high risk of injury! At a concert of the Hanover band Amazone the guitarist used this spin and shaved his face and nose with the headstock so that his black and white rocker jeans turned red from the blood. (It was a great show, though...)

Spin Strap

Dental treatments

For filigree work, we had a small, high-speed unit that came from a dental laboratory. Horst's girlfriend was a dental technician and a musician friend of his had elementary dental problems. So Horst's girlfriend went straight to the point ...


Norbert Requard

Norbert Requard

And here's Norbert. The man who built me my very first amp and produced lots of preamps for us. His obsession was, "I can make it so a Stratocaster sounds like a Les Paul and a Les Paul sounds like a Stratocaster." What crazy ideas!

The Multi-Trem Compartment

I think it was Horst who had the idea to put the rather unloved 9-volt batteries under the tremolo cover. Battery changes made easy without having to unscrew the whole pickguard. It was practically invisible. You have to remember that there were a lot of active pickups and active electronics on the road at that time. We had our finger on the pulse of the time.

Multi Trem Fach

Private mess

After work Horst used to make "private messes", as he called it, i.e. building special instruments for friends and acquaintances. So this Firebird was built for the still very young Jake Paland.

Horsts Firebird

and another creation of Horst …

Horsts Rocket Bass


Dieters Telex

They didn't even have the fax back then. We had a telex machine for our important international correspondence. And look at the printer next to it: it has a continuous paper roll. And the big floppy disks, what times!

Kralle Krawinkel and the Grumm-Guitar

Kralle Krawinkels Grum Stick

You remember "Dadada"? The "Trio" group with their world success. Horst once built this model for guitarist Kralle. Because millionaires came and went, like this one and Marius Müller-Westernhagen (no photo from that time).

Kralle Krawinkel mit seiner Düsenberg

So that nobody can graphite any nonsense on the garden wall, I have immortalized myself there ... Jawoll!

Gitarren statt Raketen

 B.B. King

B.B. King und Rollinger

Oh how uplifting! So I was allowed to play the opening act of B.B. King with my band "Rollinger". This was repeated twice in the following years and the King signed all kinds of guitars I still own. You can listen to a few songs from our band here under "Dieters music".

B.B. King und Rollinger Plakat

1987 – Stones tongue …

And more of Horst's private botch-up - the Schleck guitar in the shape of the Rolling Stones tongue. Built by Horst and varnished by Sascha. It hangs in a Stones museum somewhere.

Horsts Rolling Stones Schleck-Gitarre

Nice fotos

Dieter und Horst mit der Tittcaster

Yes, Dieter and Horst. And Sascha had finally painted our "Titt"-Caster erotically shiny. And the Osburg knobs found their place

Nippel knob

More Duesenberg

With our Duesenbergs, things went quite well. Mr. Stratmann had a lot to do with assembling, and Sascha could hardly keep up with the painting. In addition, so many other guitars had accumulated that we finally built a wooden construction on Stratmann's initiative to hang as much as possible under the roof - saving space! And Winkelmann could hardly keep up with the gluing and levelling.

Düsenberg Gitarrenhimmel

1988 – Big party at Rockinger

Often we celebrated parties with plenty of Italian sparkling wine Rotari Brut Rosé. Here we see Thomas and his girlfriend at that time Susanne, as well as Olaf Giebe (fellow student of law in Göttingen plus exceptionally gifted guitarist) and today our patent attorney. Furthermore Ullus, the guitarist with the Electric Man construction kit, which was so beneficial to our pickup research.

Party bei Rockinger

Fury in the Slaughterhouse

Fury in the slaughterhouse christof und thorsten

This Hanoverian band celebrated unbelievable successes and Christoph Stein-Schneider and Thorsten Wingenfelder often dropped by. For Thorsten we built a really nice Coral-Pink Strat with Tru Tune Tremolo. And in our showroom we had a really impressive collection of guitars and basses.
Showroom Gitarren
Showroom Bässe

Here is a photo of our former staff ...

Gruppenfoto Belegschaft

As you can see, over the last few years we have expanded our product range with a large number of third-party products. We were no longer just the guitar smiths, repair specialists and custom starting point, but we had become an official mail order company for our and a variety of other products. A whole range of Hughes & Kettner products, including OBL, Seymour Duncan, EMG, Shadow, Hipshot, Bartolini, Schaller, Gotoh, ABM, spins, Pyra-Sound strings, Tombo Harps, CAE cables, Arion tuners, Dunlop Wahwahs etc., vintage amps, various tubes, Bell PA systems, various books and videos and even products from Floyd Rose and Warwick.


And watch out (red arrow) for the "grumpy" battery compartment - order number 12B01BP.

1990 Rudi Hintermeier

Rudi Hintermeier
My old friend Horst had painfully left because of psychological problems, and we found Rudi as a new workshop crack. Rudi - guitarist of course - had also learned mechanical engineering and was extremely creative in his work. He is still with us today (2020) as a freelancer and always finds a solution for technical problems.

One day my love of design led me to buy this Mercedes double-lamp coupe. A bit pretentious, but I had to have it. It was really a hot stool and the fuel didn't cost as much back then as it does now.

 Mercedes Doppellampen-Coupé

1990 - Break

In 1990 Rockinger broke apart. Too many problems with Züli and his wife, who had taken over the bookkeeping for us and after a short time felt called upon as "boss's wife" to degrade our esteemed Ines Knauer by running errands: "Go to the bank and pick up the bank statements ...". Such "abuse of power" is not possible. The hairs on the back of my neck stand up. And at a certain point I couldn't take it anymore. "We have to split up!" was the only logical consequence for me. Unfortunately, patience strings are not available in every desired thickness and - as with guitar strings - they break sooner or later depending on the load. My predetermined breaking point was reached.

But that was not so easy. A year of legal disputes followed. As a result (acute shortage of money, bills and reminders from the health insurance companies, and we were absolutely unable to pay them) I was forced to file for bankruptcy. And was therefore unbelievably fired as managing director (locks changed, no more access to my company, my lifeblood).

From a distance, I may have overreacted here and there, showing no (or too little) awareness of certain things. Too much I took perhaps too personally and was sometimes quickly irritated by customer calls. And so I founded göldo guitar parts, a wholesale for music stores and importers of guitar parts.

Fortunately ...
Due to a change in the majority shareholding in Rockinger GmbH, I was fortunately able to kick Züli and his wife out of this business.

Andreas Mertens (old and good customer by the way) then took over Rockinger. An excellent Hanoverian guitarist with business acumen and the necessary, far-sighted commitment to the guitar, with whom all private customers are certainly in good hands. I handed everything over to him, and we are still very good friends and almost always together at the NAMM show.

If you want to see and hear "EVERYTHING" about my work, just click on my personal website: