A youthful Duane Eddy poses with one of his Gretsch 6120s in this early career promotional photo.

The Gretsch 6120-bearing instrumental-rock pioneer has died at age 86, leaving behind an unmistakable sonic thumbprint and that continues to reverberate in creative music.

Instrumental rock arrived with a growl and a twang in 1958. The growl was from Link Wray’s fierce “Rumble,” which put distorted guitar on the pop charts—at No. 16—for the first time. The twang was the low, reverb-bathed, tremolo-burnished sound of Duane Eddy’s Gretsch 6120 on “Rebel Rouser,” which reached No. 6 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in May.

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