What you probably already know about German brand Duesenberg: it is named after Depression-era American super cars that made a Rolls Royce look like a Fiat Panda; its guitars look the absolute business; and Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers guitarist Mike Campbell, occasional Eagle Joe Walsh and Keef ’s adopted son Johnny Depp all have signature models.
What you need to know is the semi-acoustic Gran Majesto has been added to the bulging Duesenberg catalogue, loaded with the good looks and high spec we’ve come to expect.
The guitar’s body is semi-hollow with a centre block lurking within an arched laminated spruce top, arched laminated flame maple back and 46mm deep laminated maple sides.
The only differences in the set-in D profile neck to the recently-reviewed Paloma are the fingerboard inlays and the vintage style open tuners. The Gran Majesto wiring loom follows the same pattern too, but here you get just two pickups.
They are, however, two of the prettiest pups we’ve ever seen. Hidden beneath a trick looking ‘Phonico’ metal mesh cover, the bridge pickup is our old friend the Grand Vintage. The neck pickup looks the same, thanks to its matching cover but it’s actually a single coil P90 Domino model. The Gran Majesto has the same pretty nickel notched control knobs, gear lever rotary pickup selector, skyscraper truss rod cover and ultra-stylish jack socket plate as the Paloma. We also like the rear metal access plates for the internal wiring. Trying to get to the wiring loom on a typical semi-acoustic involves feeding the guitar’s guts through its f-holes. Not fun...
What you won’t find on this guitar is a country of origin stamp. While the company claims such labelling is not important to them, it does acknowledge that knowing where a guitar is born is a big deal for some, not least the guitar-buying public. Duesenberg says it relies on its vast experience to source the best parts and materials from around the world, something that’s evident in its products, and that enterprise actually makes it difficult to label its guitars as made in Germany. Does it matter? We’ll leave that decision to you.
Feel & Sounds
Duesenberg guitars are put through a Plek machine to ensure great playability and both these guitars have comfortable actions with no buzzing or string choking. Tuning stability is rock solid too, despite us wanging ourselves senseless during this test.
The Gran Majesto’s four-way rotary control allows you to select the bridge Grand Vintage humbucker and neck position Domino P90 single coil independently at extreme ends of the switch, or combine them in the two middle notches. When combined you can have them through the regular wiring or running through a filter which sucks some bottom end from the humbucker.
We like the latter setting a lot. It gives the combined tone some extra sizzle but then there’s loads of punch no matter what position the switch is at. Maybe it’s that laminated spruce top - and the taut Fender-style scale length - but the Gran Majesto punches all of its tones through your amp like Rocky Balboa.
The Gran Majesto is a fantastic ambassador for the Duesenberg brand. The attention to detail evident in the hardware alone shows that someone really gave a damn when these things were sketched out on the drawing board. Fit and finish is top notch, playability is flawless, and then there’s the sound these guitars push out.