DUANE Eddy chuckles at the idea he’ll be in Manchester next week playing a show to mark his 80th birthday.

“I can’t get my mind around it; it doesn’t seem possible,” said the man who almost single-handedly transformed rock and roll with his distinctive guitar sound.

“When I see the billing for an 80th birthday show I just think ‘that can’t be me, I couldn’t have made it to 80’.

“I don’t even think about the future, I just think about being 80. That’s just weird.”

Dubbed the titan of twang, Duane’s instrumental hits such as Rebel Rouser and Peter Gunn provided a soundtrack for the early days of rock and roll and in his career he has sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

A Duane Eddy record remains instantly recognisable to this day and, for his early singles, that unmistakable sound was thanks, in part, to a most unlikely source.

“In those days we didn’t have the technology to create an echo,” he said. “Just before we started recording my producer Lee Hazlewood and I and the studio owner and engineer when to a junkyard in Salt River in Phoenix where they had all these big water tanks.

“Some of them were rusted through so we went around and Lee would yell into each one to see if he could get an echo. They finally found one, bought it and had it shipped to the studio.

“It was a pretty big tank, about eight feet high and 20 feet long. The engineer put a speaker at one end and a microphone at the other and he’d run the sound to the speaker, it would swirl through the tank and the mic would pick it up and we had our echo.

“It was a bit metallic sounding but we kind of liked it.”

This lo-fi approach to recording didn’t come without its problems.

“Every morning the engineer would have to go out and chase the birds off the tank as their cheeping would affect the recordings,” said Duane.

“The other problem we had was if there was a fire engine or police car going past the studio it would reverberate through the tank. We could be in the middle of a take so we’d have to stop, wait ‘til they’d gone past and do it again.”

The rudimentary recording techniques also shaped Duane’s approach to playing.

“I knew the bass strings were more powerful in the studio,” he said, “so when we went in the studio and wrote Rebel Rouser I just kept it all down low and everything sort of took off from there.”

Duane has always had a special relationship with the UK. For his anniversary shows he will be backed by members of Richard Hawley’s band. Hawley was also producer of Duane’s last album, Road Trip, released in 2011.

“Richard’s a dear man,” said Duane, “I love all the guys in his band.”

When he’s over in the UK from his home in Nashville, Duane often stays in Sheffield where Hawley lives and the pair have been known to surprise regulars at Hawley’s local pub by jamming together unannounced.

“I think of the UK as my second home,” he said. “I love it there - the people are just fantastic and the country is beautiful. I have discovered some gorgeous spots travelling round and working different places.”

But Duane hasn’t always had such a great relationship with the UK.

“When we first came over to play in 1960 we were touring with Bobby Darrin and Clyde McPhatter,” he said. “and we did wonder if the UK liked us when we were on stage.

“The audiences were so quiet during the songs and then each song would be met with polite applause.

“I remember in one show thinking ‘this isn’t working’ and so I started to play Greensleeves because I thought was a tune the audience might recognise. It made no difference, there was just polite applause at the end of the song.

“But then at the end of the set everyone just went crazy and they were chanting my name and were threatening to tear the place down if I didn’t go back on.

“It turns out they were so restrained because they couldn’t believe what they were hearing and just wanted us to get to the next song.”

Duane revealed that even after all these years his beloved Gretch guitar isn’t far from his side and that he tries to play every day.

“I’ll sit and watch TV and fool around on the guitar,” he said. “If I’m doing a tour I run through the setlist by myself before we hit the road.

“I do it to see if I can still stand up for that long,” he joked, “and also just to get used to my fingers working.

“You never stop learning. They say that practice makes perfect but really it’s perfect practice that makes perfect. You have to practice as though you are really doing it and your playing will improve. That ‘s what I’ve been doing over the last few weeks. I still get through it pretty good.”

Duane Eddy with special guest Albert Lee, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, Tuesday, October 30. Details from www.axs.com