Düben was born in the 1620s in Stockholm, Sweden, the son of the German-born Andreas Düben, an organist, and Anna Maria Gabriels, lady's maid of Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg. Düben was sent by his father to Germany for education in his youth. He was a student of Sweelinck.
In 1647 Gustav became part of the Swedish royal court orchestra, the Kungliga Hovkapellet, where he would succeed as Hofkapellmeister in 1663 after the death of his father the previous year. Both of his sons would follow in their father's footsteps, Gustav (sv) holding the office from 1690 to 1698 and Anders (sv) from 1698 to 1726.
Düben composed a few works in the North German style prevalent in his time, including both vocal music and instrumental music.
However, these do not constitute the most important aspect of his contribution to music. From the 1640s, Düben begun compiling a manuscript collection of compositions from his time, some of which he had acquired from his travels in foreign lands. Named after him as the Düben collection, it is one of the most important sources for music of the 17th century, notably being the only surviving copy of many works by Dieterich Buxtehude.
- Astrand, Hans; Lindberg, Folke (2016). "Gustav Düben d.Ä". In Lütteken, Laurenz (ed.). Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart (in German) (online ed.). Kassel, Stuttgart, New Zork.
- Kyhlberg, Bengt; van Boer, Bertil H. (2001), "Düben family", Grove Music Online, doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.08224
- Webber, Geoffrey (1996). North German church music in the age of Buxtehude (2001 reprint ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. ISBN 0-19-816212-X.
- Mss. of works collected by the family, the "Düben collection"
- Free scores by Gustaf Düben at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)