A Pig Pen acoustic guitar
Lot 14
A Ron "Pig Pen" McKernan Kay acoustic archtop guitar, 1950s-1960s
US$ 10,000 - 15,000
£6,400 - 9,600

Lot Details
A Ron "Pig Pen" McKernan Kay acoustic archtop guitar, 1950s-1960s A Pig Pen acoustic guitar A Pig Pen acoustic guitar
A Ron "Pig Pen" McKernan Kay acoustic archtop guitar, 1950s-1960s
Possibly Model K43 or K44; the top fully arched, carved select spruce; the sides and back fully arched and carved maple; the fretboard rosewood; the neck maple; an adjustable rosewood bridge; a faux tortoise pickguard; and a hand-rubbed blond finish; still plays and sounds well.
Length: 45in

Footnotes

  • "This was Pig Pen's prize guitar. He kept it in his room at 710 Ashbury Street, away from everyone else, and it was his favorite guitar to play when he was alone. It was known as 'Pig's working guitar' and one that was brought out for special guitar players who visited. Pig and Jerry [Garcia] would jam in the kitchen with the two Kays [LOT 13 and LOT 14] with either one of them using either one of the two guitars. This is where and how Jerry taught Pig chords and new material because we didn't have a piano there at the house. Sometimes a lesson would turn into a little jam, normally bluegrass or blues. Jerry's roots were in bluegrass and Pig's were in blues, so here's Ron McKernan learning old Americana from Jerry, and Jerry learning blues from Ron. That's how The Grateful Dead's sound evolved - from these late night impromptu sessions at 710 with these old Kay guitars. Rock-n-roll is a combination of old Americana and blues which is basically why guys like Stephen Stills and Graham Nash were harping on Jerry to do records like "American Beauty," to get back to the roots of American music. It was in those sessions in the kitchen that Jerry used to show Pig Pen other stuff besides the blues. The main thing was to bring The Grateful Dead out of being solely a blues band and into who knew what? The idea was to create their own unique music, to evolve from what was so "psychedelicized" in the underground at that time. Dr. John used both Kay guitars at 710 during his visits, and hell, he even crashed in my room! Neal Cassady used the back of the "beater" [LOT 13] as a drum when he lived in the attic at 710, sleeping in a hammock for a bed. Pig and Neal used to stay up late and jam and cook bacon. That's all we ever cooked in that house: bacon and steaks and eggs. Back in the early days, we even made bacon on stage in a portable fry plate just because the band loved the smell of it. Janis Joplin jammed on both these Kays with Pig as did James Gurley from Big Brother and The Holding Company. Michael Bloomfield would frequently stay up all night with Pig, playing the Kays. I'm pretty sure Bobby [Weir] would have played Pig's Kay at some point, but it was Jerry who especially loved it. It was a fixture at 710 as was the "kitchen beater."
    -Rock Scully

    See footnote for previous LOT 13
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