A Jerry Garcia stage-played, acoustic guitar made by Takamine, ca. 1985
6-string acoustic guitar, Serial Number 84111605, Rosewood back and sides, spruce top. The spruce top on the guitar exhibits some extremely light color within the grain running from back to front above and below the sound hole making it easily identifiable. With chrome hardware, red nylon and black leather guitar strap with a black leather musical note patch affixed to the strap, a few nicks and scrapes to body and head. With original black case with usual clasps and plastic handle, lined in nubby, orange polyester; case with splotches of red and pink paint, generally very worn. Includes case, Jerry's guitar strap, pick and two discs featuring the guitar on the covers. The first disc, Ragged but Right is the second live album by the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band and was recorded in October and December 1987 at the Lunt Fontanne Theater in New York City, the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles and the Warfield Theater in San Francisco. It was released on November 16, 2010, twenty-two years after the band's first album, Almost Acoustic. The second disc is Pure Jerry Vol. 8. Also included in this lot is a DVD of the December 17, 1987 performance at the Warfield Theater with John Kahn, Bob Weir and Joan Baez featuring the Takamine acoustic guitar.
Jerry played this guitar from about 1985 until 1988, including during the famous Lunt Fontanne shows in October of 1987, The Christmas show on December 17, 1987 and the Bridge School Benefit in 1988. This was his main guitar with the Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band.
The Jerry Garcia Acoustic Band existed from the summer of 1987 to the summer of 1988, and played fewer than 30 concerts. Led by Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, the band included three members of the 1964 bluegrass band the Black Mountain Boys - Garcia on guitar and vocals, David Nelson of the New Riders of the Purple Sage on guitar and vocals, and Sandy Rothman on mandolin, dobro, banjo, and vocals - plus long-time Garcia collaborator John Kahn on acoustic bass, Kenny Kosek on fiddle, and David Kemper on snare drum. This is also the acoustic guitar featured on the recently released Almost Acoustic.
According to Carolyn Adams Garcia: "This instrument was a favorite one of Jerry's 'playing' guitars. He played it extensively, and it traveled with him for years. It appears with him on album covers and in photographs of shows from the mid 1980's to early 1990.
It has a very distinctive pattern in the spruce wood top that stands out in videos and photos from that time. The sides and back are rosewood. The red fabric strap with the black notes has been part of it throughout. The guitar has the marks of use and travel.
He used it for recordings, shows and while practicing at home and at the studio. He played this guitar at his Wiltern Theater appearances and during his Broadway run.
He played this guitar for many of his acoustic sets on stage in the late 1980s. It is also the guitar he most often brought home to practice on between gigs, preferring this acoustic to his electric guitars for working at home.
Jerry loved this guitar and latched onto it as a solid replacement for his old acoustic Martin Dreadnaught, which he said was too fragile to travel.
He liked the sharp twang of this Takamine's voice. Other band members and the crew actually have commented on its sharp distinctive tone. Likely this was an aspect of the built in pickup. Jerry liked that and the easy fingering of the narrow neck and the cutaway. It has sturdy construction that held up well on the road, and the original built in electronic elements that he used are there too.
There is plenty of life in this well-made guitar. It has occasionally been played, and often enjoyed and admired by our family and friends over the years since Jerry's passing, and is a treasured old friend come around for the music.
Takamine still makes this model, a testimonial to durability and desirability.
We have kept it since 1990 when Jerry stopped using it for shows and kept it at home. Just having it has helped us deal with his absence over time."
41 x 15 x 5 in.