Jerry Garcia / The Grateful Dead / The Jerry Garcia Band: A rare Travis Bean TB500 electric guitar, serial number 11, with tooled leather strap, owned by Jerry Garcia, circa 1976,
Lot 331
Jerry Garcia / The Grateful Dead / The Jerry Garcia Band: A rare Travis Bean TB500 electric guitar, serial number 11, with tooled leather strap, owned by Jerry Garcia,
circa 1976,
Sold for £75,700 (US$ 118,675) inc. premium

Lot Details
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Rock & Pop Memorabilia
Jerry Garcia / The Grateful Dead / The Jerry Garcia Band: A rare Travis Bean TB500 electric guitar, serial number 11, with tooled leather strap, owned by Jerry Garcia,
circa 1976,
the double cutaway body in white finish, with three cream plastic single-coil pick ups, white pickguard, 22 fret mahogany fingerboard with 10 dot inlays, the neck and headstock of silver aluminium metal with distinctive letter 'T' cutout, and pressed stamp number 11, a Travis Bean hardshell guitar case with indigo blue plush lining and souvenir sticker afixed on the front There Is Nothing Like A Grateful Dead Concert well worn and peeling, inside Jerry Garcia's owned and worn brown tooled leather guitar strap with blue, white and green painted motif, a pack of Vinci guitar strings, Steve Parish's backstage pass for The Jerry Garcia Band, a photograph of Jerry playing the guitar onstage wearing the same guitar strap, a copy of the album What A Long Strange Trip with an illustration in the gate-fold sleeve of Jerry playing this guitar on stage, and a letter from Steve Parish concerning the provenance

Footnotes

  • This rare Travis Bean TB500 guitar was used extensively by Jerry Garcia on stage, in the studio and when jamming with his entourage, while with the Grateful Dead and The Jerry Garcia Band. He taught his equipment manager Steve Parish how to play the guitar using his TB500 #11, and eventually gave it to him to keep. Throughout Jerry's career he switched and changed from a number of guitar models and makes always looking for something different. He is quoted I don't like any guitars that are available. I'm trying to have a guitar built. This was in reference to his new, forthcoming Travis Bean. Apparently the first time he saw his new hand made guitar he laughed, the unusual custom aluminium neck was surprisingly different, however he quickly changed his mind when he played the guitar for the first time, alarmed by the pure string tone it resonated.

    The 'Travis Bean' guitar models were a collaboration between its namesake, Travis Bean who was originally a motorcycle racer before an injury stopped him riding, Marc McElwee a guitar repair man and Gary Kramer (who later left to set up Kramers guitars in mid-1976). The instruments were manufactured during a limited period between 1974 – 1979. The identifying features were the distinctive hollowed 'T' three-and-three heads and aluminium necks. The contrast of using metal as opposed to wood as the material for the neck reduced flexibility and absorption, for a touring musician this proved to be an appealing combination. Between 1975-1977 the Bean was Jerry Garcia's primary guitar of choice, he states in a 1978 interview with 'Guitar Player' I'm the kind of player who generally plays one guitar at a time so I can learn its idiosyncrasies...the guitar that doesn't have idiosyncrasies is the one I like... No other production guitar is like that – they're all completely different. That level of consistency in the Beans means a lot to me...As far as I'm concerned, the Travis Bean is the finest production guitar on the market.

    The black and white illustrated image of Jerry playing this Travis Bean guitar shows him on stage with the Grateful Dead at Beacon Theater, New York, Monday June 14, 1976. Believed to be one of the highlight gigs from that summer when the band started touring again following a break from touring. Garcia also played the TB500 during concerts in the same year, with the Jerry Garcia Band at Seton Hall University, South Orange, with the Dead on September 17, Syracuse New York and Cobo Arena Detroit on October 3. The guitar was used in the studio and features on the compilation album What A Long Strange Trip, the Best Of The Grateful Dead, Warner Brothers 1977.

    The Travis Bean TB500 number 11 was the second TB500 that was ever made. Jerry Garcia owned two of this model the other numbered 12, and a single Travis Bean TB1000A which was sold at Bonhams, Los Angeles, in the Ram Rod Shurtliff Collection, 2007 for $298,000. The TB500 model of guitar became the test bed for electronics that would completely revolutionise Garcia's approach to guitar effects. The two identical models Garcia had were adapted, by Dan Healy, by linking his effects pedals with the guitar controls. Garcia explained the benefit of this revolutionary technique I'd used effects in recording before, but they were always too unstable for me to use onstage until we came up with this. Outlined in the letter accompanying the guitar from Steve Parish, he states that this guitar, number 11, was the one used with the Slavedriver 360 - the first guitar synthesizer ever played in the studio in the early 1980s. Suggesting that although Garcia did not use a Travis Bean on stage after 1977, it was still a key instrument when recording in the studio.


    Literature:
    BACON, Tony The Ultimate Guitar Book, London; Dorling Kindersley, 1991, p.94
    JACKSON, Blair Grateful Dead Gear, San Francisco; Backbeat Books, 2006, pp.160-162, 172-174
    The Official Vintage Guitar Magazine, Price Guide, by Alan Greenwood & Gil Hembree,USA, 2010, p.277
    www.deadlistening.com
    www.wald-electronics.com/TravisBean
    www.dozin.com?jers?guitar/history
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    Specialist - Entertainment Memorabilia
    Bonhams
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