If you know me, you know I’m a big fan of Jerry Garcia, who played Travis Bean guitars for several years in the 70s with the Grateful Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band. So having these lefties here is a special treat for me.
This very limited edition TB-500 JG guitar from Travis Bean Designs is a spot-on lefty recreation of Jerry’s beloved Travis Bean stage guitar, serial #12, a first generation 500. The carve, color and electronics are matched to Jerry Garcia’s original guitar, with three Travis Bean cast resin single coil pickups, direct re-creations of Jerry’s original pickups made to spec from the notes from the original guitar. Each pickup is controlled by a mini toggle switch. The guitar also features the first iteration of Jerry’s brilliant effects loop design, which sends the signal out of the guitar before the volume pot, so your effects always see full signal from the pickups, then back into the guitar, to the volume pot and out again on a second cable. The guitar has 500K pots, Sprague capacitors, Thermax coax cable from NASA, Switchcraft input jack, Schaller M6 tuners and a brass nut.
The tone is pure 76-78 Garcia; these guitars have the pickups mounted directly to the billet of T6061-T6 aluminum that the neck is milled from, and the sustain is tremendous, like playing a tuning fork. The guitar is surprisingly lightweight despite the metal neck, it weighs in at 8 pounds even.
Travis Bean Designs is a venture formed by Kevin Burkett and Rita Bean; its origins date back to when Travis and Rita decided to reissue updated versions of his landmark guitars in 1997. Unfortunately, Travis passed before it came to fruition, but his friend and original business partner Marc McElwee provided notes and specs from the original designs from the 70s and signed off on the newer prototype designs based on Travis’ own prototypes. Marc’s notes included specs from the original guitars built for Jerry Garcia in the mid 70s. Other notable Travis Bean players include Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, Slash, Ace Frehley, Joe Perry and John Mayer.
Condition: New; Body: African mahogany; Neck: Aluminum, rosewood fretboard, 12 radius; Nut: brass; Color: white; Pickups: Travis Bean single coils; Scale: 24.75; Orientation: Lefthanded (of course)