Amazing how quickly we can accomplish miracles, Enthusiasts, if you define “miracle” as “recognizing a mass-produced object.” The guitar Bobby was playing in the last post was indeed an Ibanez, but not his custom Cowboy Fancy: it was was the MC400NT (NT meant natural, as opposed to the DS’s dark stain), and if you want a 40-year-old, overly-complicated, ridiculously-heavy axe, you can pick one up for $1,300.
Thanks go to Valued Commentator Cube, who pointed us in the right direction but inadvertently brought up another question. Cube claims that Bobby played the MC400 only once, at 1978’s premier Red Rocks shows, but further snooping reveals that the guitar was also used on June 6th in Oregon.
Did you look? I’ll just assume you looked. I’m not gonna hector you about it. If you didn’t look, well: fuck you. Why are you even here if you’re not gonna look at what I tell you to look at? Sure, sometimes I tell you to look at turtle penis, but usually not. Even the most cursory glance at the above photo would have revealed that it isn’t turtle penis, so why not look?
Y’know what? Now you can look at turtle penis.
Why do you make me do that shit? You know I love you. You know I don’t want to hurt you. But you push the goddamned issue, don’t you? And now you’re looking at turtle penis. You deserved it, too.
Anyway, Bobby’s guitar or something.
You can poke around the Bonham’s site if you want: most of the lots in the 2012 Garcia auction were his artwork, or some of that tacky shit they plastered his artwork on, but there were some interesting little nuggets.
This is a small-scale guitar Rock Scully bought for his kid to learn on; Garcia got wind that there was an unmodified guitar in his presence and flipped out, installing new pickups and a bridge that cost more than the entire instrument. Plus, he had the Stealie inlaid. By the time the upgrades were finished, Rock’s son was in grad school.
Here’s another guitar, a little more elaborate this time:
This was built by Bobby and the guys at Ibanez for Garcia, in hopes he’d start playing their guitars; he apparently found it too heavy, which is astonishing. Tiger weighed 1300 pounds and Garcia loved that thing, so how heavy must this sucker have been?
Those are cute, but if you want a real Garcia guitar, then dig in the couch for 300 grand worth of change and find a Time Sheath:
That, obviously, is the Travis Bean TB1000 that Garcia played in 1975, and I hope it makes Jim Irsay very happy. He is a deserving man.
Included is the custom-made black leather case (that only a TB1000 guitar fits in), with some of Garcia’s items still inside: his guitar strings, a tuning fork, a string winder, and an unopened pack of his non-filtered Camel cigarettes.
There is very little scholarship needed on the subject of Weirdo Guitars the Dead Were Photographed With: there’s just a few pictures, and it’s an exceedingly trivial subject. A scholar should be embarrassed to study it.
Luckily, I am not a scholar, so I can link to some Guitar Nerd bullshit, and then make stuff up.
It would be a shame to leave Bobby out: you’ve probably seen this photo before; I’m sure I’ve posted it. It turns out to be a bit of a mystery.
An interview with the head of Ibanez (actually a more interesting read than it sounds) says this:
When I first went to see the Dead in ’74 or so, I didn’t really know what guitar or guitars to take to show them. The copy we did of the Rex Bogue doubleneck was about the snazziest thing we had, so I brought it. I can’t recall what else we took down there. I brought my partner in crime, Roy Miyahara, with me to the show, which was at the old Philadelphia Civic Center – one of those massive airplane-hangar-style joints.
You might already see the problem: not only is the picture clearly not of a joint, massive or otherwise. In fact, I thought it was Englishtown. It can’t be ’74 for many reasons, not the least of which is the missing 75-ton sound system.
By the date of Englishtown, Ibanez already had a double-neck in (limited) production and it wasn’t the one Bobby’s playing. Look:
That’s not the guitar Bobby’s playing. Compare the headstocks. The one Bobby’s playing is a copy of John McLoughlin’s custom-made guitar.
Here’s the point where I become lost: that picture of Bobby up above is definitely from Englishtown. Here’s a picture I got directly from Garcia’s website that labels it as 9/3/77:
Nothing makes sense.