I'm new to the board but my screen name goes back to the old days of the AOL GD chat forum. (Remember that screechy dial-up sound? Wonder if there's a sound patch for that somewhere?) I'm in central Pennsylvania, and I've outlived Jerry by three years. Seems strange to contemplate. I've been playing since 1968 and I should be a damn sight better than I am by now. I've approached playing with varying degrees of seriousness, and in my advanced years I am finally able to hit more of what I aim at than I miss, which it's about time.
I've got a nice little arsenal of instruments including two Taylor acoustics, a 510 and an 810; a '62 reissue Strat that I've had since 1988; a seventies Tele with EMG pickups in it that I bought the day John Lennon died; a Heritage 535, purchased in 1997 instead of buying the snow blower I went out shopping for -- a triumphant day for GAS (gear acquisition syndrome); two basses, an Ibanez Soundgear 5-string and a Fender Jazz.; and my pride and joy, the PRS Custom 24 you see in my avatar, a gift from my wife and keyboard player of 33 years. (Don't wanna speak about her too much and give others ideas.)
I love the music of the GD. My first show was '76 Jersey City (with the monkey). I'm fortunate to have friends who love to play the Dead's book as much as I do, including trking8 who does the instructional vids. I'm not a purist, no OBEL or amp mods or any of that stuff, although I am recently hooked on those big nasty graphite Adamas picks, for electric and acoustic. I play to the best of my ability and try to emulate the passion and joy in the music rather than imitate the technique and tone. That said, I have great respect for those who aspire to recreate those wonderful sounds that make us smile so broadly and dance so crazily.
I'm in a working band that plays weddings and private parties, and we aren't any closer to being a Dead cover band than motor oil is to being olive oil, but I have managed to sneak in some covers like TWYDTTYD, Dancing in the Streets and How Sweet It Is that will occasionally make somebody look up suddenly. Also, when we do the Electric Slide, I turn on the envelope filter (Q-Tron), play licks from Shakedown Street and go to my happy place until it's done. On the side, I have a band (more of a concept at this point) called the Durable Goods which does covers of GD, Allmans, Airplane, etc. I love to play and especially love to watch people dance while I do it.
I'll be poking around the forums and will chime in when and if I can save up two cents worth putting in. Thanks to those who do the work on this board.