Weir's cowboy questions

Weir's cowboy questions

Postby playingdead » Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:33 am

I have this book, Grateful Dead 365, which is full of pictures of the band from the 65-95. It shows a lot of the guitars, rigs, etc. Interesting to look through.

But it jogged my memory about the Ibanez Cowboy guitars; the Cowboy "Fancy" that they did the reissue on, looks like Bobby was playing it in early 79, but photos from the fall of 79 show him with a Cowboy that lacks the big inlay across the lower body of the guitar. It also has a really beautiful quilt to it. By 82, the Cowboy Fancy was back.

Were there any differences to those guitars aside from the inlay? I ask because late 79-80 were my favorite years for Weir's tone.
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Re: Weir's cowboy questions

Postby deadguise » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:30 am

Bob played a coupled of different "Bob Weir" model Ibanez guitars during that time.
http://dozin.com/bobs/guitars/Ibanez/guitar.html
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Re: Weir's cowboy questions

Postby willmusic » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:35 am

As far as I know, the cowboy went through some serious experimental phases as far as pickup configs (ie: sliding pickups), electronics, and general construction. Bobby Cochran also worked alongside Weir and Ibanez on the same general guitar, but his ended up a bit different than Weir's. I can only assume that there may have been some tinkering going on within the period that you speak of. Knowing the Dead and there tinkering ways... I'll reference the Gear Book and some other sources and get back momentarily.
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Re: Weir's cowboy questions

Postby willmusic » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:36 am

"Since Bob is one of the chief testers of prototypes for Ibanez,he is always using an instrument that is several years ahead in thinking.Trust that his newest ideas will become available to you as soon as they prove valuable for production, but test we must and test we will, and Bob Weir will always be a large part of that effort." -Ibanez catalouge Feb,1978
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Re: Weir's cowboy questions

Postby willmusic » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:39 am

"Hello all-

Bob and I tried many different ideas, but he remained fond of the H-S-H combination. The first axe we made for him was in around 1974-ish. He used it on most of the Blues for Allah album, recorded at Bob’s home studio.

This guitar was a single neck version of the double-neck Rex Bogue/Mahavishnu. Bob was playing a 335 at the time and wanted a brighter sounding instrument. I suggested single coils, but he liked ‘buckers, so we compromised. We couldn’t decide just where all the pickups should go, so we started with a typical H-H and thought that a single in the middle might work ok. Then we couldn’t decide on just where in the middle would be best. I think that in frustration or indecision Bob half-jokingly suggested that we should just make it movable and end the argument. I thought “What the hell,” and off we went.

The initial sliding pickup didn’t work very well, and I can’t remember why. I ended up making the sliding mount out of nylon rods (about 3/16” dia. for the rails) and a hunk of nylon to mount the pickup. The idea was for the single coil to be able to snug up against the humbuckers. I incorporated height adjustment into the ends of the rails, so that the single coil could be independently adusted.

Bob was an incredibly patient and adventurous guinea pig. During the recording of Allah, he tried many different positions, heights, etc. etc. with this guitar and I went out there to visit with him about it. He had marked the positions that he liked and we discussed some other details. I took the guitar back with me and installed detents at his favorite pickup positions so he could just click it into place as desired. That worked very well for him and I think we might have made another somewhat identical guitar that had those changes.

By the time we got to making the “cowboy” guitar (the antique violin finished fancy one) bob had settled on liking the single coil snugged up to the bridge pickup, so there was no further need to complicate things. He also had an idea about large pegheads. His theory was that more mass up top helped sustain. I believe that he still holds that theory to be correct.

Incidentally, that peghead design ended up on the transition copies in a slightly smaller version and on the Benson guitar.

We made a couple of the “cowboy” models with a number of switching combos that were constantly going under the surgeon’s soldering iron. Basically, Bob wanted as much flexibility of pickup selection as we could deliver. So he had a choice of single coils, series humbickers, parallel humbuckers, phase reversals and so on. We also used the standard Artist EQ system on at least one of them. The EQ had a really nice tone, I think due to the use of coils instead of film capacitors.

I’ll have to rummage through my brain to come up with some other salient lies about the Weir guitars. Bob was truly fun to work with and no idea was ever too strange or too loose-wigged for him.

Jeff Hasselberger"
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Re: Weir's cowboy questions

Postby Emoto » Sat Apr 18, 2009 10:14 am

Thanks, Jeff.

Gawd, I love this board.
Such a long, long time to be gone, and a short time to be there...
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Re: Weir's cowboy questions

Postby bodiddley » Sat Apr 18, 2009 4:30 pm

Weir wants to know why the cowboys in "Brokeback Mountain" were staring at his ass for an uncomortably long time. Sorry, I couldn't resist
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Re: Weir's cowboy questions

Postby mkaufman » Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:48 pm

Weir had several Ibanez guitars, some were more fancy than others, most had the EQ/Pre-amp, however, not all did. I don't think any two were the same, and they were always changing...

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Re: Weir's cowboy questions

Postby willmusic » Sun Apr 19, 2009 12:59 pm

Emoto wrote:Thanks, Jeff.

Gawd, I love this board.



No problem?
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Re: Weir's cowboy questions

Postby Dozin » Tue Apr 21, 2009 1:54 pm

I wish Jeff was able to provide more information but he never came back to the Ibanez board
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Re: Weir's cowboy questions

Postby mkaufman » Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:45 pm

I had some conversations with him. He has a new life now...

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Re: Weir's cowboy questions

Postby Dozin » Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:50 pm

I'd hope so :lol:
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Re: Weir's cowboy questions

Postby ndrewoods » Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:15 pm

deadguise wrote:Bob play a guitar coupled of different "Bob Weir" model Ibanez guitars during that time.
http://dozin.com/bobs/guitars/Ibanez/guitar.html


Here is an article I thought I could share with regards to the Cowboy Fancy guitar.
The Cowboy Fancy shape was intended to be a compromise between a Gibson ES345, which Bob was playing at the time, and the Ibanez artist. One of the requests by Bob Weir was for a larger headstock than the prior smaller and more ornate Weir model headstocks so as to increase sustain. Hasselberger came up with the Ibanez 3-on-a-side design, which ultimately made its way into smaller versions for the George Benson guitars and other Ibanez jazz guitars.
Last edited by ndrewoods on Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Weir's cowboy questions

Postby mkaufman » Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:24 pm

Hasselberger came up with the Ibanez 3-on-a-side design, which ultimately made its way into smaller versions for the George Benson guitars and other Ibanez jazz guitars.


"3-on-a-side design" - what is that referring to?

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Re: Weir's cowboy questions

Postby willmusic » Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:13 pm

mkaufman wrote:
Hasselberger came up with the Ibanez 3-on-a-side design, which ultimately made its way into smaller versions for the George Benson guitars and other Ibanez jazz guitars.


"3-on-a-side design" - what is that referring to?

mk



The oversized and somewhat dramatically flared headstock that Jeff and Bob were sure benefited the tone. Ibanez ended up using a smaller version on many subsequent jazz models.
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