Alligator timeline

Chat about Equipment Info

Alligator timeline

Postby RiverRat » Wed Sep 30, 2009 9:40 am

Alligator - Passive (Rick Turner)
************************************************************************************************************
Gator V1.0 (Stock Bridge, Stock Output Jack, Stock Pickguard, Stock Knobs) ??/??/1970-3/1971)

The original Strat as it was when Graham Nash gave the guitar to Jerry Garcia. No modifications and no stickers. It can be seen in the photos from the GP 71 interview, photos were taken at the Matrix Spring 1971

Image
************************************************************************************************************
Gator V1.1 (Stock Bridge, Stock Output Jack, Modded Pickguard) 03/??/1971-06/21/1971)

Stock white Fender knobs replaced with black knob, pots may have been upgraded to mil-spec pots at this time, white pickguard is present until 6/21/71. If all credible stories are true, this is probably the night that the pickguard was broken which necessitated the brass replacement control plate.

Image
************************************************************************************************************
Gator V1.2 (Stock Bridge, Stock Output Jack, Modded Pickguard) 08/26/1971-01/01/1972)

Gaelic Park 1971/08/26, no stickers and no modifications other than pickguard, 3 controls with black knobs

Image
************************************************************************************************************
Gator V2.0 (Modded Bridge V1, Stock Output Jack, Modded Pickguard) 12/11/1971-03/21/1972)

Modded Bridge first appears sometime around the beginning of 1972, stock output jack still present, modded pickguard, 3 controls with black knobs
Red Sticker on body and no Harley sticker

Image
************************************************************************************************************
Gator V3.0 (Modded Bridge V1, Modded Jack, Modded Pickguard) 03/21/1972-10/21/1972)

1st modded bridge, modded pickguard, , 3 controls with black knobs and modded output jack
Red Sticker on body, Harley Davidson sticker on body, Gator Sticker appears around 6/17 or 7/16

(Added - Onboard Alembic Blaster(post volume control), Brass Plate under the Stock Fender Jackplate)

Ron Wickersham custom designed the Blaster for Jerry Garcia. This primitive Blaster had no switch and was used in an "Alway's On" state. The Brass Plate under the Stock Jackplate was used as a battery compartment and it's cavity was routed out to accomodate it.

Image

************************************************************************************************************
Other Strats used on various dates from 8/28/72 thru 11/26/72 and Spring '73
************************************************************************************************************

Gator V4.0 (2nd Modded Bridge, Modded Jack, Modded Pickguard) 10/9/1972-08/01/1973)
Red Sticker on body, Harley Davidson sticker on body, Gator Sticker on Pickguard

Final Bridge change sometime in late 1972, modded pickguard, 3 controls with black knobs and modded output jack

Image

*************************************************************************************************************
Gator is retired from stage use. Last used 8/1/73. Wolf V1.0 Appears 9/5/73
*************************************************************************************************************

Gator V5.0 (2nd Modded Bridge, Modded Jack, Modded Pickguard) ??/??/197?)
Harley Davidson sticker on body, Policeman's Helper sticker, Gator Sticker on Pickguard
2 controls present and 1 missing, white stock Fender knobs.

This final version of Gator was not seen in the wild in any photo I have found. The missing pot from the Volume position MAY have been scavenged and used in one of the Travis Beans. The brass control plate is not out of alignment for any other photo I've found except the one of this version. And 3 pots are present for every incarnation of the guitar from V1.1 thru V4.0, 8/71 thru 8/73.

Image
Last edited by RiverRat on Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:07 am, edited 9 times in total.
RiverRat
Senior Member
 
Posts: 961
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:38 am

Re: Alligator bridge and tailpiece question

Postby Emoto » Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:15 am

Such a long, long time to be gone, and a short time to be there...
User avatar
Emoto
Senior Member
 
Posts: 1237
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:47 am
Location: SE Mass

Re: Alligator bridge and tailpiece question

Postby dleonard » Thu Oct 01, 2009 2:28 pm

Who's the dude in the pic?
dleonard
Bear
Bear
 
Posts: 390
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 10:45 pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Alligator bridge and tailpiece question

Postby waldo041 » Fri Oct 02, 2009 4:34 pm

the stickers are on it. the tailpiece appears to be a drilled bar sorta clamped on both ends and the bridge is super tiny as is actually angled like a Les Paul.
but dig that, most likely owsley, necklace pendant! :cool:
Image

peace,
waldo
"Tone is in the instruments. Technique in the hands. Do what you will." ~ quote from some guy at the TGP forum
waldo041
Senior Member
 
Posts: 2830
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 10:58 am
Location: Indiana

Re: Alligator bridge and tailpiece question

Postby RiverRat » Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:27 am

That's the bridge!!!

Image

photo from 5/26/72

At first, thought the same thing when I saw the 7/19 photo... That it was bar stock held in place by those two clamps... I found some earlier photos from 3/72 and now I'm not so sure. It look more like a modified strat tailpiece assembly that's anchored by the the two clamps. with a les paul style bridge. The Bridge appears around 12/71 in a few fotos and the output jack is still stock, by March the output jack has that brass plate under it. This bridge is on Gator for almost all of 72, the 2nd modded bridge appears at some Garcia shows in Decemeber.

Gator V1 at Gaelic Park 8/26/71

Image
RiverRat
Senior Member
 
Posts: 961
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:38 am

Re: Alligator bridge and tailpiece question

Postby Emoto » Sat Oct 03, 2009 7:43 am

So, are you modding your strat?
Such a long, long time to be gone, and a short time to be there...
User avatar
Emoto
Senior Member
 
Posts: 1237
Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:47 am
Location: SE Mass

Re: Alligator bridge and tailpiece question

Postby RiverRat » Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:37 am

eventually... I'm undecided whether I'm going to build ANOTHER Gator.

EDIT: I moved the timeline to the first post of the thread.

Now I'm doing comparisions of tracks from late 71 against stuff from May 72, Summer 72 against both of those... and Mid 73 against all of those as well.

V1 Gator sound very different tone-wise than any of the later versions. With the 2 bridge changes, the tone doesn't vary that much. Nowhere near as much as it does from 71 to 72, but that could be due to changes in the backline. Veneta and shows with the burst Strat have a much different tone than Europe... a tone closer to the V1 Gator. This tone can also been heard during some Mid November 72 shows... 11/14-11/17. I haven't gotten to the spring 73 shows, so I cannot pinpoint exact dates for the Erlewine Brown Walnut. Any suggestions here?
Last edited by RiverRat on Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
RiverRat
Senior Member
 
Posts: 961
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:38 am

Re: Alligator timeline

Postby broesau » Sun Oct 04, 2009 9:47 am

I'm curious about this too. I've always wondered whether Alligator started as a hardtail or if there was a piof the back of it to see the conversion. I know Jackofroses made a gator and sells what he calls the alligator bridge and tailpiece, but from the pictures I can't figure out how they would be mounted. Was the alligator blocked off? This is the only high quality picture of alligator I have and yes the bridge looks different that I've ever seen it live and 1 pot is missing as well as the top hat Alembic knobs, I do like how they are both "tone" knobs though.
Full_size.JPG
Full_size.JPG (189.58 KiB) Viewed 3975 times
broesau
Terrapin
Terrapin
 
Posts: 169
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Nashville, TN

Re: Alligator timeline

Postby RiverRat » Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:05 pm

broesau wrote:I'm curious about this too. I've always wondered whether Alligator started as a hardtail or if there was a piof the back of it to see the conversion.


Gator started with a tremolo bridge. Here are some photos from Gaelic Park (caption says they're from the Fillmore 69 but that is incorrect.)

http://www.themusicarchive.com/garcia/d ... /index.htm

In the Grateful Dead Taping Compendium Vol 1, there are 2 photos that are supposed to be from 3/24/71 Fillmore West. 1 shows the back view of a headstock that is probably the Irwin Eagle, the other shot shows a Strat headstock which may be Gator.
RiverRat
Senior Member
 
Posts: 961
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:38 am

Re: Alligator timeline

Postby tigerstrat » Sun Oct 04, 2009 6:25 pm

RiverRat wrote:In the Grateful Dead Taping Compendium Vol 1, there are 2 photos that are supposed to be from 3/24/71 Fillmore West. 1 shows the back view of a headstock that is probably the Irwin Eagle,


Not familiar with those shots, but if you own or have access to the book, is there any chance that back view might be of the Guild S100 (as seen at Duke U. 4/24/71)?
Image
"There, in huge black letters, was 'The Grateful Dead'. It just... cancelled my mind out."-Garcia
User avatar
tigerstrat
Senior Member
 
Posts: 4632
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2005 1:20 pm
Location: Portland,OR

Re: Alligator timeline

Postby RiverRat » Sun Oct 04, 2009 7:03 pm

tigerstrat wrote:Not familiar with those shots, but if you own or have access to the book, is there any chance that back view might be of the Guild S100 (as seen at Duke U. 4/24/71)?
Image


It looks a lot more like the Guild than the Irwin... I had not taken a really good look at the headstock of Eagle and assumed it was more like Tiger's.
RiverRat
Senior Member
 
Posts: 961
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:38 am

Re: Alligator timeline

Postby RiverRat » Mon Oct 05, 2009 12:19 pm

broesau wrote:I'm curious about this too. I've always wondered whether Alligator started as a hardtail or if there was a piof the back of it to see the conversion. I know Jackofroses made a gator and sells what he calls the alligator bridge and tailpiece, but from the pictures I can't figure out how they would be mounted. Was the alligator blocked off? This is the only high quality picture of alligator I have and yes the bridge looks different that I've ever seen it live and 1 pot is missing as well as the top hat Alembic knobs, I do like how they are both "tone" knobs though.


Gator from 6/10/73:

Image

Other inconsistencies with the photo of V5 gator:

The bridge ground wire visible between the jackplate and the tailpiece... never visible on ANY photo I've found of Gator V4 or earlier versions.
The Black knobs are gone, Wolf appears with 3 black skirted knobs... same type as were on Gator V1.1 thru V4.
Brass control plate is out of alignment, that I've mentioned before.... But look at some photos from RFK '73, this may have been the way "this" plate was mounted... It is not the plate that was on Gator in 72, this is apparent by the seam between the pickguard and the control plate, as well as the differences in the mounting screws
Lack of corrosion on the pickup mounting screws... shiny, clean and looking like new relative to every other piece of hardware on the guitar.
Pickup polepieces are in roughly the same condition as the pickup mounting screws, Wolf appeared with 3 white single coil pickups after Gator V4 last public appearance.

My conclusion... Gator might have been raped for parts for Wolf 1.0, most notable the 'blaster and the pickups. And the existing "glamour" shot of Gator was staged as best as could be, and the inconsistencies have been apparent all along.

Early Wolf in 1974 (Toggle where later OBEL jack would be):
Image

I wonder if Waldo were to get access to Gator in it's present form, would what he found support the conclusion I'm trying to reach?
RiverRat
Senior Member
 
Posts: 961
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:38 am

Re: Alligator timeline

Postby waldo041 » Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:09 pm

gator has no preamp. it had stock pickups and wiring. this told by rick turner. here are my opinions. what i believe was happening to gator was jerry finding his action. that's what's up with modding the bridge at this time. the pickguard froze and broke and the brass pickguard plate is the fix, told by steve parish. rick turner did make a brass pickguard, but it was at the same time but for crosby's strat. that's what i have for the pickguard. i do believe that gator's volume 250k audio pot was robbed for another guitar, but i believe that is one of the TB500's. #12 has a 250k log for the single tone potentiometer. so maybe that's where it is.

back to the bridges, i believe v2 gator is the guitar Bill Graham tried to fix the bridge before a show, told by jerry. that's possibly why another version of this type of bridge and tail comes to life. every guitar, aside from the beans, had this stop/tail setup. i think the reason we don't see the tailpiece ground wire until the last incarnation is because the previous versions were not fully blocked as the last version is. this would allow the string ground to be under that wood. when it was blocked they simply ran the wire as you see it. i also believe the wood under the last version , and possibly the previous version, is slightly wedge shaped. like a doorstop so the ball ends of the strings have a place to fit under that tailpiece. the bridge is made by alembic and can be found from stars guitars old stock on ebay from time to time.

as for wolf's switch. it is most likely a phase switch. remember r.turner stated no preamp in gator, and there is not even one in TB500 #12 WITH the first incarnation of the OBEL. so, eagle, gator and early wolf have no onboard preamps. that switch on wolf briefly becomes a 3rd tone control, with dual gangs to follow there after. i posted a pic below. that spot as you stated becomes the OBEL, and in fact the switchcraft switched jack the original OBEL had, like the bean 500's, is still in it! 30 something years old! once the effects loop switch was added that jack is not needed. and is a regular stereo jack in tiger and most likely rosebud and bolt.

check out this picture out of 4 knob wolf.
Image


peace,
waldo
Last edited by waldo041 on Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Tone is in the instruments. Technique in the hands. Do what you will." ~ quote from some guy at the TGP forum
waldo041
Senior Member
 
Posts: 2830
Joined: Thu May 19, 2005 10:58 am
Location: Indiana

Re: Alligator timeline

Postby b weird » Mon Oct 05, 2009 3:01 pm

It seems to me Gator was raped, the knobs on the "glamour" photo are standard Strat knobs and the pickup covers are too white/new looking.
Image
User avatar
b weird
Senior Member
 
Posts: 713
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 8:09 am

Re: Alligator timeline

Postby RiverRat » Mon Oct 05, 2009 4:06 pm

The pickguard break had to occur between 3/71 and 8/71, so I don't doubt that part of the chronology regarding the pickguard. It's the changes between 1/72 and 3/72 that I'm interested in... The tone change with Gator occurs then and stays pretty much consistent thru until July '72. If that change is due to upgrades of the passive components... Fender's stock parts suck! :lol:

V5 and V4 have the same bridge configuration, it appears to remain unchanged. V4 was the final publicly played version, the wire is not visible and the 2nd bridge is present right though until Watkins Glen 73... So I guess I don't understand what you mean about the bridge blocking and it's relation to the timeline. If I'm reading what you said the right way, full blocking of the bridge took place after Gator was retired. 12/11/72 is when the V2 bridge appears and that is a Winterland show. And if a repair fix were done Winterland 12/72, it was left unfixed thru Summer 73. Even though there were 2 breaks longer than 3 weeks where the bridge could have been repaired properly. It seems that the V4 bridge was more than a quick fix repair and rather a carefully thought out upgrade.

Trips Festival 1966 Longshoreman's Hall was where Graham met Garcia... and attempted to fix the bridge on his guitar. that is the commonly held belief... That's from Dennis McNally.
RiverRat
Senior Member
 
Posts: 961
Joined: Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:38 am

Next

Return to Grateful Dead Equipment Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests