Alligator timeline

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Re: Alligator timeline

Postby b weird » Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:17 pm

I also happen to think the mod was on purpose since Jer got a brass cover instead of just buying a whole new pickguard.
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Re: Alligator timeline

Postby RiverRat » Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:55 pm

tigerstrat wrote:What is the source of the story that the 2-piece pickguard was accidentally broken?


I believe the story appears in Home Before Daylight, someone can correct me if I'm wrong... It is one of the few books I've read and don't own outright... It may also be from anecdotal stories retold to others.

http://www.amazon.com/Home-Before-Daylight-Life-Grateful/dp/031230353X
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Re: Alligator timeline

Postby waldo041 » Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:05 pm

thought this might fit here.

this peanut guitar bridge and tailpiece are really close to what was on the final version of alligator. notice the wood under the tailpiece to raise it for the string ball ends. also notice that the bridge sits on a brass block. is it possible alligators does to, but is hidden under that piece of wood the tailpiece also sits on?

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Re: Alligator timeline

Postby RiverRat » Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:08 pm

DAMN!!!

It's not hidden at all... Compare it against the Nalls Clone and my own... the brass block is clearly visible. The trem block cavity was routed out, you can see that the wood between the trem block cavity and the pickup bridge pickup cavity is about 1/4" thinner with the V4 bridge. The route goes all the way to where the original bridge's anchor screws are.

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Re: Alligator timeline

Postby dleonard » Wed Oct 14, 2009 9:51 pm

Not sure if this will post correctly, great picture for checking out the bridge
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Re: Alligator timeline

Postby waldo041 » Thu Oct 15, 2009 6:39 am

Dleaonard, Amazing shot! THANKS!

although the brass block is not that visible. i believe i do see it. that aside, i do now see that the wood under the bridge and tailpiece is uniform and NOT wedge shaped. that bridge doesn't sit on the brass block like the peanut guitar does. it's raised by that woods height or there is some sorta spacer arrangement. this, imo, supports my theory that jerry was finding his setup/action with this guitars changes. this bridge sits higher then the previous modded one does and the string distance to the tailpiece is longer also. on a strat, i bet he might even had to offset the neck with a shim by a degree or 2 to get things just right. this is essentially the setup he played the rest of his career. aside from the beans they all had this setup, bridge tailpiece and action, after alligator. before, there were plenty of stock instruments being used.

again nice picture and thanks for sharing. where'd you get it?

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waldo
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Re: Alligator timeline

Postby waldo041 » Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:05 am

this link will show that Wolf's first bridge and tailpiece were very similiar to alligator last incanation. No brass block under the bridge but it is raised off the wood with something. later it gets a harmonica bridge and the tailpiece loses it's wood underneath but has a channel routed into wolf for the string ball ends instead.

http://www.backstagegallery.com/photode ... 8-003.html

peace,
waldo
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Re: Alligator timeline

Postby jeffm725 » Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:29 am

waldo041 wrote:this link will show that Wolf's first bridge and tailpiece were very similiar to alligator last incanation. No brass block under the bridge but it is raised off the wood with something. later it gets a harmonica bridge and the tailpiece loses it's wood underneath but has a channel routed into wolf for the string ball ends instead.

http://www.backstagegallery.com/photode ... 8-003.html

peace,
waldo


Notice that the pic says "1977 Alpine Valley"......um yeah, sure........I dont think so!
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Re: Alligator timeline

Postby RiverRat » Thu Oct 15, 2009 8:27 am

waldo041 wrote:Dleaonard, Amazing shot! THANKS!

although the brass block is not that visible. i believe i do see it. that aside, i do now see that the wood under the bridge and tailpiece is uniform and NOT wedge shaped. that bridge doesn't sit on the brass block like the peanut guitar does. it's raised by that woods height or there is some sorta spacer arrangement. this, imo, supports my theory that jerry was finding his setup/action with this guitars changes. this bridge sits higher then the previous modded one does and the string distance to the tailpiece is longer also. on a strat, i bet he might even had to offset the neck with a shim by a degree or 2 to get things just right. this is essentially the setup he played the rest of his career. aside from the beans they all had this setup, bridge tailpiece and action, after alligator. before, there were plenty of stock instruments being used.

again nice picture and thanks for sharing. where'd you get it?

peace,
waldo


This pic changes the timeline if the date is correct, 10/21/72 was a month and a half prior to the date I thought that V4 Gator appeared... But the propellor head dog sticker is present on the upper horn, it vanishes in early '73.

I don't think the neck is shimmed nor do I think that the bridge rests on the the wood... The wood is to cover the trem block cavity portion that isn't filled by the brass block. and the neck appears to sit fairly fluch in the pocket. Plus, I don't believe it would be necessary to shim the neck, the V2 Gator bridge sat very low... anyone that has cranked down their strat bridge and blocked it know just how low the assembly sits on the body. And that bridge was nothing more than a variation of a stock strat tailpiece.
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Re: Alligator timeline

Postby waldo041 » Thu Oct 15, 2009 9:27 am

RiverRat wrote:I don't think the neck is shimmed nor do I think that the bridge rests on the the wood... The wood is to cover the trem block cavity portion that isn't filled by the brass block. and the neck appears to sit fairly fluch in the pocket. Plus, I don't believe it would be necessary to shim the neck, the V2 Gator bridge sat very low... anyone that has cranked down their strat bridge and blocked it know just how low the assembly sits on the body. And that bridge was nothing more than a variation of a stock strat tailpiece.


i beg to differ. the strat piece is limited and shorter then those alembic bridges, especially the vintage ones. if it sat flush like the peanut guitar did, then it might be close. but it's not flush, it is raised higher from the body. imo, the whole reason for the change in bridges is for height. the alligator versions3 had thumbwheels to heighten it's gibson type bridge higher then his stock strat bridge. why not just block the trem? but while the gibson bridge most likely allowed him to get the height he wanted, the intonation was off because the saddle travel is very limited. at jerrys action height, it requires a lot of attention to detail to get it to stay in tune up and down the neck. and in general that's a side effect of a higher action. kimock commented on that aspect about playing jerry's guitars. imo, he changed from the angled gibson type to the straight, longered saddle traveled alembic made ones. which are also much bigger then the gibson ones. on alligator version4 i believe the wood definately goes under that bridge, at least a portion, which is that much ABOVE the body Plus the bridges height. while the neck may not be shimmed or even needed adjustment, it's a possibility. rosebud had about a 1 or 2 degree neck angle and you'd never know it going off the photos. those degrees do appear very flat as it really is nothing drastic. but whether that bridge sits on that wood or not, that wood definately goes a little underneath the bridge. so, it's quite possible there is even more height inbetween the bridge and that piece of wood. but i say it rests on the wood. wolf version1's bridge is also raised off the body with what appears to be a piece of wood also at about the same height as alligator version 4's wood.

Image


a little guesstamation!
jerry buys eagle in 71 about the same time irwin has began work for alembic. so starts the garcia irwin relationship. alligator then gets it's bridge and tailpiece modded by irwin. notice it is the same type as eagle with the gibson type bridge. then irwin changes it to the alembic type on alligator with the wood spacer. wolf is delivered and it has a more ornate tailpiece but essentially the same bridge & tailpiece with wood spacers as alligator's final incarnation. later in 75 when it goes in for a refin it comes back with all the alembic stuff, the logo and the bridge gone. Rick Turner remembers very little about alligator other then that it was stock and passive, he only upgraded to military version pots, and shielded it. so since the work is being done by alembic at the time, it most likely has to be Irwin doing the mods on Alligator. he worked there from about 71 to 73, just about the life span of Alligator and all it's work, and also about the time Wolf was delivered.

just my thoughts!

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waldo
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Re: Alligator timeline

Postby RiverRat » Thu Oct 15, 2009 11:41 am

The overall length of the strings from peg to tailpiece is longer than a stock strat, since the V3 Gator tailpiece assembly IS longer... approximately 5/8" longer than stock... The overall length increases by yet another 5/8" with the V4 Gator bridge, total is about 1 1/4" above stock strat overall length.

The bridge to nut length changes as well between stock and V3, High E is roughly the same and the low E appears to be around a 1/4" longer... same slant that you'd see on a gibson. Most like to compensate for intonation issues. Length from bridge to nut is still within the Fender scale length. The slant is NOT present with the V4 bridge, that bridge is perpendicular to the strings.

There may have been a modest increase in bridge height with the V2 bridge, the is evident in the angle of the string break after the bridge. the angle of break may have been why the tailpiece was moved, to lessen the angle and/or increase the bridge height.

So I agree that they were going for a string height increase with the V4 bridge and tailpiece. They were also working on increasing the length of string beyond the bridge, wolf V1 has even more distance bridge to tail than any of the Gator versions.

In order to compensate for the bridge height change, it was necessary to increase the string length past the break point. The longer overall length means more tension to get a string to pitch, coupled with the high action it would meant the higher frets would have a greater chance of being sharp as a result of the pressure required to fret... Which may have led to the neck shimming for the angle you describe to alleviate this problem.

This change from the stock bridge to the modded V3 bridge may have been what gave Gator more oomph during 72 and later. It loses it's twang after the Spring of 72 and we don't hear that twangy strat sound again until Veneta 72.

Waldo041 wrote:this is essentially the setup he played the rest of his career. aside from the beans they all had this setup, bridge tailpiece and action, after alligator.


My turn to beg to differ... :lol: Wolf was the high water mark for this... Tiger and Rosebud both have decreased overall string length from pegs to tail. So Wolf would have had the highest overall string tension of any of Jerry's Guitars as a result of that (If strung with strings of the same type and gauge). But Gator V4 probably had higher tension on the high G thru high E strings due to the headstock layout.

Here's a shot from below, 5/26/72... the tailpiece looks flush to the body, same as it does in the photo from 7/18/72.

http://ray.tuholski.net/GatorV3_files/1972-05-26_1780.jpg
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Re: Alligator timeline

Postby waldo041 » Thu Oct 15, 2009 11:56 am

i agree that Gator V3 tailpiece is flush with the guitar!

i do want to add that tiger and rosebuds Tailpieces are way taller then any of them. therefore their distance does not have to be as far as wolfs. ie.. their string angles should ride about the same as wolf given the higher height.

i agree about the tone change. jerry's action does play a part in his tone, and maybe a lot more then most think. big difference before and after these mods to alligator.

peace,
waldo
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Re: Alligator timeline

Postby tigerstrat » Thu Oct 15, 2009 1:56 pm

RiverRat wrote:the tailpiece looks flush to the body, same as it does in the photo from 7/18/72.


I missed this. Where is that pic? 7/18/72 is one of my alltime fave incredible Dark Stars; would love to see a shot from there.
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Re: Alligator timeline

Postby RiverRat » Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:44 pm

tigerstrat wrote:
RiverRat wrote:the tailpiece looks flush to the body, same as it does in the photo from 7/18/72.


I missed this. Where is that pic? 7/18/72 is one of my alltime fave incredible Dark Stars; would love to see a shot from there.


Page 1 of this thread, A really nice high quality black and white photo showing Version 3 Gator in all it's glory.

Gator gets it's signature sticker sometime between 5/26 and 7/16, It doesn't appear that anything else has changed between Europe and Hollywood Bowl 6/17/72. But the stickers provide good evidence to date photos from this era and to track the changes in Gator. I would love to see some photos from the Hollywood Bowl show if any exist.

Here is a photo with Dickey Betts from 7/16/72:
Image

waldo041 wrote:i do want to add that tiger and rosebuds Tailpieces are way taller then any of them. therefore their distance does not have to be as far as wolfs. ie.. their string angles should ride about the same as wolf given the higher height.


Correct as far as keeping the break angle consistent... The overall length and the string tension also is what comes into play in the tone. Longer peg to tail equals tighter string...

What I wonder about now is the SHAPE of the brass block under the bridge, the route they did probably doesn't extend all the way through the body. A lip was probably left to hold the block in place and prevent the bridge from pushing it back through the body and out the back side of the tremolo cavity. And the wood filler piece does extend UNDER the bridge to hold the brass block against the body rout.
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Re: Alligator timeline

Postby waldo041 » Thu Oct 15, 2009 3:10 pm

RiverRat wrote:What I wonder about now is the SHAPE of the brass block under the bridge, the route they did probably doesn't extend all the way through the body. A lip was probably left to hold the block in place and prevent the bridge from pushing it back through the body and out the back side of the tremolo cavity. And the wood filler piece does extend UNDER the bridge to hold the brass block against the body rout.



Correct, it's most likely exactly like the one brian at jack of roses sells.

http://www.jackofroses.com/Brass_Bridge_Block.html

or like the ibanez versions and screws in from the top to keep it in place.

peace,
waldo
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