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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #137353  by DHM
 Fri Mar 07, 2014 2:04 pm
When Fender..or just about anyone else does an artist guitar...they seem to do the "sort of close" approximation. For instance the Fender Clarence White guitar had a stock tele neck pickup, no double body, a current design stringbender, keith tuners on the E strings (not the A and high E like Clarence had them)..etc...and Clarence White's name on it...close but no cigar...several individuals and small builders have done replicas that are much more accurate....so if Fender was to do an "Alligator"...in all likelihood they would do a natural finish hard tail strat with a sticker on it and call it good.....
 #137360  by strumminsix
 Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:41 pm
In my opinion the Jerrification of the Strat was really more like a Telefication. Hard tail, top loader.
Strat neck, Strat body, Strat pickups, 25.5" scale, hardtail like Tele, top loader like Tele

I mean, in reality a huge part of that Jerry sound is a Strat middle pickup, right???
 #137361  by tatittle
 Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:06 pm
It might be more justifiable to issue a Jerry Garcia Twin Reverb, maybe as a head with a pre-out. Since it was far more consistently part of his career. I think there is quite a market for a Twin head too...numerous guys do this on their own...of course if the did they would be PCB etc.

But the switch to StratFender style guitars was a big progression in Jerry's sound to my ears also. I believe his articulate style is much better suited to Fender like guitars than Gibsons e.g. My understanding is r&roll folks liked Gibsons back in the day largely because the pups pushed amps in the days before pedals and gain knobs. While there are some magical moments by Garcia on Gibsons, the times where he wasn't in the zone flooded with inspiration and youthful passion don't sound near as good to me as later years on Superstrat type guitars. A few songs never sounded as good w/o the Gibson. Im not a huge fan of the pre-69 years sound wise, though they improved technically, a lot of the interesting arrangments and stuff came out of this period, so I would probably attribute that to Garcia being on LP etc. more than anything else. I far prefer Bobby's Gibson days though, along with the Ibanez. I had a 1959 ES-335 Dot a guy loaned me for years...really miss that guitar duh.

There are obviously less deserving "signature series" products from Fender, objectively speaking.
Last edited by tatittle on Sun Mar 09, 2014 1:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
 #137366  by jeager
 Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:11 am
Alligator was still very much Fender/Strat like and nothing like an SG (as was suggested above). Scale length being that of a fender, pickups, woods and construction methods. You can't put single coils in a gibson and get it to sound like a fender or double coils in a fender and make it sound like a gibson...the thing sounded pretty much like a fender.

We have seen/heard lots of example of Jerry playing a Stock Strat around that same period and sounding pretty close to Alligator. Watch the Springfield Creamery video... sounds like early 70s to me. Does anyone know if the Strat he used for that show even had the blaster in it? How big a factor was that in the overall tone of the guitar...or was it fairly transparent and just used to drive the front end of the amp a bit more?

I play a hard tail strat wired like Tiger and to the average listener, including my bandmates it can sound "just like" Jerry's guitar. I know its different but don't give a crap because its nice and light and has some improvements over your typical Fender construction ... I have recently considered, dumping the Tiger wiring and going for that Alligator thing cause I dig it but don't want to lose the OBEL. Would not want to buy one from Fender for ten times what it should cost though.
 #137367  by Jon S.
 Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:40 am
I don't think it would be strange at all for Fender to an Alligator relic no matter how many changes to the basic guitar as long as the Strat body and headstock shapes are retained. They haven't been shy in the past doing similar things with other guitars. Aspects of John 5's Tele, for example, might cause a purist to turn over in his grave.

Image
Last edited by Jon S. on Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
 #137368  by milobender
 Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:43 am
One thing that Jerry never gave up, was the single coil in the middle... regardless of the wood and various construction differences, that, and the 25.5" scale are the essence of the Fender Strat sound to me. So in effect, he continued to play the Strat the entire time.
 #137370  by tatittle
 Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:45 am
I guess I shouldn't have been as surprised as I was, but I saw a vid of John5 (Im not familiar with his stuff) where he was playing country Tele stuff and Old Time jazz styles very well. Im guessing hes from the heartland, and his use of Tele's suggests he is rooted in roots music. He is not a one-trick pony at all. freom what I saw. I recall he's got lots of macro level vision etc. too..I was very impressed.

Id like to hear a lot more of his stuff w/o all the elaborate production; really enjoyed listening to him stripped down. But Im the type of guy who prefers to hear the songwriter play his tune quietly in his living room, with a sketchy (but authentic) voice--rather than its eventual culmination in a Broadway extravaganza, where pomp and circumstance detract from the purity of the music IMO.
Last edited by tatittle on Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:55 am, edited 3 times in total.
 #137371  by Jon S.
 Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:47 am
Slight digression. I'm a John 5 fan. Don't judge a book by its cover.
 #137373  by milobender
 Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:01 am
Im the type of guy who prefers to hear the songwriter play his tune quietly in his living room, with a sketchy (but authentic) voice--rather than its eventual culmination in a Broadway extravaganza, where pomp and circumstance detract from the purity of the music IMO.
+1 Me too... :smile: :smile: :smile: I'd rather hear the artist than the produceer... and the 'mistakes' often lead to great stuff.
 #137376  by Mr.Burns
 Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:37 am
I once was a regular on a Strat forum and the folks there had a pretty low opinion of Alligator. One called it a hack job.
 #137377  by TI4-1009
 Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:10 am
tatittle wrote: really enjoyed listening to him stripped down.
too much information
 #137430  by strumminsix
 Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:20 am
Mr.Burns wrote:I once was a regular on a Strat forum and the folks there had a pretty low opinion of Alligator. One called it a hack job.
I think if folks were honest, it does look like a bit of a hack job.... Everything about it speaks to function vs aesthetics:
1) That riser, top load solution and tune-a-matic type bridge is just weird looking.
2) Coulda put a top loader Tele bridge plate on it and looked much nicer.
3) reinforced jackplate with brass
4) cobbled together pickguard with brass
5) external groundwire

I mean, it ain't pretty. But it sure made some beautiful music :)
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