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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #121787  by Marlow
 Wed Dec 05, 2012 8:54 pm
I think I posted a question like this here some years ago, but darned if I can find it, and now I want to finally start the project, so I'll ask again.

Has anyone ever built a TB500 tribute/knockoff, or found something close enough to a TB500 that can be modded appropriately? It seems like the Jerry guitar that gets the least attention, but who doesn't love spring tour '77???

I have three TB500 pickups custom-wound to Jerry specs by Kevin over at the Electrical Guitar Company. True, ECG guitars are the obvious choice, but aluminum guitars are really expensive and I think I'd prefer wood anyway.

So there it is: I got three TB500 pups burning a hole in my pocket. What to do? Warmoth body/neck? Route an SG? Find some random guitar that has three P90s as stock and then just swap out the pups? I'm thinking that it must take some magical combo of woods to simulate an alum guitar, but what do I know? Maybe someone has already tried it and can pass along some tips.

Thanks!
 #121794  by cripeowner
 Thu Dec 06, 2012 4:53 am
Try and find a reasonably priced Kramer metal neck with wood body. This way you're not out a ton $ and not hacking up a vintage TB
 #121795  by Marlow
 Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:11 am
I'm trying to avoid aluminum if possible. Never played one, and probably zero opportunity in these parts to try one before buying. Do you think it's absolutely vital to the sound and can't be reproduced any other way?
 #121797  by waldo041
 Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:30 am
a HUGE part of the Travis Bean mystique is the mouting of the pickups directly to the aluminum neck. I would go as far to say if you removed the wood, the TB would sound the same as with.

~waldo
 #121801  by TI4-1009
 Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:51 am
...which brings us full circle back to Les Paul's log or better yet railroad beam "guitars".
 #121803  by strumminsix
 Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:58 am
waldo041 wrote:a HUGE part of the Travis Bean mystique is the mouting of the pickups directly to the aluminum neck. I would go as far to say if you removed the wood, the TB would sound the same as with.

~waldo
Agreed and would theorize that your pickups would react very differntly
 #121816  by Marlow
 Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:06 pm
No disrespect, but can we ignore the pickups? A TB1000 sounds a lot different from a TB500, and AFAIK the only major difference between them is that one is single-coil and one is HB. Wouldn't all aluminum guitars sound the same if that was the only variable?

A Kramer is a definite idea. I wonder if they ever made a model with three P90 compatible slots, to save routing one. Not that a TB500 pickup is a P90, but it fits the same slot.
 #121817  by strumminsix
 Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:22 pm
Marlow wrote:No disrespect, but can we ignore the pickups? A TB1000 sounds a lot different from a TB500, and AFAIK the only major difference between them is that one is single-coil and one is HB. Wouldn't all aluminum guitars sound the same if that was the only variable?

A Kramer is a definite idea. I wonder if they ever made a model with three P90 compatible slots, to save routing one. Not that a TB500 pickup is a P90, but it fits the same slot.
Tone is from the gestalt - every single piece counts. The response from a TB reminds me alot of the Modulus guitars, I think it's from the rigidity. could be wrong. Just a speculation
 #121819  by cripeowner
 Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:11 pm
I've owned both a TB and a Kramer.The TB had TB humbuckers and the Kramer had dimarzios. The sound comes from the neck and they were both very similar. There is nothing like it and no way to duplicate it without the metal neck.
 #121821  by williamsaut
 Thu Dec 06, 2012 3:49 pm
I had an aluminum neck Kramer some years ago. The neck was cold and the instrument was in a constant state of detune while warming up which took quite a while. Aluminum has a big coefficient of expansion due to heat. I'd say the pickups will sound like a travis regardless of the neck and pickup mounting being aluminum. At least somewhat like a travis. The pickups are a big part of a guitars sound. Perhaps if the pickups and bridge were set in a single block of aluminum in the body combined with a carbon composite neck that could get closer without having to hold a cold piece of metal.

My 2 cents
 #121824  by TI4-1009
 Thu Dec 06, 2012 5:51 pm
I thought Jerry liked TBs for their stability!?!?
 #121825  by dleonard
 Thu Dec 06, 2012 8:08 pm
I've seen recent pictures online of Jeff Mattson playing a Travis Bean with DSO.