Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #106320  by hiimdead
 Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:10 pm
Hey Deadheads -

Long time reader first time poster. I've been playing guitar on and off for roundabout 4 years now, and, naturally, I've always wanted to play the Dead. Unfortunately, I don't have the massive amount of time it would take to learn how to imitate Jerry's sound... what with school and work, I can't even dedicate more than a few hours a day to guitar! So, I decided that I would try to learn about Bobby and the rhythm guitar of the Dead. I've spent many hours on this site researching, and I've been able to pick up some of the techniques and quirks which have helped me produce a distinctively "Bobby" sound.

I'm looking to buy a new guitar as a Christmas gift for myself. I've been using an old squire strat which I got for my 16th birthday after someone stepped on and broke my acoustic, and I'm looking to upgrade - what would be the "one step up" guitar that would, in your guys' professional opinion, help me create a more "Dead" sound?

Thanks -
Dead Ned
 #106330  by mkaufman
 Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:06 pm
If you're looking at an ES339, check out the vintage Ibanez AM50. Probably a much better guitar at a fraction of the cost.

Both are smaller-sized semi-hollows. They are not a full-sized ES335 body. If that matters to you...

 #106356  by Pete B.
 Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:32 am
That 339 does look cool with the smaller body like that. I think the Rhythm guit player from Zen Tricksters uses one (I think his is a Gibson, though).
That Epi comes with split coils built in, too.
It's got an actual tailpiece on posts also (sometimes they throw that ridiculous trapeze tailpiece on there, like the ES137), so you could replace it with a TP-6 fine-tuner tailpiece if you wanted.
From the look and description, I could hear a 70's Bobby intro-part to China Cat coming out of that thing!
 #106380  by mijknahs
 Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:45 pm
mkaufman wrote:If you're looking at an ES339, check out the vintage Ibanez AM50. Probably a much better guitar at a fraction of the cost.


Are you talking about a new Ibanez AM50? I couldn't find any info on new ones. And are you sure they are a fraction of the cost of a new Epiphone ES339 (not Gibson)? Those run $499 new.
 #107602  by claytushaywood
 Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:35 pm
I played a couple of the new epiphone 339 sized hollowbodies and I have to say I was not impressed. I am a big epiphone fan too, my next guitar will probably be a MIK epi dot or sheraton if I can find a nice one. I really would love to love the new epiphone 339. hopefully it was just a typical guitar center dud.
 #107879  by racecar
 Sun Jan 15, 2012 6:04 am
My suggestion is a vintage Gibson ES335 like Bobby is using now. Or one of the number of vintage artists that are around these days if price is a major factor.

To be realistic...Bob's tone is not just his guitar. You can get the Bobby tone with a number of guitars, it's the effects he uses to supplement his natural guitar tone. If you don't have a compressor, you might consider adding a good one to your setup. I like the ones from Empress Effects or Diamond. MK was nice enough to enlighten me on a different forum that Bobby uses an Avalon rack mount which are very expensive.
 #108208  by barefootdave
 Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:37 pm
I just got a Keeley compressor and it sounds fantastic.

If you haven't pulled the trigger on a guitar yet, you might also consider a Squire Esprit, they are based on the old Fender Esprit/Robben Ford Custom Shop models. They are discontinued but pop up the the Bay occasionally for around $400. I got one as backup for my Robben Ford, and find it to be very similar for approximately 5% (yes that's five percent) of the cost of the custom shop model.