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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #121242  by kaos
 Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:00 am
Funny I just noticed this and was wondering if I should post something about it. Interesting story, I wonder if anyone else knows more history on this one.
 #121254  by tigerstrat
 Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:55 am
Mmmmmm foooooootnote! As far as more history, this may have gotten a very brief mention in Grateful Dead Gear, so the text and photos the seller has provided are now your main source regarding this instrument. I wonder if Phil (or anyone else) ever used it onstage.

Image
Last edited by tigerstrat on Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
 #121256  by tigerstrat
 Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:04 am
This is my best music related treasure. Eight and a half years ago, I acquired it on Ebay. The chain of ownership is Phil Lesh > a San Rafael Music Store > The family of a Grateful Dead employee > ME. When I was considering purchasing it, I traded emails with a friend I know that works for Phil, and he independently confirmed it's authenticity. I can provide the emails to the winner of the auction. Ibanez created additional documentation, some of which is in the pictures, a letter and three pages of electronics, all of these will be shipped with the bass, along with the original case.

Ibanez Guitars - from Wikipedia
"Harry Rosenbloom, founder of the (now-closed) Medley Music of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, was manufacturing handmade guitars under the name "Elger." By 1965 Rosenbloom had decided to stop manufacturing guitars and chose to become the exclusive North American distributor for Ibanez guitars. In September 1972 Hoshino began a partnership with Elger Guitars to import guitars from Japan. In September 1981, Elger was renamed "Hoshino U.S.A.", retaining the company headquarters in Bensalem, Pennsylvania as a distribution and quality-control center.

After the lawsuit [Gibson successfully sued them] Hoshino Gakki abandoned the strategy of copying "classic" U.S.A. electric guitar designs—having already introduced a plethora of original designs. Hoshino was producing Artist models of their own design from 1974, introducing a set neck model in 1975. In 1977 they upgraded and extended their Artist range and introduced a number of other top quality original designs made to match or surpass famous American brands; the Performer and short-lived Concert ranges which competed with the Les Paul; through neck Musicians; Studios in fixed and through neck construction; the radically shaped Iceman and the Roadster which morphed into the Roadstar range, precursor to the popular superstrat era in the mid-1980s. The newer Ibanez models began incorporating more modern elements into their design such as radical body shapes, slimmer necks, 2-octave fingerboards, slim pointed headstocks, higher-output electronics, humbucker/single-coil/humbucker (H/S/H) pickup configurations, locking tremolo bridges and different finishes."

That is what this bass is. A prototype, designed for Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, so that they could potentially produce a line of Phil Lesh bass guitars, if he signed up with the Japanese firm. As from my friend, "...Through the years, instrument designers have made instruments with Phil in mind; some of which he has played in concert and some of which he has not. Some are merely prototypes and some get to be actually played. This is true of all major music artists...."

This is a unique one of a kind instrument and extremely rare. Instruments owned by members of the Grateful Dead are very rarely on the open market. I will have it professionally packaged for shipping. If the winner is in the Bay Area, we could arrange a pickup. Otherwise, I will ship at the cost of packaging, shipping, and insurance. Please contact me about shipping, if you want something less than FedEx.

As noted above, there is a broken knob, it is included. Also the there is a small crack in the body that has been repaired, but is not invisible, see picture. I don't play, but the bass player of a Bay Area deadhead band that I was associated with played around with it in rehearsal, and liked it.