Although Jerry only played a handful of guitars on stage I read that he had at least 25 guitars in his collection at the time of his passing. I read that he would buy guitars on the road – some almost unplayable and take them to Irwin (that’s what I recall) to fix up. Obvioulsy some he simply had local techs work on as well. Here’s a great story about one of his guitars “the trainer” taken from the Visions of Garcia auction site:
Jerry Garcia called this solid body electric guitar the 'trainer' others jokingly called it a 'pony' (ie a junior Fender Mustang). Whatever you called it, this guitar was always a work in progress. I was originally looking for an inexpensive beginners guitar for my son Lucas. I had asked our friends at Bananna Music ... to be on the watch for a decent instrument ... When they located this ... I think they wanted around $100 (this was end of 1979). Jerry looked it over, plugged it in to a Yamaha practice amp and reeled off some stocatto triplets, octavoes and arpeggios. Jerry laughed and announced 'we should hot-rod this little sucker up.' First, he said, we needed to have it fitted with a new bridge. He had recently heard that this guy Kahler, who had been building cross for Fender, had started his own company. He told me to take it back to the store and see if their techs could outfit it with Kahler's new tremolo bridge which doubled as a fitted bridge as well. I'm going, 'Jerry the bridge is over $200.-,' and he then tells me to have the store order two P-90 pick ups and have them put it on his tab. This was very generous of Jerry but it meant that Luke would get it for Christmas 1980 maybe. The guitar finally found its way to Lucas who was actually able to learn some chords from Jerry.
That’s the guitar!
Did Garcia know about Bill Lawrence pick-ups? Well Garcia was published in Guitar Player – LSR advertised in different guitar magazines – one would assume he was up to date on these things – and out of 25 + guitars, which I’m guessing were collected in the 70’s when it was OK to walk into guitar stores without being mobbed, that he tried them out for sure, hence the Bill Lawrence rail added to Wolf at some later date – but perhaps not played in concert.
I took a second read at the fall 77 interview. In the transcripts Garcia refers to those Wolf pick-ups as being made by a company – not hand wound – a new company. Both Dimarizio and LSR were relatively new, and just starting to advertise – hey those first pick-ups could have been either. Without decent photography no one will really know.
Here’s the transcript:
**GT:"What kind of pick-ups are those?"
> **JG:" These things? I don't know. There's this new company that
> makes these things and I don't even know what they're
> I don't know what the name is, but they're uh single...single-coil
> pick-ups like a, a Tel-, uh, Stratocaster."
What colors did SDS-1's come in, in 77?
Did Dimarzio have black pick-up covers in 1977? Good question. The first guitar I thought of was Gilmore’s black strat with the Dimarzio FS-1’s in it. Here it is in the middle image with a black bridge FS-1 pickup (from a Gilmore gear site).
It does make sense however that as Larry was a rising star in the music world and hell bent on taking over the world that he would want to hit as broad of an audience as possible by offering different color pick-ups to match different guitars (probably including the Japanese market). In fact I read that he had some sort of patent on double cream pick-ups. Read more here:
http://www.seymourduncan.com/forum/show ... eme-patent
Here is a 1977 Dimarzio advertisement which also shows black single coils:
can you identify these 2 different sets from Oct 77 and Jan 78?
I can identify the photographs but sorry to say I can’t identify the pick-ups with that sort of resolution. These images are really blurry but I’m guessing at least one of them if brought into focus would show alley key slots. Here is another image of the Wolf with what appears to be black pick-ups but it’s actually from the New Years 77 run.
The poor image quality and idiosyncrasies of lighting make them appear black - but in fact the Wolf had white pick-ups in it for that run.
Did that Oct 11th image pulled of the Dead’s website show Wolf with black pick-ups? First of all without knowing the photographer or having access to his/her site it is hard to tell if even the October 11th date is correct but assuming it is, it would be when Jerry first got the Wolf back and like I said in an earlier post – we are told by Irwin that the Wolf was designed to have plug and play pick-ups, it was designed for Garcia to try different pick-ups so those could have been black LSR pups for sure, but they could have also been Dimarzio’s. Hey they might have been black Travis Bean single coils. SD was just getting off the ground that year so it’s doubtful they were SD’s.
That Jan 78 photo with Jerry in tye dye is from Fresno and was shot by Ed Peristein – with better resolution I’m thinking the pole cylinders would come into focus and the allen key slots would become visible – but he wants $400 a print.
The image you have posted on your website of the Wolf 2.0 is from Santa Barbara. It was shot by Steve Schneider. Steve lives in Seattle. I’ve been in touch with him. He told me he would try to look at some his images this weekend. Most of my images from that time are on film. Apparently his filing system is not the greatest and he’s leaving town on Monday so it may or may not happen.
However here are two close up shots that Bill Fridl emailed me last night. They are from that same Santa Barbara show in June. He was kind enough to provide us with a cropped close up in exchange for giving his site a plug.
The resolution is still a bit sketchy but I can see what looks like allen key cylinder slots on the pick-ups.
He was kind enough to provide us with a cropped close up in exchange for giving his site a plug.
The 12/30/77 photo I posted ealier is much higher resolution than these. Just the cropped image alone was 1.5megs. It was shot by Ben Upham. He just purchased a Cannon 9000F Mark II scanner and had just started scanning some old Garcia negs at 4800 dpi so the timing was serpindepity!
I’m going to go out on a limb and connect some dots. It goes without much doubt now that by the Winterland run in December 77 the Wolf 2.0 had a set of SDS-1’s in it. It appears, but not with certainty that the Wolf 2.0 still had SDS-1’s in it in June of 78. I’m going to also guess that these are the same pick-ups from the Winterland shows.
I’ve been trying to nail that Madison Feb 78 Garcia tone for a while with my Axe FX. The closest I can get is with a Mesa Mark IIa simulation. The Twin map sim doesn’t even get you in the ball park – even with it totally hot rodded. I guess for some reason I thought Garcia might have gone back to Mesa Boogie for a few months. This was my rationale: I understood that Garcia played a Mesa Mark II with his Jerry band and they were touring just before and after the Winter 77/78 shows; my thinking was that the unique tone, much different than the Spring tour came from not his pick-ups but the overall rig and my theory to date until reading Waldo's last post was that there was a possibility Garcia decided to experiment again with Mesa Boggie – and why wouldn’t he? He played that rig with the Jerry band around the same time – a band which included some Grateful Dead personal including its roadies. The Dead were on a limited budget and were trying to gang up their side projects with the Dead tour to make as much cash as possible. I figured it was plausible that Garcia’s rig simply moved from one band to the other and back again – at this point in his career.
This is an excellent piece of research which discusses the Dead’s touring schedule in early 78:
http://lostlivedead.blogspot.ca/2012/09 ... pring.html
Along that thread of thinking, here is a great shot of what is probably Bob’s Mesa at those Winterland shows:
If Bob was happy with the Mesa why wouldn’t Jerry want to give it a try again? – after all they were band mates and learning from each other.
Here is Bob’s description of designed the Ibanez he designed for Jerry:
Here is Bob playing that said guitar (in ash like Jerry's reconstruction Keystone image) at Santa Barbara in June of 78:
Here is Jerry playing what looks to be that same guitar (at the Keystone):
That’s my point – I think he was experimenting with sound in late 77/ early 78 and there was more to it than just his guitar.
I may be incorrect, but didnt Jerry also use the Blackface Twin during this period that had the special black knob (possibly a master volume)? I would assume, and we know what happens when you assume, that using the blackface twin also added a dimension that was different than the silverface.
I agree, although my theory was more controversial and from what Healy told Waldo obviously incorrect - but without some photographic evidence not fully proven wrong. As I said – I’ve found it really difficult to nail down that tone without resorting to a Meas Boggie amp sim. Hey its whatever gets you the sound that counts in my books - if it takes a vintage Mesa Boggie rather than a Twin Reverb to get that tone - cool!