Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #90316  by Thanwarin
 Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:26 pm
Hello, I am looking for any info or stories concerning Alembic Guitar serial # 72-13.

We know it was built for Jerry Garcia and was stored at Bob Weir's Aces's studio from around 1972-1998. We believe it was used on one of Jerry's early solo albums and/or bob weirs Ace's projects.

I have gathered a lot of info via the Alembic forum ( ... 1291098887 ) but would like to shake this forum branch and see if any fruit falls.

This guitar will be auctioned with all proceeds going to Amicus Foundation to benefit Burmese refugees in Thailand.

Thanks, Thanwarin
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 #90323  by jdsmodulus
 Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:39 pm
Nice piece, it has Travis Bean written all over it. Not sure about its use though, It could have been recorded. No stage use thats for sure. Its gonna fetch top dollar Im sure.
 #90327  by waldo041
 Fri Dec 03, 2010 3:12 pm
this one definatley has Frank Fullers name on it, those oval inlays i believe are franks work. i would imagine Rick Turner was in on this also. i'll email frank and see what he has to say about it. this axes bridge and tailpiece is almost identical to Alligators last bridge work, with offset sustainer block. if i had to guess, this is most likely NOT an Irwin collaboration, but could be wrong. i'm thinking it is a Turner/Fuller/Wickersham made alembic.

thanks for sharing.

 #90341  by Thanwarin
 Sat Dec 04, 2010 3:13 am
@waldo041 You are pretty close about who was involved, Rick Turner has stated in an email:

"Yes, I certainly did a lot of the work on that guitar. At the very least, I did the basic shaping of the body and neck; I made the pickups and internal hum cancelling coils, and I did all the brass work. Frank Fuller probably worked on it, and perhaps Doug Irwin as well.

Looks like a walnut top and mahogany back and the same combo on the neck. Ebony fingerboard, mother of pearl inlays probably cut either by me, Frank, or Chuck (Duke of Pearl) Erikson.

I believe the guitar was made specifically for Jerry; he was very generous with ordering new gear, to say the least!"

And in another email Rick Turner mentions Ron Wickersham, "I'd just have to know if the electronics work. Those are a very early prototype of the low pass filters, I think. That would be Ron Wickersham's work, and this would pre-date the filter/active humcancelling electronics that we used a few instruments later and Alembic kept using for many years."

I am happy to report that yes, all the electronics work beautifully after all these years. Its an amazing guitar built by the masters. Hopefully, I will be hearing from Frank Fuller soon. I would love to hear what he remembers about this guitar.
 #90342  by Thanwarin
 Sat Dec 04, 2010 3:32 am
@ jdsmodulus I am interested in your Travis Bean comment. I am not by any means an expert on Grateful Dead gear. Only recently did I start learning about the history of Alembic and their contribution with the GD on many different levels.

The Travis Bean and an Alembic are two completely different species. The Travis Bean had an aluminum neck, hollowed body and was a production guitar as opposed to a custom, solid wood body, wood neck Alembic. The electronics I believe are also worlds apart. Alembic enjoyed pushing the sound envelope, especially on custom projects for the GD. I am not saying one brand is better than the other, I am just stating that I don't see "Travis Bean written all over it". Am I missing something?

Thanks to all for your feedback and input
 #90361  by tigerstrat
 Sat Dec 04, 2010 9:02 pm
I always thought the TB-1000 looked like a solid body version of a ES-335 /345/355
 #100215  by hawk900
 Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:46 pm
WOW 150grand on ebay!!!!!!!! Can someone lend me a few bucks LOL!
I like how it has the filter control and midi jack on the front kinda like I built on my first SG. I just braided the three wires and every 3 to 4 inches or so I'd use a thick hair elastic which actually made one fat stiffer wire that wouldn't fling all over the place and get tangled up somewhere.