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PostPosted:Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:48 am
by jeffm725
Really love those guitars!
The one intended for Jerry to buy is pretty amazing and the neck thru Les paul looks sick as well!
Interstingly enough in the Late 70's Ibanez made Jerry a 1 off Musician model that had fret board inlays eerily similiar to the ones on the picture you posted, which I would guess predates that Ibanez by 5 years at least.(I will find the pic and post it)

Mr Lieber, I have always noticed that Neck-thru construction was a preferred guitar building method by the likes of Alembic and Doug Irwin. Can you shed some light on the thoughts behind this building technique being chosen (pros and cons) and also since you had a hand in Tigers design: what swung that guitar into being a set-neck? After all, Wolf was a neck-thru too. Was that a specific request by jerry for the change in neck style?
Also, I find Tiger to be unique in its set neck construction. It seems to run much deeper (further into the body) than a "normal" set neck, almost like "half" of a neck thru? Am I off base in that assessment? Can you elaborate on the uniqueness (or maybe it is just standard?) neck join?

Like everyone else, I thank you for taking the time to share this great stuff with us!

PostPosted:Tue Jul 29, 2008 9:58 am
by tigerstrat
jeffm725 wrote: Interstingly enough in the Late 70's Ibanez made Jerry a 1 off Musician model that had fret board inlays eerily similiar to the ones on the picture you posted, which I would guess predates that Ibanez by 5 years at least.(I will find the pic and post it)

I'd also like to thank you for your contributions, Thomas.

jeffm, do you have some (any?) information on Jerry's Ibanez? Because, I've never seen even a scrap of info on it, just two pictures of Jerry playing it in June 1978, one dated 6/79 JGB Keystone (imo actually 6/10,11 or 18/78 ) and one w/ the GD at Eugene 6/25/78. It's my theory that this was the guitar he played during the time that Wolf was being refitted with the Dimarzios.

PostPosted:Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:00 am
by Pete B.
There is a pic of Jerry playing an Ibanez Musician at this link (scroll down a ways):

Yes!... Thanks for the cool pics!

PostPosted:Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:18 am
by jeffm725

The Ibanez that I mention (the one-off) was never played live by Jerry,it is really, really ornate in its fret board inlays, almost to the point of overdone and tacky (which the Lieber pictured above is not).

He did play a blonde musician in June 78 for at least 1 GD show and has reportedly played the smae blonde musician at a JGB (or maybe Reconstruction) show or 2, but I know that you know that already :smile:

PostPosted:Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:20 am
by jeffm725
I am digging up the pics of the custom musician right now....back in a sec

PostPosted:Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:28 am
by jeffm725

Here's one ^^^^
It is called a Musician MC5000

As you can see that is not at all like the Blonde one he played in 6/78. By the way, I totally agree with your assessment of the JGB show being 6/78 and not 6/79.

Having been an Ibanez freak for 25 years, (I own 4 musicians, 3 artists and a Weir 2681), I can pretty much state that the Blonde one Jerry is playing is pretty much a stock Musician MC500. He may or may not have the Buffer and loop in it, hard to tell from the Pics. But by the carved top it is a MC500 almost certainly. To Be more Specfic is is a 1978 MC500NT (NT stands for "Natural" finish aka Blonde.)..The MC5000 above would be a MC5000DS (DS standing for Dark stain)

PostPosted:Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:49 am
by jeffm725


PostPosted:Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:13 pm
by Thomas Lieber
The guitar everyone refers to as Wolf came back to the shop for refinishing after Jerry began to play the Travis Beam's. It wasn't back for pickup replacement, although that did occur by the time the refinish was complete. Jerry could burn through a finish and even chrome plating because of the acidity of his sweet. This is why we went to gold plating soley on all his future instruments, it held up much better. Anyway originally the "Wolf" had nitrocellulose lacquer finish on it. We refinished it with Polyurethane enamel it was called Polane and held up quite well. When we received the guitar back from Jerry we noticed that he had placed a decal on it below the tailpiece of a cartoon wolf. We decided to surprise Jerry and turn it into a piece of inlayed marquetry. When we returned the instrument to Jerry, he was astonished that we had saved the decal and couldn't understand how in the world we had done so. He was delighted to learn that we had turned his decal into a inlayed work of art.

I will get into constrution details and preferences another time. I can tell you now that it's a bit of a long story as to how Jerry's " Garcia" guitar construction varied from our normal neck through design at time. It was our design and building of another famous bay area musician's instrument (Pete Sears) that created the 180 degree construction turn around that lead to this change in Jerry's "Garcia". I'll try to compose that story over the next few weeks.

be well,

Thomas Lieber

PostPosted:Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:20 pm
by krzykat
Thank you so much for sharing all this history with us. It's a treat to hear how these iconic guitars came to be

PostPosted:Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:51 pm
by strumminsix
wow! more great info. thank you!

PostPosted:Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:54 pm
by bucketorain
Thomas Lieber wrote:Jerry could burn through a finish and even chrome plating because of the acidity of his sweet.
Jerry, Acid, Sweat no...? He must have been alright by sweating like that....

Thomas...aside from my lame attempt to be funny, these are awesome stories, highly treasure by all of us here...

This thread may give the NHL playoff thread a run for its money.

PostPosted:Tue Jul 29, 2008 12:56 pm
by tigerstrat
Thomas, this is all priceless insight to many of us!

fwiw, I wasn't referring to "Wolf"'s major overhaul during Garcia's Travis Bean period of 75-77, just the short break between spring 1978 when it still had the three strat-style pickups and July 1978 when it reappears with the Dimarzio set of humbucker Bridge and Middle + single-coil Neck.

by the way... do you know anything about the pickups "Wolf" had during the late 70's? ... or when Garcia originally got it in '73?

jeffm, , in the photo of 6/25/78, the MC500 is clearly equipped with a loop .. however I can't remember about the pickups, its been so long since I have viewed it. The 6/25/78 photo is hanging on the wall of the Roseland Theater ground floor bar, here in Portland, but I haven't been in there in several years. One day I will revisit and snap a pic of it to post.

PostPosted:Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:46 pm
by hesgone95
Again thanks so much for your contributions to this site Thomas. This is one of the most interesting threads I've seen here. Also FWIW, I looked up your web site and I must say that the Gigerstein guitar is an incredible piece of work. Amazingly true to Giger's artwork.

PostPosted:Tue Jul 29, 2008 2:28 pm
by pappypgh
Mr. Lieber - the information you've been laying down is really special for all of us laymen. Thank you so much for these golden nuggets of behind-the-scenes treasure.



PostPosted:Tue Jul 29, 2008 3:34 pm
by deadguise
Nice info, maybe there needs to be an addendum to the Grateful Dead Gear book.