#132731  by mkaufman
 Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:02 pm
In the pics above, Bob is playing a standard Musician MC400. Jerry's looks to be a modded MC400 or MC500. It's certainly not a standard Musician.

'2612'? I assume that was that a typo?

Anyway, we've hijacked this thread. Let's get back to the important stuff!

 #132732  by James-T
 Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:10 pm
Typo....I see 2681!

I'm just totally messed up now over the Bobby thing, best to leave that to some other suckers!


 #132734  by cmc64
 Sun Sep 29, 2013 4:59 pm
James, you have done a remarkable amount of research on this matter and I must say I am quite impressed with what you have discovered/revealed. Excellent work and I can't thank you enough.

I am getting yelled at to get my butt to the dinner table so I'll revisit this afterwards but after all I have read I think that he was using some variation of an early DiMarzio or LSR (or even the single coil TB's that were buried in epoxy). The question of adjustable pole pieces has been resolved. We do know that Jerry had an affinity for soapbar style pup's as he stuck with the SDS-1 over the years and of course they (they being soapbar type pup's) were used in the Travis Beans. My guess would be about the dame as yours - plug an d play pickups swapped out left and right with different Twins (and mods) happening a a very frequent basis.

I have a Mesa MK IIA - it needs some attention but when it has been fully brought back to spec we shall have a more definitive answer there, although with AxeFX it seems you have made some progress. However, as we know for certain he used the Boogie on the Feb -> March 1980 JGB tour and it has a very distinctive sound it is not unreasonable to think he may have thrown a Mesa into the mix at some time during the period we have been discussing.

That said, if the pic in the liner notes of DP18 are accurate in terms of the shows that DP18 represents, Jerry was using Wolf with white pup's and a pair of Twins. So that is a piece of info that we need.

I would venture a guess that since he moved to DualSounds and kept the SDS-1 in June of 1978 and the tone changed (but still contained elements of what we are after, as far as this discussion is concerned) it is reasonable to assume that the single coils in Wolf 2.0 must have been in many ways similar to the DualSounds, especially as he used the middle position in single coil mode for the majority of his playing.

Gotta eat - back soon.

This is getting GOOD. Thanks again to James for this wealth of information. Progress!!!
 #132739  by James-T
 Sun Sep 29, 2013 10:44 pm
That DP18's remark got me thinking. I did the research on the photo credits and two photographers are listed. The first is a west coast guy, Bruce Polonsky who I believe did not shoot the Iowa or Madison shows but did shot the Mac Court show in Eugene.

I am somewhat certain this image was taken by him, but his website is not that robust and he has credits in the Santa Cruz archives but the images are only accessible by University scholars.


If I am correct clearly the twins were used at that seminal Eugene show.

The second photographer Keith Wessel still lives near Madison, and has a great site with higher res images of the Madison show as well as the Delkab show later in the spring – go figure on that last Dave’s pics release! and go figure such great shots exist at our fingertips! In fact I don't have access to DP18 right now its somewhere in storage - but i would be interested to see the photo of the white pups.

His Madison images do not show the twins clearly but enough of an outline to point to their use at Madison like their use at Mac Court (a venue I used to walk by every day while at grad school two decades later).


For sure they were used in the Delkab show. Here is a crystal clear image of them:


Here is a great shot of Jerry from Madison:


His shirt is the telling sign any future image is from this show,

Now here is the real kicker – Mike I hope you are sitting down for this! – I now believe Jerry had swaped out the SDS-1’s for this tour. Could be the FS-1’s also by Dimarzio or LSR pups. They are certainly black:


There is no reason to think they are black SDS-1’s....... why swap one pick-up out for the same pick-up (unless the first batch was faulty)? I know for sure from looking at Jim Anderson’s photos (and talking with him – a fellow taper and someone it turns out that I’ve got a really good common friend from the past with) that by later in the spring Jerry’s pups were white again. I’ve already posted close ups of those shots earlier in the thread. Unfortunately he felt his images were not clear enough to show that much detail on the pole pieces – and he wants $200-400 a signed print and does not release anything electronically. I work with a lot of photographers so I get that. What I have is taken directly off his site.

And just to get myself in real trouble again, here are a few nice shots of Bobby:


Cowboy fancy – that’s what I always assumed was a Bob Weir Ibanez – not the 2681 carved Ash body featured in the Ibanez ad I posted earlier. Also - note the white single coil pick-up - perhaps that came out of Wolf?

And how about Bobby with a tele?:


If that doesn’t get you how about Bobby with a Ricky?


And finally some things I never knew about Jerry – plus more great shots if you follow this link:

http://www.fuse.tv/galleries/2012/07/25 ... -garcia#17

So this got me thinking about my tone. The closest thing I’ve gotten to that early 78 tone (pre Axe FX ownership) was last summer at a festival gig playing a Carvin DC160 (81 model) with a Dual Sound in the bridge and a Super II in the neck through my old Twin II in the clean channel (totally stock – no JBL’s or pre-amp). I'm not really even in the ballpark with tone but when I listen to this youtube video on my iPhone, with the speaker breaking up it sounds much closer! :shock:


This was our second gig (our first gig was a few weeks earlier) so the playing is pretty rough – we were still getting to know one another and the material. Our drummer did not really know the Dead – his only experience was seeing them in Vancouver in 73or 74 and his buddy wanted to leave after intermission! I’ll tell you that he’s into it now that he see’s we can have a local following!

I’m sorry to say I traded in that ole Rivera era Twin II for my QSC K12 for my Ultra and I sold the Carvin as well – not a well balanced guitar.

Back to my thought here about listening to things on an iPhone - I think a lot of the Madison tone could be from speaker break up. That Dane county coliseum show was one of my first tapes. I acquired a really good audience tape from an acquaintance who was not a dead head and simply gave me his copy of the tape. On the audience tape you really sense the speaker break up. I only had the first set – so when DP18 was released it was a pleasant surprise. I also had the Iowa show, but it two was an audience tape with lots of crowd noise. :cry:

On a final thought – the great thing about debating things on a forum like this is it challenges us to think outside the box, and ultimately expands our collective knowledge base. Thanks for the kind words cmc64 and I think the observations you made in your last post are spot on in light of these most recent discoveries! :cool:


 #132744  by cmc64
 Mon Sep 30, 2013 6:57 am
Tangent first - Take a look at the GD Gear Guide by Blair Jackson. There area few pics of a very early GD at their practice space at the Sausalito Heliport featuring Weir with a Rickenbacker (I haven't a clue which model). Weir also mentions a point early on, I think in the NY area in which he played a Tele for a show or two ("Obviously not the sound I was looking for" :smile: ). Interesting how tastes change as he acquired that Tele and seems to rather enjoy it. That said, as Weir has come well into his own over the many years since that first Telecaster, I imagine he could walk into a pawnshop, pick up a old wreck and a Gorilla amp and still sound like Weir. As a final note on the subject of Telecasters, why does just about every professional musician who owns one have a guitar that looks as if it has been through a war yet sounds like a dream?

Back on track...

Again, your dedication to this tonal quest is beyond words. The pics you have come up with are tip-top and are able to give us info that we may never have been able to access otherwise. Excellent work. Things are coming to light that I dare say none of us have quite had a handle on up to this point. This is all very exciting!

OK, so black pickups in Madison, February 1978. Twins in Eugene two weeks earlier. Waldo's info from Healy that Garcia was using a master volume Twin around this time with who knows what mods. I think it's safe to say the speakers were K-120's. Wolf with a Blaster. Pickups being swapped out frequently. Single coils (at least some of them) with adjustable pole pieces. The SDS-1 was officially released in 1978 so what was in Wolf during the New Year's run of 1977? Those guys have always been at the forefront of music technology so as much as I dislike making assumptions I think we would all agree that they (band, crew, et al) knew who was making pickups at the time and probably had access to prototypes, one-off's and the like.

Winterland 12/77 - white pup's with adjustable pole pieces. The SDS-1 had not been released to the mass public yet but what else could it be. An early version? Prototype? Jerry loved his DiMarzio's (and he stuck with that particular pickup for over twenty years) - at least someone in that organization knew what Larry was up to and got some of his early pup's. That brings us back around to Bill Lawrence (black pup's in Madison, B.L. has pickups he will only issue with black covers - Black Label SRV pups for example, a stretch maybe but possibly an ongoing theme). DiMarzio does not do that. Well, at least not now but with the comment about the patent on the creme humbucker it stands to reason that a specific color used to identify a specific pickup was not their thing. Or maybe it was with the creme patent but I don't think so - photographic evidence shows otherwise.

I have to hit the bricks and get to work so in closing I checked out that youtube video and the tone from a not exactly Jerry rig was great. I am having a Strat worked on at the moment (and according to a text I received last week it should be done any day now). SDS-1 neck, Scott Walker Super 2 "single" in the middle and another Walker Super Distortion "single" in the bridge position, original component blaster with AB gain pot mod courtesy of Leo at ScarletFire guitars, OBEL and the building done by Andrew Olson. After your commentary of the Carvin set up featured in the youtube video, I know have higher hopes for this guitar than I did before. I can't wait to get it in my hands.

I will scan the liner pics from DP18 after work and get them posted.
 #132762  by James-T
 Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:39 pm
Cmc64 wrote
Winterland 12/77 - white pup's with adjustable pole pieces. The SDS-1 had not been released to the mass public yet but what else could it be. An early version? Prototype?
If the music industry was anything like other parts of the US retail sector releasing something in 78 probably meant getting product on the shelves before Christmas. If their only avenue was print media – and that was the glory days of Mad Men, I’m sure a 1978 product release came with a big ad campaign leading up to product in the stores, just like the car industry – 2014 models are already hitting the showrooms today.

Think about it – replacement pups. Everyone wanted to sound like Clapton in the early 70’s. My 67 SG junior has a T-bucker in it – got it that way in 1978. One of my guitar techs – who is vintage himself and does lots of work with Randy Bachman - told me that it was common for guys to buy “used guitars” like my SG and modify them back then to get a heavier sound – so it makes sense that replacement pick-ups could have been the newest best thing in 76/77 – with Gilmore playing that black strat and guitar players everywhere in awe of his tone (I still am).

Here is a dated Jerry Band photo from 11/27/77:


Definitely white pick-ups with what looks to be allen key poles:


Cmc64 wrote
Jerry loved his DiMarzio's (and he stuck with that particular pickup for over twenty years).
I think you've got that right - obviously more than he loved LSR products - no denying Dimarzio stood the test of time, and his choice of pick-ups was very pedestrian and very affordable. Nothing fancy about the Super Distortion - or Dual Sound as it became know as.

Here’s what Steve Parish said about that time period (from the gear book):
“Jerry and I would go to music stores, or he’d send me out, looking for new pedals.”
I’m sure boredom on the road led those guys to explore a lot of music shops and really have a handle on what was available.

I read that Garcia received the Wolf on September 28/ 77. It goes with good reason to think it first landed in his hands with something other than SDS-1’s as late September is pushing it for a 78 product. But late November 77? – sure, those are probably Dimarzio SDS-1 pick-ups and they were probably in all the guitar shops ready for Christmas. So if Garcia tried a set of SDS-1’s what else did he try? Probably the FS-1’s as well - FS standing for fat strat (SD standing for super distortion).

What about twin’s at Madison? – I mixed up my words in my last post. The photographic evidence points to the standard Jerry rig of the time. It also appears for certain he used his twin’s for the Jerry band tours around that time, although for some reason at that Passaic NJ show he has the units upright and not on their side:


And thanks for the compliments on the tone! It actually made me cringe a bit at the time :!: - I was still getting used to the Carvin and the whole split setup. I purchased a 73 twin a few weeks after this gig. Looking back at it, it was more my playing. The overdrive in Dew was the dirty fender channel that those Twin's come equiped with. Most guys think they sound pretty cheesy - but it does get an interested tone, more like a Mesa Boggie - being a Rivera design and all. I think I may have boosted my signal with a MRX Boost/ Overdrive pedal that I had just purcahsed. I played two rigs that during that very short set, I also played a stock Blues Deluxe (which now has a D120 in it - but not in the video) with my trusted Red Strat (and the MRX boost). I really thought that got me a better overall tone - although not really Jerry like - the scond solo is the better tone in my opinion - neck pick-up.

Here's the link:


Big Hard Sun - opening tune at 1:00pm. I'm not a morning guy! :smile:


 #132765  by tigerstrat
 Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:30 pm
Dec 29 , 1977 Image
Dec 30, 1977 Image
 #132767  by zambiland
 Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:26 pm
I don't know if this helps the conversation any, but when I visited Lane Poor about 12 years ago, he told me about his time at Alembic ca. 71-74 and part of his job was rewinding and remagnetizing strat pickups for Jerry. I'm pretty sure he did it for Wolf on a regular basis. My thought was that he used Fender pickups but they were modified, rewound and probably had different magnets at different times.
 #132783  by cmc64
 Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:10 pm
If those pics posted by Tigerstrat are accurate in terms of dates (as I am sure they are) it appears they were swapping out pickups on a more frequent basis than I previously thought (and I mean this morning). And it would seem that they could change from night to night. I am digging through my HDD's tonight. Going to listen to both 12/29 and 30/1977. Great shots there and thanks for the post. I think my brain is going to pop.

Sorry I did not get the DP18 liner pics up tonight but when I got home from work wt 9:30 I plugged in and can;t stop playing with my Mu-Tron III. I am a bit fired up over today's purchase. :smile:
 #132785  by James-T
 Mon Sep 30, 2013 11:17 pm
Ah, the ultimate tone quest – got to love everyone’s passion for the music! I think the quest is more than just tone, it’s about asking the fundamental question of why was the Wolf such a seminal instrument?

I went back and reread the transcripts from that conversation Garcia was having backstage in Portand (fall 77), here’s what caught me the most:
JG: Uhh....yea, I had been using it, but I just got this back
from uh, the guy who made it for me; whose been- whose worked on it some...and I wanted to...see if there's...still anything...between me and it."

GT:"Do you have your guitars worked on at Alembic?"

JG:"No. Don't trust 'em. This guy named Doug Irwin, who's real good, does really nice work. Like when I gave him this guitar, it was really pretty beat-up ...it had a decal on it, this little and I got it back from him and he'd inlaid it in wood and brass, you know my god, it blew my mind! Now there's a guy….
I got to hand it to Irwin. He was brilliant. He was on a mission, from studying to be a bio chemist to chasing his dreams as a guitar builder. He had a chance to really impress Garcia and went the extra mile. The inlay was the like tying the bow around the gift. It set him up for fame and ultimately fortune, making him today one of the most famous luthier’s in the States. Garcia bonded with that guitar and when Irwin presented the next guitar, even more over the top, Wolf was retired and Jerry was now playing a second totally different Irwin guitar. He even managed to get written into Jerry’s will. Too bad it ended up such a tortured affair but that’s typically what you get when you mix money with art.

One can only imagine how crushed he must have been when the Cripe came along, but Cripe took a cue from Irwin’s playbook, one upped him and it worked.

So the big question is why was Wolf 1.0 retired? and here’s my own theory that and it’s probably going to rub some the wrong way. I think it had to do as much with the electronics.

Zambiland wrote:
don't know if this helps the conversation any, but when I visited Lane Poor about 12 years ago, he told me about his time at Alembic ca. 71-74 and part of his job was rewinding and remagnetizing strat pickups for Jerry. I'm pretty sure he did it for Wolf on a regular basis. My thought was that he used Fender pickups but they were modified, rewound and probably had different magnets at different times.
It sounds like Alembic was using stock strat pick-ups and simply rewinding them. Jerry didn’t care as he must have been totally focused on learning technique, theory and writing that he was simply not concerned with tone. I’m going to argue that early 70’s strat pick-ups are in of themselves not the best of electronics, made at a time Fender was slipping (like Gibson). In my opinion those Fender single coils were just no match for the through-neck design and woods of the Wolf. I’d argue that while the playin’ in 73/73 was for the most part excellent, Jerry’s tones suffered.

Steal Your face was somewhat of a letdown for many heads on the heels of LiveDead, Skull and Roses and Europe 72, where Jerry’s tone were unique and stellar. And lets face it, not too many folks on this forum are chasing after the 74 tone as their main stay in their respected bands, and hobby playin.

In Grateful Dead Gear Steve Parish is notes:
Garcia was always game to try a new guitar…back in 1970 “some guy gave him one that was made out of a tombstone. It was marble or granite or some heavy fucking thing. It had a really weird neck, too. But Jerry played it a couple of times.”

….Jerry would experiment, but no matter what he played he’s still try to within that signature Fender Twin sound; that’s what he craved.
Now don’t get me wrong, some 74 shows have some great tones but I think Jerry might have just burned out on the tone and needed a change and try different things, and I think that 74 tone came from Alembic – as I’ve heard it called – the piano tone, almost acoustic, without a lot of colour and depth (but great clarity). I love the variety the Dead present in their musical career and the 73/74 shows have a certain jazzy clarity to them – that makes the Dead’s epic catalogue of live shows so great to listen to - but again, it’s a sound that did not fit ever tune they played.

Cmc64 wrote:
Going to listen to both 12/29 and 30/1977
And thanks Tigerstrat for that really great find! :cool: Amazing that music exists from DP10 from both shows so it’s super easy to compare! It got me thinking (just like cme64) to put together a little sound bite, comparing the two nights and also comparing the 30th to the Madison show:

http://soundcloud.com/james-tuer/wolf-p ... omparisons

Here’s how I put it together – 12/30/77 intro to Eyes (black pups), followed by 2/3/78 into to Eyes (SDS-1’s) – This is about the only thing we can confirm.

2/2/78 Jerry’s Bertha solo (black pups), followed by 12/29/77 Jerry’s Bertha solo (black pups), (black pups), followed by 9/3/77 Jerry’s Bertha solo (black pups), (Travis Bean single coils), followed by 11/11/73 Jerry’s Bertha solo (Alembic hand wound pups) - its all there back to back to easily compare.

I’d be interested to hear folks take on this taste test (if you will!). I threw in Englishtown because I noticed 12/29/77 had as much in common with the mid 77 tone as it did the Early 78 tone – sort of a tweener tone. I threw in 73 just to show how much contrast was created by the Alembic electronics versus the post Alembic setup, after all Jerry did say in that Oct 77 interview: GT:"Do you have your guitars worked on at Alembic?" JG:"No. Don't trust 'em.

To my ears 11/30/77 and 2/3/77 is the tone. Really similar and I think Jerry’s amp and speakers were being pushed a lot harder on 2/3/77 making for a one off sort of almost overdriven clean tone with tones of sparkle. I just love that tone! :smile:

So, I think a set of SDS-1's or something similar (jury rigged single coils from Super II's and Dual Sounds) is the route to take. I may even give the FS-1's a chance!


 #132788  by Smolder
 Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:56 am
Very cool thread... thanks for all the great info from everyone.

I'll vary from the norm a bit and say while I love that 77 tone, I'm a huge fan of '69-71 that sort of culminated (at least in my mind) with the scull and roses album. That may be in part because I've always been a Gibson player. I'm experimenting with an SG3 with low wind lollars (very T-top like) and an Dual sound in the middle... with a coil switch (no obel, and waldo's buffer is on the pedal board).
 #132798  by waldo041
 Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:55 am
zambiland wrote:I don't know if this helps the conversation any, but when I visited Lane Poor about 12 years ago, he told me about his time at Alembic ca. 71-74 and part of his job was rewinding and remagnetizing strat pickups for Jerry. I'm pretty sure he did it for Wolf on a regular basis. My thought was that he used Fender pickups but they were modified, rewound and probably had different magnets at different times.

I was first told by Frank Fuller and confirmed by Rick Turner that Alembic did not wind Jerry's pickups. if they appeared to be Fender then they were probably Fender. The only scenario where this may have happen was in the case of a broken pickup, but this would have been an uncommon circumstance. Also, Irwin stated to a friend that they did remagnetize Jerry's pickup upon his request not because they needed them.

also, SDS-1's in 77-78 only came in Crème, it was not until later that Dimarzio offered them up with White or Black covers.

Lastly, Alligator was the testing jig for what Jerry wanted out of a guitar from a playing standpoint, Wolf was delivered initially with those features and changed slightly during the refinish process. Those aspects of his guitar stayed with every one he played live from Wolf all the way through the Cripes. During this period he is definitely working the electronics and the whole package culminates with the introduction of Tiger with the Cutler effects rack. Tiger gets all he had worked up to from a physical and electrical point of view. Aside from some rare instances, like the move to Super 2's, the move to e-120's from k-120's or the move to a completely parallel midi rig, this rig is what he used for the rest of his life. When a new guitar was introduced it was retrofitted to insert right into it. So it stands to reason that he was definitely trying new pickups out, and as we now see, from night to night. Thanks for the research James!

 #132809  by James-T
 Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:07 pm
Waldo wrote:
also, SDS-1's in 77-78 only came in Crème, it was not until later that Dimarzio offered them up with White or Black covers.
I phoned Dimarzio and asked to speak to someone who could help identify a vintage Dimarzio. They put me through to Steve, a guy who was embarrassed to say he had been with the company just about the whole time and he stated that this is simply not true. He said "Larry was a guy trying to make a living and they sold the SDS-1's in any color you wanted." Same goes with the Super II's or Dual Sound's or Super Distortions. This is coming from an employee who worked there in 1977 and still works there today.

He also gave some advice on buying a used pick-ups based on color alone. Its common that guys/gals switch covers along the way, particularly if you buy from a second or third owner. I scored a circa 65 Gibson PAF which came out of a Japanese LP, had a newer gold cover but had the remnants of the PAF sticker on the back. I still had my doubts until I had my luthier install it into my LP DC. He had no issue verifying its age.

I asked Steve about the comparison of an SDS-1 to a FS-1. The SDS-1 is louder, warmer and considerable nosier than the FS-1. With that said the FS-1 is still a step up from the standard strat pick-up of the time (hence the name Fat Strat). He also reiterated that the SDS-1 is a tall pickup (because of the ceramic magnet) and the graphic comparison I showed earlier in this thread show with the SDS-1 in the Wolf and the SDS-1 in the Tiger illustrated below it, showing what appears to be a taller than average pickup in both guitars. Buyer be ware. I've been reading about this and the SDS-1 won't fit in every guitar - of course you can simply do what any RUKind-er would do, modify the guitar! :lol:

I also asked Steve about the SDS-1 spec. It hasn't changed at all since it was introduced. The only thing that's changed is the construction method. They are built better today than they were in the past. He told me that with the SDS-1's ceramic magnets there is no loss over time and need to recharge them like you would with an alnico magnet. An off the shelf SDS-1 today will sound just like a vintage 78 SDS-1. There is no need to buy vintage just to sound period correct! :-)

Getting back to the real issue of the thread - its not important to simply copy a particular setup to get a particular sound. Use your ears and not your eyes and I think your playing, your rig (whether analog or digital) and your guitar's controls are going to get your there just as easily as buying a Wolf Clone and speculating on what pick-ups Jerry was using.



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