Jerry Garcia is revered almost as much for his guitar tinkering as his guitar talent. Now the immense custom guitar rig he used throughout his 1992-1995 dates with The Grateful Dead is up for auction.
Expected to fetch a final price of between $500,000 to $750,000 the rig has several remarkable features. Fortunately, the auction site Analogr has shared some decent pictures and we can get a closer look at the setup.
“Jerry's most sophisticated guitar setup was the culmination of decades of experimentation with state of the art gear and fine tuning,” says Analogr’s listing.
“Needing the flexibility of working with a speaker-less stage setup with the Dead, and his more traditional three- and four-speaker cabinets with the Garcia band, this rig could perform in both contexts and meet Jerry's lofty sonic requirements.”
Central to the build is a Groove Tubes Trio preamp [the brown unit], which is an interesting model from the firm’s pre-Fender era.
The triple channel tube amp is designed to replicate the cleans of a classic black panel Fender amp, while the ‘Mean’ channel covers cranked Tweed tones to Marshall’s 2203 circuit and ‘Scream’ brings it into shred-friendly modded-Marshall territory.
Moving down, you can see Garcia’s unique vertical rack-mounted pedalboard.
Admittedly, with prices of $400+ for each, that vintage script logo MXR Phase 100 and Mu-Tron III wah (said to date back to 1976) are not exactly cheap on the used market.
However, elsewhere it’s inspiring to see how much off-the-shelf gear is included here, with Garcia otherwise favoring a bevy of Boss pedals, including the OD-1 and OD-2 (each paired with a GE-7 EQ) and an OC-2 octave pedal.
The most notable element of the rig, though, is the McIntosh MC-2300 power amp, which was used by Garcia’s bandmate Bob Weir in the Grateful Dead’s iconic 1974 Wall of Sound setup – and favored by Garcia as far back as ’73.
McIntosh is a name usually associated with high-end hifi products, but the fastidious Garcia insisted on using them for the ’Dead’s power amp requirements.
The name will also have piqued the interest of the auctioneers as Garcia’s famous Budman McIntosh 2300 sold at auction for $378,000 in 2021 – despite carrying a guide price of just $5,000 – $7,000.
Will the trick be repeated? Well, we’ll have to wait until the auction closes to find out, but at the time of writing, it’s already fetched bids of $75,000.
For more information and to take part in the bidding on Jerry Garcia’s final tour rig, head to Analogr.
It’s been a busy news day when it comes to the Grateful Dead’s guitarists, as Bob Weir recently teamed up with Jason Isbell to cover Johnny B. Goode at Michael J. Fox’s recent fundraising event.