Jerry Garcia's Travis Bean TB500 Guitar to Be Auctioned in December

On December 6 and 7, Julien’s Auctions will host a two-day auction, Icons & Idols: Rock n’ Roll. Its highlight will be Jerry Garcia’s Custom Travis Bean TB500 electric guitar.

Many fans argue this guitar was played during the pinnacle of Garcia’s most musically creative period with the Grateful Dead.

The guitar, designed and built by Travis Bean Inc., was played by Garcia on stage and in sessions. It features an aluminum neck (a design pioneered by Bean), three single-coil pickups and Garcia's onboard effects loop. This guitar was the first to employ the onboard effects loop, which was later incorporated into all of Garcia's guitars.

The guitar was debuted at the Grateful Dead show on December 31, 1976, at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California. Garcia played this TB500 at more than 90 shows in the late '70s, including the Grateful Dead's three-night stint at the Winterland Ballroom in 1977, approximately 35 Dead shows, a benefit for Greenpeace and with the Jerry Garcia Band. During this time, the Dead recorded Terrapin Station with Garcia playing this guitar.

It is accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Steve Parish, Garcia's guitar tech and the Grateful Dead's equipment manager from 1969 to 1995, who says this guitar was the third-most-played by Garcia — behind "Tiger" and "Wolf." A sticker affixed to the body reads "Ass, Grass or Gas/Nobody Rides Free," which was placed over an earlier sticker that read "The Enemy is Listening."

The guitar was exhibited at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum during The Grateful Dead: What a Long Strange Trip exhibit from April 12, 2012, to March 24, 2013. It is estimated to sell for $150,000 to $200,000 and believed to represent the last time a Garcia guitar of this significance will come up for sale.

The show will feature other rock artifacts.

In 1964 the Selmer Company, the British distributor of Hofner guitars, commissioned Hofner to design a special guitar for the new face of their violin bass, Paul McCartney. The custom guitar with gold plated pickups was to be given to McCartney as part of an arrangement to appear on the bass hang tags. How it traveled from Selmer to where it is today is a mystery. Only a few of its stops along the way are known and eventually it was identified by a music shop for its significance. It is one of only three Hofner basses made specifically for McCartney.

Psychedelic art will also celebrate the Grateful Dead and Garcia at the auction. The leading designers of psychedelic poster art of the 1960s, Rick Griffin, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Dennis Larkins and Gary Grimshaw are represented in an collection of artwork including many lots produced for the Grateful Dead. The collection includes the Grateful Dead Jester painting used on the cover of The Grateful Dead Songbook (1973), along with sketchbooks, logo lettering, concept drawings, finished artwork, logo lettering, T-shirt, publicity and poster designs also for the legendary rock band fronted by Garcia.

There isn’t any other musical icon associated with the world of early rock as widely as Jimi Hendrix. The iconic images of Hendrix on stage in his trademark embroidered vest are as vivid today as they were in the 1960s. The icon’s own stage-worn embroidered vest will be sold at Icons & Idols: Rock n’ Roll. Other highlights will include a Jimi Hendrix Experience signed cut sheet, Hendrix photographs taken by Ed Thrasher and Hendrix’s handwritten working lyrics for “Local Commotion,” said to have appeared on the unreleased “Black Gold” suite.

Other lyrics being offered will include Bob Dylan’s handwritten “Tambourine Man” lyric, Jim Morrison’s handwritten lyrics for “L’America,” George Harrison’s handwritten lyrics for “Isn’t It A Pity,” and other handwritten lyrics from Bon Scott, LL Cool J, Bruce Springsteen and annotated lyrics from Stevie Nicks.

Other equipment highlights include a Roland G-707 synthesizer guitar owned by Jimmy Page, a Kramer Ferrington guitar owned by Mick Jagger and later gifted to his brother Chris Jagger, a 1956 Fender Stratocaster and a 1873 Martin D-18 acoustic guitar owned by Creedence Clearwater’s Tom Fogerty, a 1954 Fender Telecaster played and signed by Keith Richards, a 1956 Guild Thunderbird electric guitar used by John Doe on his solo projects, a Jimmie Vaughan stage-played Fender Stratocaster and two guitars owned by Johnny Cash and one by his wife June Carter Cash.

Elvis Presley’s one pair of blue suede shoes from Memphis Mafia member Joe Esposito, his 1970s Cadillac Fleetwood 75 limousine outfitted with a plaque that reads “Custom made for Elvis Presley 70th Anniversary Edition,” the coat he wore on the album Elvis is Back with the original Paramount Pictures label, a ukulele gifted by Presley to Hank Garland, his personal gold “partner cross” commissioned by Presley in which he made the other for Priscilla and a 1977 Presley concert footage sold with copyright are among the Presley highlights.

Other highlights include a Fender Stratocaster painted and signed Ronnie Wood, a knit scarf of Ramones with “Hey Ho Let’s Go” framed, an original digital artwork representation of “Maggie May” created by Soundwaves Studio signed by Rod Stewart, a terracotta ram sculpture used in the Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night, (Proscenium, 1964), a group of approximately 83 backstage passes and 49 ticket stubs from Bruce Springsteen’s European leg of The River Tour in 1981, a Marshall 4 x 12 speaker cabinet used by the Who circa 1980, a Slash signed handwritten set list attributed to the 1988 Guns N’ Roses performance at Giants Stadium, a Ronnie Montrose 1943 Gibson J45 Acoustic guitar in Sunburst, a Cordoba Ukulele signed on the body “Eddie Vedder,” a white Gretsch guitar signed on the gold-toned pickguard “Neil Young,” a pair of blue denim jeans owned by Andy Warhol and A.B.C. Rich Bich Double Neck 4/8 string guitar used by Harry Shearer who plays Derek Smalls, bassist for the heavy metal band Spinal Tap.

Public Exhibition:
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. December 2 to December 5

Auction Dates and Hours
Friday December 6th, 2013
Session I: 2:00 pm PDT
Saturday, December 7th, 2013
Session II: 10:00 am PDT
Session III: 2:00 pm PDT

Registering To Bid
Registration is required to bid in this auction and can be done in person at the exhibition/auction or online before the sale at the registration page. You can bid by phone, proxy, in person or online at You also can call 310-836-1818.

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