Legendary Guitar Maker Travis Bean Dead at 64

Legendary luthier Travis Bean passed away this past Sunday, July 10, at age 64 after a long battle with cancer.

Bean was known for producing guitars with a distinct sound, thanks to their aluminum necks, which allowed for a much longer sustain that most wooden necks.

Bean's instruments were played by many well-known guitarists, including Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Jerry Garcia, Keith Levene (Public Image Ltd.), Slash, Ron Wood and Keith Richards.

"It didn't hurt that a player I very much admired -- Jerry Garcia -- played them for awhile, either," said Ranaldo in an interview with IFC.com earlier this week.

Bean launched his own business, Travis Bean Guitars, in 1975 after being introduced to the trade by another legend, Gary Kramer.

A documentary about Bean's guitars has long been in the works. The film, titled Sustain, released a trailer in 2009 and began taking donations to help fund the completion of the film.

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Josh Hart

Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.