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Old December 9th, 2009, 09:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Jerry Garcia's Alligator/Graham Nash Strat

Anyone know anything about Jerry's alligator guitar or what might have happened to it? I can't seem to find much about it on the net. Theres only a few pictures of it floating around and no one seems to know where it went. He used it from about 1971 to 1973 during what is thought to be the bands most experimental period. If you have "Europe 72" this is the guitar your hearing. Does anyone know what kinda bridge that is?
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Old December 9th, 2009, 10:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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im not sure about that bridge, but i looked into this once years ago, and could find no pictures of him using that guitar with that bridge


i suspect it was a custom build, but when it was done, why and what happened the guitar, i have no idea
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Old December 9th, 2009, 10:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It was recently discussed on this thread: Garcia's Strat

You might find some useful info there.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 10:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Just found this page with a dam good replica of it. Same bridge and everything but without the piece of wood underneath it. I wonder if Jerry's was a hardtail or if it that wood panel was covering up the hole from the old bridge and bridge block. here are some pics i found of him playing with the wierd bridge. could it be an old Badass bridge?
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Old December 9th, 2009, 01:22 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The bridge itself appears to be one just like one i purchased from Starz Guitars in San Francisco in 1980 and installed it on my Ibanez Les Paul gold top: solid brass with brass saddles. I will post pics tomorrow. As for the string holding hardware...no clue
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Old December 10th, 2009, 11:57 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Jerry's bridge on Alligator Strat

Here is a pic of a bridge I purchased from Starz guitars in San Francisco in 1980 identical to Jerry's it appears. They built custom guitars back in the day.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 03:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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heres that replica i was talking about The Alligator - 2008 - a set on Flickr
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Old December 10th, 2009, 03:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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There was recently a lengthy discussion on The Gear Page about this guitar. Try the section on small luthiers.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 03:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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the difference on the replica is the saddles have allen set screws on either side of each string. Jerry's original does not and was made at Starz IMHO. BTW Starz is long since gone
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Old December 10th, 2009, 07:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i emailed david lemieux, the guy who runs the dead's tape vault, and according to him the guitar is definitely still in existence but he's unsure exactly who has it at the moment. All he knew was that its in the possession of either a family member or friend of the band.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 08:10 PM   #11 (permalink)
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i emailed david lemieux, the guy who runs the dead's tape vault, and according to him the guitar is definitely still in existence but he's unsure exactly who has it at the moment. All he knew was that its in the possession of either a family member or friend of the band.
Would love to plug that guitar into my Super Reverb. living in SF since 1979 i have some off topic Garcia connections that i should post on Sidewinders but I will say this I almost ran Jerry over when he was riding his bike in Fairfax CA.
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 03:41 PM   #12 (permalink)
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had never seen his before

Recently found this page Strat Central - Pre-CBS Sixties and on it I found this picture of George Fullertons custom strat. Looks familiar don't it? Maybe Jerry or his tech got the idea from George? Then again maybe he got the idea from Jerry. The only thing different about George's is that it re-arranges the knobs to be at a different angle
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 05:31 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I like this

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Old December 22nd, 2009, 05:34 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 06:15 PM   #15 (permalink)
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The Strat in question is a '58 hardtail, most notably used on the album Europe '72.
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 07:12 PM   #16 (permalink)
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do you guys like the looks of that strat?
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 10:11 PM   #17 (permalink)
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do you guys like the looks of that strat?
Not me....but I'm sure it holds some provenence for Dead fans
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Old December 28th, 2009, 12:27 PM   #18 (permalink)
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the only thing that makes me think its not a hardtail is the piece of wood under the bridge that looks like its there to cover up the hole that was used for the tremolo. i could be wrong though. i wish fender still had the hardtail option for strats. i think the robert cray guitar is the only one you can get stock with a hardtail bridge. i know the tom delonge model that was available a while ago had one too.
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Old December 29th, 2009, 08:04 AM   #19 (permalink)
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The Strat in question is a '58 hardtail, most notably used on the album Europe '72.

I have done extensive research on this.. I am in the process of building a nuts on aged you cant tell the difference copy of alligator right now. I have gotten to Cutler, Wickersham, and Turner. They are sketchy about a few ideas.. They in consensus said that this was just a project and that they were done with it. Why would anyone give a *&^% LOL . The only questions left open are weather the FET buffer made it into the guitar at some point. I have my theories so I am building mine with a puch pull pot to put it in or to take it out. Here are the particulars:

1) 57 neck
2) 62-63 body ash Trem Model! Turner is adamant it is really vibrato and he is right .. LOL The trem cavity was filled with wood and epoxy
3) Bridge was made by Turner at alembic and it is the first Alembic style bridge.. Yes stars made an exact version of this too but sans the Brass block that is press fit into the body of the filled strat.
4) There is a thin piece of tone wood. Looks to be a mahogany? that is sandwiched between the bridge and the brass block. It runs down towards the lower bout of the guitar and has the custom alembic made bras stop tail on it.

*note 3 &4 are for the final version of Alligator, late 72 through parts of 73. Earlier there was an abr-1 Gibson tunomatic bridge on the brass block with a maestro stop tail

5) the configuration of the bridge sandwich places the action very high. The neck angle was shimmed by at least 1 degree to adjust for this.
6) jumbo frets
7) brass nut scalloped
custom brass bar string tree over E-G
9) brass round tele sting tree for B-E
10) Custom brass control plate
11) Amembic , Military black knobs
12) clarostat or AB mil sealed pots
13) 50's strat PU's with bakelite covers
14) schallers
15) Stickers changed over the years---

I will post some pics later that highlight some of this..

I have all the parts necessary to build this and am aging brass, body and neck now...

A :-)
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Old December 29th, 2009, 08:10 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Very cool aegert, welcome.
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