Magazine article Guitar Player

SETUPS OF THE STARS Jerry Garcia

Magazine article Guitar Player

SETUPS OF THE STARS Jerry Garcia

Article excerpt

Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia's guitars, built by luthier Doug Irwin, are as much one-of-a-kind works of art as they are musical instruments. I worked on Garcia's guitars for years, and I still get questions about them.

This guitar is called "Tiger" because of the beautiful inlay on the battery/preamp compartment cover. The body is made up of many layers of wood including what appears to be a Cocabola top and back with a maple center section (which may be hollowed out in parts). Sandwiched in between are thin layers of paduk, purpleheart, and brass. The maple neck has a hardwood section (possibly paduk) inlayed in the back and the ebony fretboard has brass binding.

Garcia played with high action--7/64" at the 12th fret, with .030" relief in the neck. At the nut, the strings a were also quite high at about .030" above the 1st fret. The ebony fingerboard has a 16" radius and sports. 105" x .45" frets. The neck and middle pickups are 10/64" from the strings, and the bridge pickup sits 14/64" away. (The bridge was made by Schaller for Gibson, and the tailpiece was custom made for the guitar.) The brass nut is scalloped between the strings, and the spacing--as specified by Garcia--is equal between the edges of the strings (as opposed to the centers of the strings being equidistant, which is more common). Garcia used Vinci strings, gauged .010-.046. but from time to time used an .011 on the high E and a .047 on the low E.

The aspect of Tiger I am most acquainted with is its electronics. The guitar features a single-coil in the neck position, as opposed to the humbuckers you see on his other instruments. …

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