Back in 2006 I had the great pleasure of making the acquaintance of Steve Parish, Steve was the equipment manager for Jerry Garcia & The Grateful Dead, ultimately he became Jerry’s business manager, Steve has a lifetime of stories to tell.
I traveled to San Francisco & then headed North on the 101, over the Golden Gate & drove for what seemed like an eternity, eventually I found myself face to face with one of the most down to earth, peaceful & entertaining guys that I have ever met, I am very pleased to call him a friend to this day.
Steve had been left with a few artifacts from the glory days of the Dead, there was a Travis Bean TB500 electric Guitar SN 12, there was also a Travis Bean TB500 SN 11 (the TB series serial number allocation commenced at #10 making these two the 2nd & 3rd examples to be built by Travis)
#11 was quite unique inasmuch as Jerry had personally fitted a pickup to trigger his newly acquired System 300 Guitar Synth. I left that day having bought both TB500s, the Synth, Jerry’s Psychedelic Sho-Bud steel guitar amp (Psychedelic to match the wall of sound), Jerry’s top Hat & the last tour jacket that he ever wore complete with an incomplete pack of cigarettes.
Fast forward to 2011, TB500 #11 made a trip to the UK, London to be precise, never to return, that wasn’t the intention at the time, it is just how things turned out, the guitar ended up at auction with Bonhams
This is the moment in time when TB500 #11 & the System 360 guitar synth parted company having been together as a working unit since 1976, the new owner of the guitar is probably not aware of this association, he or she could well be wondering why the guitar has an additional pickup that doesn’t appear to do anything?
It would be a result if we could find the buyer of TB500 #11 to see whether they had any interest in acquiring the System 360 & putting Jerry Garcia’s handywork back together.
A few pictures of the guitar – Sorry about the low quality, it’s all we’ve got.