Dead guitarists and their equipment


Steve, would love to get your perspective on other “Garcia style” guitarists and their approach and tone. The good news is that they, like Dead fans, are like snowflakes. No two are the same.

Some are faithful to the style and gear. Others use Teles, Strats, custom builds, and PRS. Wanted to get your thoughts on how much the gear is important to that sound. And, what do you think of Mayer’s approach, PRS gear, and tone?


Pete, Georgia

4 Thoughts on Dead guitarists and their equipment
    3 Jun 2021

    Tricky question!
    The gear obviously has something to do with it because, well, there it is, a 12″ JBL at ear level. That’s a sound. .
    So is the neck-thru guitar, the buffer, light strings, Fender amp, etc.
    But to be perfectly honest I’m pretty sure Jerry just wanted stuff to work consistently and “the sound” was something he’d either take care of himself or didn’t need his attention at all.

    The entire issue of “electric guitar sound” is pretty much a modern, after the fact, internet thing.
    “Electric Guitar” was already a sound, that’s why people played ’em, and the main objective was to make noise loud and rude enough to piss off the squares.

    “A sound” was a C chord.

    The guitar was a generator of raw musical energy, the particulars of the timbre were irrelevant.

    So, if you accept the premise (or acknowledge critical response to Dylan at Newport Folk) there’s no timbre specificity involved.
    “Tone” was volume, sustain meant shaking the string as hard as possible, etc.
    Different generation.

    Regarding the legion vast of Grateful Dead style guitarists, they run the gamut from “close but no cigar” to merely cosmetic.
    The flip side being any of them who are any good are good because they’re bringing their own thing to the book.
    Jerry was just too original, too deep, and too true to himself to be copied, so we’ve all glommed on to the iconic imagery of the production and done our best with the rest.

    I like John Mayer, his approach might be better informed on a psychedelic level, but who am I to say?
    The rest of his trip is obviously world class.

      3 Jun 2021

      thanks so much for your insight. And, I agree, I think his “collaborative telepathy” would improve with some psychedelic enhancements. Even if they tried it in rehearsal.

      “sure don’t know what I’m goin for, but I’m gonna go for it for sure”

        4 Jun 2021

        I’m under the impression some higher-up forbade dosing the lad under any circumstances.
        Just a rumor. .

        Back in the day Rex wouldn’t let you onstage if you didn’t take it right there, and Parrish would throw you out if you weren’t listening and paying attention to the band.
        More rumors. .

        Anyway, a rumored 180 on enforcement of psychedelic use.

        : )

          Pete Menosky
          7 Jun 2021

          Yes…so I’ve heard about Rex and the gang. And you sure can tell, esp in ’72. 😉
          Maybe the higher ups at Warner Brothers (the legacy of Joe Smith?) are forbidding the sacrament (?)

          Leave it up to Oteil….

          #dontdrinkwhatyoudidntpouryourself #nevertrustaprankster

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