Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #159990  by mgbills
 Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:21 pm
Good Afternoon,
After considerable agonizing I've decided to part with my TB500 Prototype - Serial Number 00.

This is the story as it was relayed to me when I purchased this guitar. Ten TB500's (3 pickup Jerry type) were manufactured by EGC, and went up for sale a couple of years back. Kevin at EGC relayed that these were authorized by Rita Bean & all aspects were scrutinized by Mark McElwee, the luthier in the original TB partnership. Some prominent Jerry players have the original 10. Jeff Mattson, Stu Allen & Mik Bondy to name a few. This guitar was the prototype. Kevin Burkett originally thought he'd keep this guitar for himself. In his own words "it is identical in every way to the 10."

Somewhere on the web there is a list of original TB owners. There were a sack of TB500's made. I searched that list extensively and could find no historic examples of 3 pickup Travis Beans, other than those owned by Jerry. If that is true (and of course I could be wrong) then there are 14 total guitars in this configuration. Two of which most of us could never afford. The owners of the #10 other guitars paid considerably more than the asking price for this instrument.

This is a beautiful instrument. I have a light touch. There are no signs of fret wear, and honestly I couldn't find a pick scratch. I scored this sweety in December of 2015. Earlier this year I had Brian at IO rout the battery box, customize the shiny cover, and modify the electronics. The TB pickups are original & to spec with those in Jerry's original guitars. Brian added a Waldo Buffer, shielding, and a special bypass (push/pull on the neck/bridge tone knob) which allows the signal to pass if a battery should die. It comes is a bomb proof SKB ATA case with keys and the like. I added the silver Lafayette style control knobs, and have the original black type if desired.

The tone is utterly 1977 to my ear. The aluminum neck & pickup channel add a unique resonance, that when paired with period correct amplification is dead on.

Here are some photos:

Asking price is $9500. First post is here. Not yet on Reverb, CL or Ebay. Additional photos available upon request. Traveling on business tomorrow 1/29, but I'll try to answer queries in the order received. May be evening PST
Last edited by mgbills on Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
jgraum liked this
 #159991  by mgbills
 Sun Jan 28, 2018 1:30 pm
Working on images.
 #159994  by Searing75
 Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:27 pm
Wow! I would love that guitar! But, alas, I am a lowly mental health therapist, and make next to nothing. GLWS!
Jon S. liked this
 #159995  by waldo041
 Sun Jan 28, 2018 4:31 pm
we need a Don't Like button!

 #159996  by mgbills
 Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:35 pm
Mr. Wald. I'm assuming you "Don't Like" because I spent years (literally) attempting to find one. :-)

It's a very tough choice. When I saw Tapestry (Mik Bondy, Garcia Project) cranking his TB on the stage in Eugene, it really made me think..."This guitar should be played to people who love that era."

I'm a guy who loves to play guitar. But I live in a very small community on the edge of the world. My wife totally supports my OCD, because she's a DH too. My cats really don't have an emotional response unless I crank it up. Then it becomes visceral, and they flee in terror & self defense.

There are not many opportunities for me to play out. I'm not throwing in the towel. But my heart tells me this is a rare & different thing, and should be enjoyed by others. There's some really talented guys out there spreading the moki to those who were there, and lots of people who weren't.

That is my current thoughts. If it doesn't wasn't meant to be. If it ends up in some magic hands, then I'll smile because it lived with me for a while.
 #159997  by mgbills
 Sun Jan 28, 2018 5:49 pm
BTW...that's noble work Searing! It takes a good-hearted sort to do that.
 #160034  by mgbills
 Tue Jan 30, 2018 8:14 pm
Leo at Scarlet Fire Guitars. He has very cool parts like this and he's a great resource.