Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

The Dire Wolf Collects His Bids

As I discussed with Jim Irsay, Wolf is going up for auction; the guitar was the first of Garcia’s custom jobs from Doug Irwin (Peanut doesn’t count). Garcia started using it in May of ’73, sent it back for a while in favor of the two white Travis Bean aluminum-neck guitars, and then played it again from Fall Tour of ’77 until Tiger’s debut on 8/4/79. Garcia stuck a MIDI unit on it in the late 80’s, and it made sporadic appearances until he got another ridiculously complicated, staggeringly expensive guitar that had the MIDI bullshit all wired in.

This is what Wolf looks like:


Stop that.

Those are some funky Jews.

Yes. Stop fucking around and show a real picture of Wolf.

Aw.

So creepy.

WHAT?

You know what you did.

May I continue?

Please.

And now you can buy it! Well, you can’t. Statistically speaking, you can’t. I am guessing that many of you do not have three million available to purchase dead people’s belongings; if you do, though, and haven’t paid a visit to Donate Button, then shame on you.

The auction house handling the sale is called Guernsey’s, which was named after its founder, Guernica Fontaine. (Guernica was, quite rightly, unhappy with her given name and went by the diminutive.) They have a very fancy website, which you would expect from a fancy place. You can’t be a shmancy auction house with a site hosted by blogspot.

If you don’t have three million American dollars (3.94 CAD), then you’ll have to wait for one of Garcia’s lesser-known guitars to come up for sale. A quick rundown of Garcia’s instruments, and where they are now:

Guild Starfire Big, cheap, terrible thing. Also a hollowbody, so lacked the requisite mass Garcia demanded from a guitar. Played on the first album, but was burned for warmth after the van broke down somewhere outside of Mendocino.

Buncha Les Pauls The black Les Paul that Garcia used for the ’69 Fillmore West shows and Live/Dead was traded to a wandering peddler for magic beans. At the time of his passing, Garcia had almost forgiven Bobby for it. The others are owned by Jim Irsay, except the one that Jim Irsay traded for magic beans.

Alligator The yellow ’57 Strat that you remember Garcia playing at Veneta, even though he played a sunburst Strat at Veneta. Alligator is currently owned by the Garcia Estate, which sounds like a maker of cheap wine. “Garcia Estates: It’ll Get You Sloppy.”

Peanut This proto-Wolf from Alembic was only played at a handful of shows. It is now owned by Jim Irsay, who has played it while naked.

Thumper the Fuckbunny Garcia refused to take delivery of this guitar until Doug Irwin renamed it and changed the decal.

Wolf After Thumper the Fuckbunny was rechristened Wolf, Garcia played it just like I said he did in the first paragraph. Don’t make me repeat myself; you know how much I hate writing paragraphs.

Tiger Also currently owned by Jim Irsay, Tiger was played by Garcia for almost all of the ’80’s, and now gets marched around the country to be fondled by relief pitchers and Woody Hayes.

Harp This was a harp. Garcia was like, “Why did you bring me a harp, man?” And Doug Irwin was like, “I thought you’d like it.” And Garcia was like, “It’s a harp, man.” And Doug Irwin was like, “Yeah, and you owe me twelve grand for it,” and then he and Garcia didn’t talk for a couple of years. Currently owned by Jim Irsay, who uses it to slice provolone cheese.

Top Hat, Rosebud, Lightning Bolt Same bullshit as Tiger, but heavier. Rosebud had a car battery in it. Top Hat and Rosebud are currently owned by Jim Irsay; Lightning Bolt is owned by a guy who plays pinochle with Jim Irsay, and I think you can figure out what happened there.

4 Comments

  1. No SG Standard love? Where’s that guitar as he played it for most of 1969. As a guitarist, this one seems to be part of the Dire Wolf & Tiger guitars(they are a mix of an SG Standard and that Graham Nash Strat-Alligator). That SG must have been used on Live Dead and a good portion of Aoxomoxoa. He switched to the Strat on Workingman’s Dead(at least the tone goes from what seems to be humbucker equipped guitar to a crystalline Strat tone). Seems like he used the Strat until Europe 72 or so which is about the time the Irwin guitar comes around then his tone changes again.

  2. NoThoughtsOnDead

    February 11, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    You suckered me into searching for “Thumper the Fuckbunny” — in case it was an Anime character or something. I did get a hit for “Thumper and bunny ears” with the search, and I am NOT clicking on it, even though I’m home without adult supervision.

  3. At first glance (on my phone) I thought that pic was Lyndsey Buckingham and John McVie. My bad.

  4. Herodotus the hamster

    February 12, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    The really burnin question about gracias guitars is….according to Neil young’s crystal clear memory in his book wagin , garcias slide guitar part in teach your children from csny déjà vu was played on an ordinary looking guitar lying flat?!
    What guitar could sound like his solo in that song?

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