Jerry Garcia playing Tiger (1987)
|Body||"Hippie Sandwich" of Cocobolo, Maple, Vermillion, Flame Maple, Vermillion, Maple, and Cocobolo, with brass binding and inlay.|
|Neck||Western Maple with Padauk "skunk stripe"|
|Fretboard||Ebony with pearl inlay and brass bindings; 25-1/2" scale|
|Bridge||Brass Schaller tune-o-matic style|
|Pickup(s)||One Dimarzio SDS-1 single coil (neck); two DiMarzio Super II humbuckers (mid and bridge)|
Tiger was Jerry Garcia's main guitar from 1979 to 1989. It was designed and built by Sonoma County luthier Doug Irwin. The instrument was commissioned by Garcia in 1973 following delivery of Wolf, his first major Irwin-built guitar. Upon commissioning the instrument, Garcia enjoined Irwin to "make it the way he thought was best, and don't hold back."
Throughout the design and construction process, it was provisionally designated "the Garcia". The final name came from the tiger inlaid on the preamp cover located on the guitar's top, just behind the tailpiece. The body features several layers of wood laminated together face-to-face in a configuration referred to as a "hippie sandwich" by employees of Alembic Inc., where Irwin worked for a brief period in the early 1970s. The combination of several heavy varieties of wood, plus solid brass binding and hardware resulted in an unusually heavy instrument, weighing 13 1⁄2 pounds (6.1 kg). After Garcia began using a new Irwin guitar (known as Rosebud) in December 1989, Tiger became his backup guitar.
During the Grateful Dead's final concert on July 9, 1995, a mechanical problem arose with Rosebud. Tiger was brought out and thus became the last guitar Garcia played in public.
The electronics of Garcia's Irwin guitars are unique, and feature an onboard preamp and effects loop. Much like a Stratocaster, the three pickups are selected with a five-way switch. Signal from the pickups passes through the tone controls, followed by an op-amp based buffer preamp, or unity gain buffer, which is designed to prevent signal loss due to capacitance when long cables are used. From the preamp, the signal could be routed via a mini-toggle on the guitar's face to pass through a Y-cable to Garcia's effects rack, and then back into the guitar. This onboard effects loop serves to send the full output of Tiger's pickups to the effects while allowing the guitar's volume control to vary the final output.
The effects loop could be bypassed by the aforementioned switch, sending the guitar's signal from the preamp to the volume control, and then out to Garcia's preamped (and heavily modified) Fender Twin Reverb into a McIntosh MC2300 solid state power amplifier. Tiger started with DiMarzio Dual Sound humbuckers in the middle and bridge positions with a DiMarzio SDS-1 single coil at the neck. The humbuckers were switched to Dimarzio Super II's in 1982. Each of the humbuckers is equipped with a coil cut switch.
In summation, there is one 5 way pickup selector, one master volume control, one tone control which affects the neck and bridge pickups, and one which affects the middle pickup as well as three mini toggles, two for the coil-cut of the bridge and middle pickups respectively and one for the on-board effects loop on/off.
After Garcia's death, a dispute arose between Irwin and the Grateful Dead regarding ownership of Garcia's Irwin guitars. In his will, Garcia gave possession of these instruments to Irwin; the Grateful Dead challenged whether Garcia had the right to convey title and insisted that the band owned the instruments. The parties reached a settlement where Irwin was awarded Garcia's more famous instruments, and the Grateful Dead took possession of the majority of the guitars.Irwin sold his most enduring guitars, Tiger and Wolf, at auction on May 8, 2002. Tiger was purchased by Jim Irsay for $957,500, including commission. The price for Wolf was $789,500.
In 2017, Wolf was sold for $1.9 million, at an auction to benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center. The buyer was business executive and Deadhead Brian Halligan.
The bass guitar, electric bass, or simply bass, is the lowest-pitched member of the guitar family. It is a plucked string instrument similar in appearance and construction to an electric or an acoustic guitar, but with a longer neck and scale length, and typically four to six strings or courses. Since the mid-1950s, the bass guitar has largely replaced the double bass in popular music.
Jerome John Garcia was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known for being a principal songwriter, the lead guitarist and a vocalist with the rock band the Grateful Dead, of which he was a founding member and which came to prominence during the counterculture of the 1960s. Although he disavowed the role, Garcia was viewed by many as the leader or "spokesman" of the group.
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A DI unit is an electronic device typically used in recording studios and in sound reinforcement systems to connect a high-output impedance, line level, unbalanced output signal to a low-impedance, microphone level, balanced input, usually via an XLR connector and XLR cable. DIs are frequently used to connect an electric guitar or electric bass to a mixing console's microphone input jack. The DI performs level matching, balancing, and either active buffering or passive impedance matching/impedance bridging to minimize unwanted noise, distortion, and ground loops. DI units are typically metal boxes with input and output jacks and, for more expensive units, “ground lift” and attenuator switches.
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A pickup is a transducer that captures or senses mechanical vibrations produced by musical instruments, particularly stringed instruments such as the electric guitar, and converts these to an electrical signal that is amplified using an instrument amplifier to produce musical sounds through a loudspeaker in a speaker enclosure. The signal from a pickup can also be recorded directly.
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