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Alembic Club » Alembic Basses & Guitars » Archive: 2007 » Archive through July 18, 2007 » Irwin or Alembic? « Previous Next »

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lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2228
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2007 - 6:48 pm:   Edit Post

I just got my copy of the newest issue of "Relix" in the mail. I open it up and see an ad for an auction of Dead memorabilia that belonged to Ramrod. Here's the picture in the ad, described as "The first guitar that Doug Irwin made for Jerry Garcia, circa 1971."

Look familiar?




Bill, tgo
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2229
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Thursday, March 22, 2007 - 9:06 pm:   Edit Post

Here's a link to the auction house. Click on "Full Sales Schedule" (halfway down, on the left), and search for May 8, 2007. There's some interesting stuff in this auction. Enjoy.

Bill, tgo
pace
Advanced Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 309
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 3:18 am:   Edit Post

I got a laugh out of this:

"between the pick-ups, there is a slot that Ram Rod routed out to insert an additional pick up that was never installed. Garcia's slide from the late 1960s is inside the electronics compartment to add weight, per Garcia's instructions, along with a few of Ram Rodís son, Rudsonís, fishing weights. (When the guitar is picked up, these weights can still be heard, moving around inside);

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..
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keith_h
Senior Member
Username: keith_h

Post Number: 723
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 3:19 am:   Edit Post

It's interesting that the guitar has the Alembic logo on the back side.

Keith
pace
Advanced Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 310
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 3:27 am:   Edit Post

Is this the one that has been missing all this time~ "Wolf Jr."?!?!?
adriaan
Senior Member
Username: adriaan

Post Number: 1365
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 3:35 am:   Edit Post

What about Jerry Garcia's Travis Bean estimated at $250,000-300,000 ... because of "the neck made of silver metal", no doubt.

At least the "Irwin" is more conservatively estimated at $100,000-120,000. - Certainly looks like an Alembic transmogrified by Irwin.

And look here - Brent Mydland Kurzweil PC88 mx keyboard - a piece of HISTORY you can afford at $1,000-1,500.

Yes, that last one actually looks like a fair price.
keavin
Senior Member
Username: keavin

Post Number: 1088
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 4:52 am:   Edit Post

jerry's early alembics were serial numbers #3,#13,#25 & #6, Irwin did work on a couple removing the logos which explains the (alembic)logo on the backside of this particular guitar.
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2230
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2007 - 5:48 am:   Edit Post

The "Irwin" logo on the front can't be original. Irwin hadn't developed it yet in '71. Remember, Wolf, built AFTER this guitar, originally had an Alembic logo and something Irwin has described as his "peacock" logo - the Eagle wasn't added until after Wolf fell and was damaged during the Europe '72 tour.

Bill, tgo
waldo041
New
Username: waldo041

Post Number: 1
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Monday, March 26, 2007 - 8:12 pm:   Edit Post

Keavin,

is one of those alembic serial numbers wolf's? if so, which one? if not, do you happen to know wolf's original alembic serial #?

thanks.

peace,
waldo
paulman
Advanced Member
Username: paulman

Post Number: 228
Registered: 2-2005
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 8:04 am:   Edit Post

In the Blair Jackson book Doug states the first guitar he made for Jerry was already complete, and has the Eagle inlay on the headstock. He also says this is why it had the nickname "Eagle"

It was made at the Alembic shop while Doug was working there, so maybe that explains the logo on the back also.
inthelows
Advanced Member
Username: inthelows

Post Number: 368
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 3:35 pm:   Edit Post

Nice bit of detective work guys!
NLP
jsaylor
Intermediate Member
Username: jsaylor

Post Number: 103
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 31, 2007 - 5:10 pm:   Edit Post

Heres what I found:
http://dozin.com/dougirwin/interview.html



DI: Well, it's kind of a long story, I met him at a guitar store one day. I was finishing a guitar which was the first one I had built under my own name

So no, it was Doug, not Alembic.

Anyone know if Irwin still makes guitars? I would like to know how much a Tiger would cost these days to make.
bigideas
Intermediate Member
Username: bigideas

Post Number: 114
Registered: 1-2004
Posted on Saturday, March 31, 2007 - 9:12 pm:   Edit Post

check it!

http://www.alembic.com/club/messages/449/23029.html?1133960605
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2263
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Sunday, April 01, 2007 - 9:59 am:   Edit Post

Here's another interesting excerpt from the Irwin interview on dozin.com:

"SQ: How many guitars had you built before this one? [referring to the first guitar Jerry allegedly bought from Doug - the "Eagle" pictured above - Bill, tgo]

DI: Well I had built, jeez I don't know how many exactly. I started out going to college to be a biochemist. All through high school, that's what I decided I was going to do, I was going to be a biochemist. After two years of college, I decided well I got to think about this a little bit, I don't know about this biochemistry stuff, those guys want to mess with things I don't think should be messed with. So I decided to think about it a little bit and at this point, I was about 19-20 years old, I moved out to San Francisco from Rochester, New York."

Notice how Irwin never answered the question. I suspect the real answer is "I don't remember exactly, but I know it was either zero, none, or nada, but it's so long ago I'm just not sure."

Answering your question Jordan, I don't believe he's making guitars or much of anything else these days. I tried to track him down to see if he could authenticate the "Irwin guitar" I picked up last summer. The best info I could unearth is that he was down and out, strung out, living in a cheap hotel in central California and he would likely charge me $ to talk to me.

Personally, when it comes to the history of Alembic/Eagle/Wolf/Irwin, I take Irwin's claims with a large grain of salt. No one I've asked has ever come up with a reasonable explanation of why, if these guitars are designed and built by Irwin, he would put Alembic logos on them? Ever seen Gibson put Martin logos on their guitars?

Bill, tgo
dannobasso
Senior Member
Username: dannobasso

Post Number: 489
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, April 01, 2007 - 11:33 am:   Edit Post

I believe you cannot deny the construction and design are very much "alembic in nature". Whatever the claims are, he learned a great deal from the Wickershams and others who were at Alembic at the time. Does lend authenticity to why you can't get a logo to replace one on your instrument vis da mail. A very nice instrument whatever the story behind it.
keavin
Senior Member
Username: keavin

Post Number: 1162
Registered: 12-2002
Posted on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 8:17 am:   Edit Post

Just Sold for $155,000....WOW!!!...............NOW I WONDER WHAT WILL STANLEY'S GRAPHITE ALEMBIC WILL FETCH?

(Message edited by keavin on May 09, 2007)
zappahead
Intermediate Member
Username: zappahead

Post Number: 140
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, May 09, 2007 - 6:39 pm:   Edit Post

Irwin had to be working for Alembic at the time he sold his first guitar to Jerry. I think thats why you see the Eagle on the front and the Alembic logo on the back. Its possibly an employee project guitar like other ones we see now and then. In the Grateful Dead Gear book by Blair he writes that the first one (probably this one) was built by Irwin and that the Wolf was also built by Irwin with the body shape being designed by Susan. No one from Jerry on down seems to be able to detail each and every turn on those guitars.
grateful
Advanced Member
Username: grateful

Post Number: 205
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 12:57 am:   Edit Post

Yet Susan states no individual ever built an Alembic instrument. As Alembic are the only instrument manufacturer who do not trade off their "big name" customers, I know who I believe and it ain't Doug!

Mark

(Message edited by grateful on May 10, 2007)
lbpesq
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 2359
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 6:40 am:   Edit Post

In addition, the eagle logo on the auctioned guitar likely isn't original. As I've noted elsewhere in this forum (forgive the redundancy), Wolf, which all agree was built after this guitar, originally had an Alembic logo on the peghead, along with another design that Irwin has referred to as his then "peacock" logo. It was only following the Europe '72 tour, on which Wolf was dropped and cracked the headstock, that Irwin repaired Wolf and at that time removed the Alembic logo and added his "eagle" logo. Thus the eagle doesn't appear to have been Irwin's logo at the time the auctioned guitar was built, so it is much more likely that it, like on Wolf, was added at a later time.

Bill, tgo
jahnahisti
Member
Username: jahnahisti

Post Number: 72
Registered: 9-2005
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007 - 4:27 pm:   Edit Post

Irwembic! Spell check doesn't agree though!
grateful
Advanced Member
Username: grateful

Post Number: 207
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, May 11, 2007 - 1:37 am:   Edit Post

Bill, Jerry was playing the "alligator" Strat in the Europe '72 tour. The Wolf was only finished in May '73! It was dropped in the Europe '74 tour but survived. Jerry was still playing the Wolf in August '75 in the "Blues for Allah" show. It was some time after this it was damaged badly enough to need repairing when Jerry started playing the Travis Beans.

Mark

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