An Iconic Jerry Garcia Guitar to Get a Reproduction

Fender is set to reproduce Garcia’s heavily modified ‘Alligator’ guitar

Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia had quite a set of iconic guitars, the reproductions of which were always on the top of the wish lists of the band’s and Garcia’s fans. Some of the most wanted were custom instruments like ‘Wolf’ or ‘Rosebud’

Yet, as Far Out Magazine reports, another instrument almost always tops that list. It is Garcia’s heavily modified natural wood finish 1955 (or 1957, depending on sources) Fender Stratocaster, better known as ‘Alligator’ thanks to its prominent animal sticker.

This guitar was gifted to Garcia by Graham Nash who gave the Strat as a thank you for playing on Songs for Beginners. Garcia continued using the guitar as his primary axe until 1973 when ‘Wolf’ became his new number one.

Still, ‘Aligator’ has a formidable reputation among Deadheads: if your favorite songs from the Dead include “Ramble On Rose,” “Tennessee Jed,” “Mr. Charlie,” or “Jack Straw,” you likely first heard them played through the unique tones of ‘Alligator’. The axe wasn’t just any old Stratocaster either: the guitar saw extensive modifications through the luthiers and electronics team that became better known as Alembic Inc.

To celebrate Garcia’s 80th birthday, Fender’s custom shop has announced a limited reproduction run of the ‘Alligator’ guitar based on the original design as Garcia last used it. Helmed by master builder Austin MacNutt, the ‘Alligator’ reproduction will be limited to just 100 models built to order.

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