Saturday, October 10, 2009

Travis Bean Guitars And Basses

Travis Bean
Travis Bean, Mark McElwee and Gary Kramer created Travis Bean Guitars in 1974 as the brand name of a unique line of electric guitars and basses. 

Travis Bean factory
This was during a period when a lot of Asian copies of well known USA brands were being dumped on the market.

American guitar manufacturers were attempting to find themselves and were looking at new designs.

Fender, Gibson and others were trying new things, but most of the instruments never caught on.

Bean, McElwee and Kramer designed a guitar using a solid piece of koa wood and a machined aluminum neck. The base of the neck fit under the body and the strings were slotted the the bases distal end. The head stock was part of the milling process and was designed in the shape of a hollowed out “T” with the tuners on the perimeters.

The Travis Bean guitars came with alnico humbucking pickups or alnico single coil pickups. Due to the metal and the dense wood, these were heavy guitars. However the “nearly” through-the-body aluminum neck gave these guitars great sustain and clarity.

The metal necks were topped with rosewood fretboards that were glued in place. A nearby guitar store had a few Travis Bean guitars in stock. I spent some time playing a Travis Bean TB1000S model. It was a well made instrument. It looked and played as great as it sounded.

Jerry Garcia TB1000S
The Travis Bean Guitar Company only made a handful of models. These include the TB1000S, the TB1000A, the TB500 (a budget model), the TB2000, which was a bass guitar, the TB3000, which was a wedge guitar and the TB4000, which was a wedge bass.

During the existence of Travis Bean Guitars, which encompassed 1974 to 1979 only 3629 instruments were produced.

Gary Kramer

Gary Kramer eventually left the partner ship and set out on his own to produce aluminum neck Kramer guitars and basses.

In my opinion, Travis Bean Guitars were top of the line instruments.

And if you have a few extra buck, Travis Beans are back!   


Anonymous said...


Sorry to argue with your post, but Travis Bean is very much real.. and not just a 'brand name' as you are suggesting.

You can contact me at if you'd to discuss further.


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