|Jerry Garcia's Wolf Guitar|
On May 31st an event auction was hosted by Brooklyn Bowl for Jerry Garcia’s Wolf guitar. The auction was done by Guernsey's Auctions.
|Garcia playing Wolf|
|Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead|
The recipient of the money is the Southern Poverty Law Center.
|The Wolf Guitar|
The bid was then matched by another anonymous donor, making the total gift an amazing $3.5 million. This is the most money generated from a guitar auction.
|Joe Russo's Almost Dead|
The event also featured drummer Joe Russo leading an all-star cast, which included his own Grateful Dead tribute band known as Almost Dead.
|The Wolf Decal|
Through the years Garcia had several modifications performed on the instrument. The last time Jerry used the guitar was in February of 1993. He passed away 2 years later. He can be seen playing it in the Grateful Dead Movie.
|The Wolf guitar in original form|
Irwin tells the story that he was in the back of the store putting pickups on that particular guitar. Irwin says a couple of guys from the store came to the back room and told him that Jerry Garcia wants to buy your guitar. He thought they were joking.
|Wolf with 2nd pickup arrangement|
Irwin had just started building guitars at Alembic. This was a company run by Ron Wickersham, an electronics and sound expert that previously worked for Ampex, Rick Turner, a luthier and guitarist, and Bob Matthews, a recording engineer. The company started in a rehearsal room for the Grateful Dead, so there was an immediate connection between Alembic and the band.
As the story goes, Doug Irwin was recently hired by the Alembic company and was building electric guitars for them and he also built some for himself.
Garcia asked him to build him another guitar. Irwin took a cue from this and created The Wolf, which he sold to Jerry Garcia in 1972 for $850. Garcia played this guitar for more than 20 years. Garcia asked Irwin to optimize Wolf with three single coil Stratocaster pickups.
As stated, this guitar was made of purple heart wood and curly maple. The fret board was ebony with 24 frets; longer than Fenders, which at the time only had 22 frets. The first version had a peacock inlay made of abalone, but in subsequent years Irwin changed this to an eagle.
A blood-thirsty cartoon sticker of a wolf adorned the body. This gave the guitar its name.
|Garcia and the Wolf Guitar|
In fact it was Irwin who created both plates for the guitar. The pickup selector is the five position strat type.
|Wolf Guitar Controls|
There is also a mini switch to toggle the effects loop on or off. The electronics are accessible from a plate on the guitars back side and they are shielded. The tuning machines are Schaller’s and made of chromed nickel as is the bridge.
Wolf was the first guitar Irwin built that had the D shaped headstock that he used on other guitars he made as his trademark.
|Both Wolf Headstock designs|
On the headstock was the inlay of a peacock done in mother-of-pearl. While at a concert the guitar fell about 15 feet off of the stage and this caused a small crack in the head stock.
Doug Irwin took this as an opportunity to replace the head stock with ebony veneer and a mother-of-pearl inlay of an eagle, which by now had become Doug Irwin’s signature.
|Garcia with Wolf Guitar|
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