Fender is producing a limited and painstakingly detailed reproduction of the 1955 Stratocaster that Graham Nash gave Jerry Garcia as an gift for playing on Nash's debut solo album. The instrument would be Jerry's go-to guitar during a good stretch of his career. The 2022 reincarnation of what came to be known as 'the Alligator' is faithful right down to the alligator and other stickers on it, the unusual string-retainer bar, and even the cigarette burns on it. The original almost met its demise in November 1971 at Symphony Hall in Boston when the the lower half of the pickguard cracked wide open. As the guitar’s electronics spilled out, Garcia frantically waved his tech, Steve Parish, onstage for a helping hand. Parish started shoving the guts of the instrument back in place while keeping everything together with nothing more than a roll of gaffer’s tape. Miraculously, Garcia and the Strat made it through the rest of the show. Some days later, the pair decided to replace the missing chunk of pickguard with a Masonite plate (replaced with a brass plate in the early 80’s). From there, the modifications just kept coming. By 1972, the Alligator was hardly recognizable from the 1955 Stratocaster that Graham Nash gifted Garcia back in 1970. However, thanks to the countless personal touches added by Parish and Garcia, it has become one of history’s most iconic guitars. Every detail of the Jerry Garcia Alligator Stratocaster is meticulously recreated, from the carefully measured contours and radii of the one-piece ash body to the hammered brass control plate, replica pickguard and body stickers, and custom replica “Blaster” clean-boost output jack assembly. Master built in the Custom Shop by Austin MacNutt, the Jerry Garcia Alligator Stratocaster is limited to 100 built-to-order instruments. All three pickups are Josefina hand-wound ’55-style single-coil Stratocaster pickups replicated from the Alligator itself, along with five-way switching, standard vintage Stratocaster wiring and replica “hat” control knobs on a three-ply parchment pickguard. Premium features also include a Relic lacquer finish, one-piece rift-sawn maple neck with a profile scanned and replicated directly from the original guitar, 7.25” fingerboard radius and 1.625” brass nut width, 21 Medium Vintage frets, custom brass bridge and tailpiece with rosewood base plate, Schaller M6 tuners, disc string tree with custom retainer bar, and custom birdseye maple back plate. Custom hardshell case included.
The materials, detail and craftsmanship being put into these instruments comes at a hefty price. Each of the 100 being made will go for $20,000.