Jerry Garcia's famed "Alligator" Fender Stratocaster is headed to the auction block.
The "Alligator" was one of the Grateful Dead frontman's main guitars from early 1971 until the fall of 1973, a period during which the band recorded some of their most highly regarded work, including the live triple album, Europe '72.
The guitar - which is believed to have been given to Garcia as a gift by Graham Nash in 1970 - features a swamp ash body, maple neck, two control knobs and a number of unique stickers, including the one that gave the guitar its name. In addition, the "Alligator" is missing its volume knob.
The Strat's serial number, 7310, indicates that the guitar was built in 1955. The "Alligator" was heavily modded, internally and externally, by Frank Fuller and Rick Turner, two employees from the Dead-affiliated instrument and hi-fi company, Alembic. The mods include replacement Schaller tuners, a customized brass control plate and a brass sustainer block mounted on a wood riser.
The "Alligator"'s one-time custom-made blaster preamp is no longer present, while some of the wiring has also been altered since Alembic's original work on the guitar. All subsequent mods were made to the guitar while it was in Garcia's possession.
The "Alligator" Strat is expected to fetch between $250,000 and $400,000 at Bonham’s Alligator!: A San Francisco Rock Star’s Guitars, Art & More auction, which is being held December 10 in Los Angeles.
For more information on the guitar and the auction, stop by bonhams.com.