Bob Weir's "Cowboy Fancy" Model Returns

On display at the January 2005 NAMM musical instrument convention was a recreation of the guitar that graced the cover of Ibanez''s new history book. The fancy, heavily inlaid guitar with a multitude of switches in the black and white photo was one of a number of custom Ibanez guitars made for Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead in the 1970s.
Publish date:
Updated on

The actual guitar on book display was made to spur interest in the Ibanez history book, but it generated enough interest on its own to be on display for sale at the 2005 NAMM show in Indianapolis.

The guitar, which has been given the model designation BWM1BS--Bob Weir Model One, Brown Sunburst-- features a pre-amp with three band active EQ, DiMarzio Virtual PAF and Virtual Vintage pickups, a 5-piece maple/walnut thru-neck with pearl vine inlay, swamp ash body and much more. The completely handmade guitar will be limited to 30 pcs worldwide with just 15 pcs going to the United States.

The so-called "Cowboy Fancy" models that were made for Bob Weir by Ibanez about 1976. That name comes from an answer Weir gave to Jeff Hasselberger of Ibanez who had asked him what he would like a guitar to look like. Referring to the often ornate inlays on the guitars of the old Country and Western stars, Weir replied, "Let's go for the full cowboy fancy," and so Full Cowboy Fancy it was. The word "Ace" on the fretboard refers to Weir's nickname, which comes from his first solo album of the same name.

The Cowboy Fancy shape was intended to be a compromise between a Gibson ES345, which Bob was playing at the time, and the Ibanez artist. One of the requests by Bob Weir was for a larger headstock than the prior smaller and more ornate Weir model headstocks so as to increase sustain. Hasselberger came up with the Ibanez 3-on-a-side design, which ultimately made its way into smaller versions for the George Benson guitars and other Ibanez jazz guitars.

The explanation for the multitude of switches on the recreation also comes from what Bob Weir wanted in the Cowboy Fancy models. Said Jeff Hasselberger in an online reply as to the origins of the guitar: "We made a couple of the 'cowboy' models with a number of switching combos that were constantly going under the surgeon's soldering iron. Basically, Bob wanted as much flexibility of pickup selection as we could deliver. So he had a choice of single coils, series humbuckers, parallel humbuckers, phase reversals and so on. We also used the standard Artist EQ system on at least one of them."

The first Cowboy Fancy guitars featured a sliding middle pickup. Eventually Weir found the position he liked best and that became the ultimate position in the fixed pickup model.


  • Available Finish - BS Brown Sunburst
  • Body Material - Swamp Ash
  • Neck Material - 5 pc Maple Walnut
  • Neck Scale/Type - 25.5"/Neck thru
  • No. Frets/Type - 22/Medium
  • Fingerboard - Ebony
  • Inlay - BWM Special Pearl Vine Body Inlay, "ACE" 21st Fret Inlay
  • Bridge - Acc-Cast Replica
  • H/W Color - Gold
  • Neck Pickup - DiMarzio Virtual PAF
  • Middle Pickup - DiMarzio Virtual Vintage
  • Bridge Pickup - DiMarzio Virtual PAF
  • Other Special Features - Half-Bone/Half-Brass Nut, Brass and Striped Ebony Truss Rod Cover,
  • Case - Included

For more information, visit their web site at