Back in June, Dead & Company's John Mayer raised the collective eyebrows of the large, ever-passionate Deadhead community when he took Jerry Garcia's legendary Wolf guitar for a spin onstage with the band.
As it turns out, playing Dead classics like "St. Stephen" and "High Time" on the guitar during Dead & Company's June 23, 2019 show at New York's Citi Field had a profound effect on the blues virtuoso, which he elaborated on in a recent interview with Dean Delray for the Let There Be Talk podcast.
"Here's what changed me forever: the tone of this guitar was so good," Mayer said. "It's the one that's married to those songs. You don't even know if an EMI console sounds good or not; The Beatles recorded on it, it sounded good.”
"We don't know because that board made Abbey Road, it sounds good because it sounds like Abbey Road. So, this guitar sounds good because it sounds like Jerry, right?
"And all of a sudden, all I have to do is go 'bomp-bap-bomp-bap,' single notes, and I'm in heaven. And I realize, 'You got to get a guitar where the single notes make you happy.' You don't have to play that much at all."
Custom-built for Garcia by luthier Doug Irwin, Wolf made headlines back in 2017, when it was sold for $1.9 million at auction, making it one of the most valuable guitars ever sold at that time.
It spent most of 2019 on display at the Play It Loud: The Instruments of Rock and Roll exhibit at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.