John Mayer’s Alembic Further Jerry Garcia Tribute

access_time First seen circa 2013

John was first seen using this guitar in 2013 while playing a cover of Grateful Dead song ‘Friend of the Devil’. This is, of course, no coincidence, since the guitar was modeled after one of Alembic’s earliest guitar models known as ‘Wolf’, played by Grateful Dead co-founder and lead guitarist – Jerry Garcia.

Although just by looking at it one would assume that the guitar is solid-body, this is not the case. It basically features a center block that spans from one to the other end of the guitar, made of two large pieces of maple, and smaller strips of purpleheart and cherry wood. The body itself is also made from several kinds of wood, with quilted maple top and back and purpleheart sides.

As far as the electronics, everything on the guitar is custom-made by Alembic. The pickups are branded as the Alembic STR (neck) and Alembic HG (middle and bridge). The controls include master volume, filter for each pickup, off/on/bright for each pickup, mono output, TRS effects loop, on/off for the effects loop.

From 2013 and on, John seemed to have used this guitar occasionally for live gigs. He was seen playing it on Live on Letterman TV show in 2013 [John Mayer performing Something Like Olivia (Live on Letterman). (C) 2013 CBS Interactive]

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access_time 1994

1990s Squier Stratocaster

This was John’s first ever electric guitar, acquired and used most likely sometime between 1991 and 1993. Prior to this, John was using an acoustic guitar which was rented from a local guitar shop, although there might have been a couple of more acoustic guitars going through his hands before he eventually acquired this Squier. [John […]

access_time 2004

2004 Fender Black One Stratocaster

This is perhaps the guitar that John is most often associated with, at least during his most popular years. It was built by Fender Custom Shop master-builder John Cruz in Corona, California in late 2004 – with direct input from John, who also participated in some of the handworks. The guitar was delivered to Mayer in November 2004. I […]

access_time 1996

1996 Fender SRV Stratocaster

John acquired this Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster in 1996, trading it for a Takamine 12-string acoustic and a Mesa Boogie distortion pedal, and paying the difference from the money he made working at a gas station. He used the guitar for bedroom practice in the early years, and during the two semesters spent at […]

access_time 1994

1990s Fender/Squier Stratocaster

John was first seen using this guitar sometime in the summer of 1994. At that time, he was playing in a band called ‘Another Roadside Attraction’ [John Mayer: Someday I’ll Fly – 3:35]. The guitar likely directly replaced the black Squier that John played prior to this. What’s particularly interesting about this guitar is that, […]

access_time 2005

1963/64 Fender Stratocaster

John acquired this guitar sometime prior to the Continuum album (mid to late 2005), and used it on at least one song during the studio sessions (see quote below), but at the time of writing this, it is unknown which one in particular (if you happen to have any information regarding this, please be sure to get in contact). From then […]

access_time 2003

1960s Fender Stratocaster (Heavier Things)

This guitar was featured on the cover of John’s 2003 album ‘Heavier Things‘. It is possible that the guitar was used to some extent during the studio sessions, although there doesn’t appear to be any official word on it from John. If you happen to come across an interview where there’s gear mentioned in relation to […]

access_time 2005

Fender Custom Shop John Cruz 1962 Relic Stratocaster

Mayer started using this guitar during the Trio era to play the song ‘Gravity’ live. As far as studio usage, there are photos of Mayer playing this exact guitar in the studio during the recording of Continuum (one of those photos was posted on John’s Instagram account – of him smoking a cigarette and sporting a fake […]

access_time 2003

Fender Monterey Stratocaster

John started using this guitar sometime towards late 2003. One of the earlier appearances of the guitar was on December 30, 2003, on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, when John played a set with Buddy Guy and Double Trouble. The guitar was subsequently used on the 46th Annual Grammy Awards show on February 6th, various dates throughout the 2004 tour in […]

access_time 2007

Fender Reverse Proto Stratocaster

This guitar was used by John during the 2005 John Mayer Trio tour. It was also used on some later dates, including Mayer’s performance at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California on December 8, 2007, which was eventually released as a live DVD album ‘Where the Light Is’ [Where The Light Is: John Mayer Live In Los […]

access_time 2001

Novax Expression

This guitar was featured on the cover of John’s 2001 album ‘Room for Squares’. In the DVD commentary of ‘Any Given Thursday‘ he states that the guitar was used live for ‘Neon’, and in the studio on the song ‘Room for Squares’. As you may have noticed, the guitar features angled or fanned frets, which allows for better intonation when […]

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