From the Vault: Property from the Grateful Dead and Friends

From the Vault: Property from the Grateful Dead and Friends

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 181. Jerry Garcia | Earl Scruggs MasterTone Banjo in original case.

Property of Steve Parish

Jerry Garcia | Earl Scruggs MasterTone Banjo in original case

Lot Closed

October 14, 08:59 PM GMT


50,000 - 80,000 USD

Lot Details


Property of Steve Parish

Banjo owned and used by Jerry Garcia

Gibson, c. 1985, Earl Scruggs model Mastertone banjo, serial number 1201, made in the USA, label hand signed by Earl Scruggs. Features maple rim, resonator and neck, hand cut inlay, Keith tuner pegs on G and B strings. Includes original hard case.

Very good condition. Has corrosion on metal parts, tailpiece not original. Several extra parts in case, including fingerpicks. 

"All banjo players are just bits and pieces of Earl." (Jerry Garcia)

Jerry Garcia’s musical life began with folk music, particularly bluegrass. The banjo was in fact the first instrument that really inspired him and his early admiration for the bluegrass masters like Earl Scruggs and Bill Keith carried over into his later guitar style and love of improvisation. 

He would of course revisit the banjo and bluegrass throughout his life—in fact Garcia helped to spark a wide resurgence of interest in bluegrass with his release of Old and In the Way in 1975.

"Big" Steve Parish: "This Gibson Mastertone was played by Jerry many times with David Grisman, in their acoustic act onstage. It was one of Jerry's top three played banjos. We brought it to Hawaii on a family vacation where we shared a house with Jerry and Hunter. It ended up with me bringing it back from LA, where we flew direct to work. A perfect example of Jerry's toxic sweat from playing it. Never got cleaned up. Left a beautiful patina on this personal instrument."


Sotheby's would like to thank Alex Whitman of TR Crandall Guitars for his assistance with this lot.