Travis Bean, influential guitar maker in the Valley was 63

travis-bean-guitar.jpgTravis Bean died at home in Burbank of cancer on July 10. "Born of the motorcycle and hot rod culture of Burbank California in the early 1970s, the Travis Bean guitar was fused from gear head sensibility and rock and roll creativity," says the website for a documentary in the works on Bean's life. At the Travis Bean Guitar website: "Today is a good day to play your Bean." From Ben Westhoff on the LA Weekly website:

His guitars were played by everyone from Jerry Garcia to Steve Albini to Slash, and were known for their sustain and durability. You just can't break one of them.

Born in San Fernando, his eponymous Valley-based company was founded in 1974, and featured solid aluminum necks -- rather than wood. They were a hit with bands including the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones, and in ensuing decades members of acts including Sonic Youth.

Bean passed away on Sunday, from cancer. His legacy is secure, as evidenced by the rapid online trade his guitars do, and the YouTube shredders who worship his brand.


We asked former Nirvana and Foo Fighters guitar tech and current Wire Instruments mainman Earnie Bailey to pen a few words on a man who was a lifelong hero:

"Travis Bean was an iconoclastic luthier and inventor who along with co founder Marc McElwee, designed and built guitars and basses of impeccable standards during a time when American manufacturers were struggling to produce a decent instrument.

"Today their innovations and influence are at the core of a thriving music sub-genre, over thirty years after Travis Bean closed the factory doors.

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