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Wednesday, 9 January, 2002, 11:15 GMT
Grateful Dead settle guitar dispute
Grateful Dead
Jerry Garcia (second right) died in 1995
A long-running custody battle over four guitars belonging to the late Grateful Dead frontman Jerry Garcia has finally been resolved.

The guitars' maker Doug Irwin and the surviving members of the band had been arguing over who owned the instruments.

Under the new agreement, Mr Irwin will get custody of the guitars dubbed Wolf and Tiger, while the band will keep two other instruments.

The dispute has been raging since Mr Garcia's death of a heart attack in 1995.

Eric Clapton's guitar sold for $450,000 (312,000)
Eric Clapton's guitar sold for $450,000 (312,000)
In his will, the singer pledged the guitars to Mr Irwin, who had made them between 1981 and 1989.

But Grateful Dead Productions contested the will, saying it was the company who owned them, and they were never Mr Garcia's to give away.

The parties were close to an agreement in November, but Mr Irwin pulled out at the last minute over a clause which would give the band first refusal before he sold any of the guitars.

Mr Irwin's lawyers said that could scare off any potential bidders.


He is already planning to auction off Tiger to ease his personal financial problems but is planning to keep Wolf for the time being.

The band has plans to open a museum in San Francisco with Mr Garcia's guitars as a cornerstone exhibit.

Mr Irwin's attorney Douglas Long said the question of the guitars' value has been one of the big stumbling blocks to reaching a deal.

He said: "There is only one way to figure out what something is worth, and that is at public auction. You've got to give the world a chance to buy it."


Sales of guitars owned by rock legends including Jimi Hendrix and John Lennon have fetched more than $200,000 (139,000), while the guitar Eric Clapton used on his song Layla was sold in 1999 for a record $450,000 (312,000).

The Grateful Dead came out of the San Francisco music scene of the 1960s but despite their massive live following they notched up only one top 10 hit in the US with Touch of Grey in 1987.

Only six of their 28 albums reached higher than number 25 in the Billboard charts.

The band broke up in the wake of Mr Garcia's death but sales of Grateful Dead memorabilia and concerts by former band members still net about $70m (47.8m) a year.

See also:

30 Mar 00 | UK
The hippies who made it big
02 Nov 01 | Showbiz
Grateful Dead guitar case settled
26 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Clapton guitars fetch 60,000
25 Jun 99 | Entertainment
Record price for Clapton guitar
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