Music fans around the world were stunned to learn that a piece of history from the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia sold for an astonishing $378,000 at Sotheby's. The collection titled 'From The Vault', presented property from the Grateful Dead and Friends, Grateful Dead Productions, their inner circle, Dead tours, as well as surviving components from the legendary Wall of Sound that was powered by McIntosh amplifiers. The prize piece was a McIntosh MC2300 amplifier, owned and used by Garcia himself.
Jerry Garcia’s McIntosh Amplifier is a rock and roll masterpiece: it proudly bears the Budweiser Budman sticker that Ram Rod (Laurence Shurtliff, a roadie and long-time member of the Grateful Dead's crew) stuck on it to make it instantly recognizable as Jerry's.
The solid-state power amplifier (10.5H x 19W x 17D), 300 watts per channel or 600 watts per monoblock, with anodized gold and black panel. Serial number: 1Y460. With original “Grateful Dead” black rolling road case with stickers and stencils.
The "Unique Sound" of the McIntosh MC2300
The legendary musician was known for his unique sound, and the McIntosh MC2300 power amp is believed to be an important part of this signature tone. The auction house described the amp as being “in excellent condition” and “fully functioning” despite its age, highlighting its remarkable preservation and incredible build quality.
Becky Scarrott from WhatHifi quotes Crew member "Big" Steve Parish's take on Jerry's Budman:
"Jerry played through Fender Twins and they were loud, but everyone always wanted to be louder for the big gig, especially outdoors. Dan Healy figured out how to take a line out from Jerry’s guitar amp, first into a McIntosh 350 tube amp during the early Wall of Sound setup. When the MC2300 power amp came out we bought 70 of them and put them throughout the system, but this is the one that Jerry liked the best and he played through it for years. It really made that Twin sound huge and became part of his signature tone at the time."
Sotheby's added "Budman was essential to Garcia’s sound and became an icon in and of itself. The Grateful Dead’s commitment to playing live with the best sound possible led them to use audiophile, rather than commercial, sound equipment. The legendary build quality and low distortion of McIntosh fulfilled both the sonic and roadworthy requirements."
McIntosh MC2300: sold for $378,000
Photograph © Bob Minkin. To purchase a print, or view more of Bob Minkin’s work, visit https://minkinphotographystore.com.
It's clear that Jerry Garcia's legacy lives on in more ways than one – not only through his beloved music but also through his equipment which can still be appreciated today.