To enhance string vibration, he suggested making the instrument’s neck and headstock out of solid aluminum instead of wood. The resulting guitars, manufactured for only five years, remain prized for their tone and durability.
Among those who have strummed them are Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead — whose Travis Bean guitar was auctioned for $312,000 in 2007 — and many of the Rolling Stones.
Mr. Bean died of cancer July 10 in Burbank, Calif. He was 63.
“He came along when there was not much of anything in terms of fresh ideas when it came to making guitars,” Jim Washburn, a music writer who has curated guitar exhibits, told the Los Angeles Times. “Then he revolutionized things a bit. He made a pretty good mark, for making them for such a short period of time.”
Travis Bean Guitars) - Travis Bean, who revolutionized the electric guitar, died July 10 of cancer in Burbank, Calif. He was 63.
Guitar Player magazine has compared Mr. Bean to maverick automaker John DeLorean because both “pushed the envelope by doing something radically different with a familiar product.”
When company investors called for prices to be lowered, Mr. Bean decided to stop production instead of compromising quality, according to the magazine.
He was born Aug. 21, 1947, in San Fernando and was adopted by Raymond and Betty Bean, who named their only child Clifford Travis Bean. His father worked for Shell Oil.
Mr. Bean was a woodworker with a penchant for redesigning objects when he turned toward the guitar.
Survivors include his wife, Rita; a son, Darren Miller; a daughter, Dawn Norvel; and four grandchildren.
By Valerie J. Nelson, Published: July 18 — Los Angeles Times