Trade Regrets: Travis Bean
Innovative luthier Travis Bean passed away in his home in Burbank, California on July 10th after a long battle with cancer.
Partnering with Gary Kramer and Marc McElwee in 1974 to start Travis Bean Guitars, Bean’s ground-breaking instruments featured an aluminum center-section and neck, with pickups directly mounted to the aluminum. Praised for their increased sustain, though derided for their greater-than-average overall weight (much like the similarly innovative/quirky Dan Armstrong plexiglass guitars of a few years earlier), the instruments were embraced by the likes of The Grateful Dead and Rolling Stones and, in later years, have become favorites of The Arcade Fire, Sonic Youth, and others. Prices for vintage Travis Beans have soared in recent years, with the guitars regularly fetching between $3,000 and $4,000 (and higher).
Kramer and Bean’s partnership was short-lived, with Kramer departing in 1975 to found Kramer Guitars. A Travis Bean documentary, “Sustain,” has been in the works for a while.
You can watch the documentary, below: