When the Grateful Dead and Alvarez Guitars came together to create the Grateful Dead Series, it was vital to make instruments that were a true celebration of the band’s legacy and the use of official artwork and graphical characters was a focus from the outset. Alvarez was ready and able to apply a half century of guitar building knowledge into making the guitars sound great, with an excellent player experience. But getting the aesthetics right meant the innovation of a unique screen printing process that was used to tattoo artwork directly onto the guitars’ cedar tops. Alvarez custom designed one of the guitars incorporating classic Dead imagery, logos and characters such as Steel Your Face, Big Bertha and the Dancing Bear, but for the second model they turned to the man responsible for some of the Grateful Dead’s most memorable album art: Timothy Truman.
For over 30 years, Tim Truman has illustrated and written for comic books such as Grimjack, Hawkworld and Turok: The Dinosaur Hunter, and has been a regular contributor to the Grateful Dead’s Almanac and Comix. He has also become a recognized name in the Rock and Roll industry, providing artwork for Carlos Santana and album covers for the Grateful Dead, Hot Tuna and more.
Truman’s cover for the Grateful Dead’s Dave’s Picks Vol. 8 was a perfect fit for one of the Grateful Dead Series Guitars, later named the “AF65GD/F – Flag” after the art itself. For Truman, having his work featured on a guitar top was a delightful synchronicity; he has been playing guitar nearly as long as he has been an artist and writer.
Inspired by his work and legacy, Alvarez Content Creator, GC Johnson, was eager to interview Truman about all things guitar, all things Grateful Dead, and what it was like to have his artwork presented on a cedar canvas: