Ranked 46th on Rolling Stones 100 Greatest Guitarists, Jerry Garcia of the quintessential hippie jam band, The Grateful Dead, was a folk and blue-grass obsessive who started playing guitar at fifteen. It was those roots, as well as a lifelong love of Chuck Berry, that gave his astral experiments with the Grateful Dead a sense of forward momentum. Garcia could dazzle on slide ("Cosmic Charlie") or pedal steel ("Dire Wolf"), but his natural home was playing lead onstage, exploring the frontier of psychedelic sound.
"Most people who play the blues are very conservative. They stay a certain way. Jerry Garcia was painting outside the frame. He played blues but mixed it with bluegrass and Ravi Shankar. He had country and Spanish in there. There was a lot of Chet Atkins in him – going up and down the frets. But you could always hear a theme in his playing. It's like putting beads on a string, instead of throwing them around a room. Jerry had a tremendous sense of purpose. When you take a solo, decide what to say, get there and give it to the next guy. That's how Jerry worked in the Dead. Jerry was the sun of the Grateful Dead – the music they played was like planets orbiting around him. He wasn't a superficial guy at all. It was a lot of fun to play with him, because he was very accommodating. He'd go up and down; I'd go left and right. And I could tell he enjoyed it, because the Dead always invited me back."..... Carlos Santana.
At Woodstock '69, the Dead played a five song set that spanned over 90 mins. Garcia played a Gibson SG Standard. The humbucker-outfitted guitar was Garcia’s main instrument for the periods of 1969 and 1970, and was also used for the concerts that were recorded for ’69’s Live Dead. Always a pedal fiend, at Woodstock, Garcia augmented his SG most prominently with a phrase shifter and wah-wah.