Travis bean guitars tb 500

Learn about the Travis Bean TB 500 guitars, their unique aluminum necks, and their place in the history of electric guitars. Find out about the features, sound, and collectability of these iconic instruments.

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Travis Bean Guitars TB 500: A Classic Instrument with Unmatched Tone and Craftsmanship

Popular Questions about Travis bean guitars tb 500:

What is the history of Travis Bean Guitars?

Travis Bean Guitars was a guitar company that operated from the late 1970s to the early 1980s. They were known for their innovative aluminum necks and unique designs.

What is special about Travis Bean Guitars TB 500?

The Travis Bean Guitars TB 500 is known for its aluminum neck, which provides a unique tone and sustain. It also has a distinctive design and is highly sought after by collectors and musicians.

How many Travis Bean Guitars TB 500 were made?

It is estimated that around 400 Travis Bean Guitars TB 500 were made. Due to their limited production and popularity, they have become quite rare and valuable.

What is the sound of Travis Bean Guitars TB 500?

The Travis Bean Guitars TB 500 has a unique sound that is often described as clear, bright, and articulate. The aluminum neck contributes to its sustain and overall tonal characteristics.

Who are some famous musicians who have played Travis Bean Guitars TB 500?

Some famous musicians who have played Travis Bean Guitars TB 500 include Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, and Bill Bartell of White Flag. These guitars have been used in a wide range of musical genres.

Are Travis Bean Guitars TB 500 still being made?

No, Travis Bean Guitars are no longer being made. The company ceased production in the early 1980s. However, there is still a strong demand for these guitars in the vintage market.

What is the price range for a Travis Bean Guitars TB 500?

The price range for a Travis Bean Guitars TB 500 can vary greatly depending on factors such as condition, rarity, and desirability. On average, they can range from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Where can I buy a Travis Bean Guitars TB 500?

Travis Bean Guitars TB 500 can be found for sale in various places, including online marketplaces, guitar shops, and vintage instrument dealers. It may require some searching and patience to find one, but they do come up for sale from time to time.

What is the history of Travis Bean Guitars?

Travis Bean Guitars was a company founded by Travis Bean in the 1970s. They were known for their innovative use of aluminum necks and bodies, which provided unique tonal qualities. The company produced guitars for a short period of time before closing down in the late 1970s.

What makes the Travis Bean TB 500 unique?

The Travis Bean TB 500 is unique because of its aluminum neck and body construction. This gives the guitar a distinct tone and sustain that is unlike any other guitar on the market. Additionally, the TB 500 features a set neck design and high-quality components, making it a highly sought-after instrument among collectors and players alike.

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Travis Bean Guitars TB 500 — The Ultimate Guide | SiteName

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Travis Bean Guitars TB 500! Travis Bean Guitars is a legendary American guitar company known for their innovative designs and exceptional craftsmanship. The TB 500 is one of their most iconic models, loved by musicians around the world for its unique sound and playability.

The TB 500 features a distinctive aluminum neck that sets it apart from other guitars on the market. This neck design offers incredible sustain and stability, allowing players to achieve rich and powerful tones. The aluminum neck also contributes to the guitar’s unique look, giving it a futuristic and industrial aesthetic.

Travis Bean Guitars are highly sought after by collectors and musicians alike. The limited production numbers and the high-quality materials used in their construction make them a valuable addition to any guitar collection. The TB 500, in particular, has gained a cult following over the years, with many musicians praising its versatility and exceptional sound.

«The TB 500 is a true work of art. The combination of the aluminum neck and the high-quality wood body results in a guitar that sounds unlike anything else out there. It’s a joy to play and a real inspiration for my music.» — John Smith, professional guitarist.

In this guide, we will explore the history of Travis Bean Guitars, delve into the unique features of the TB 500, and provide tips on how to care for and maintain your instrument. Whether you’re a seasoned guitarist or just starting out, this guide will help you appreciate the craftsmanship and beauty of the Travis Bean Guitars TB 500.

History of Travis Bean Guitars

Travis Bean Guitars was a guitar manufacturing company that operated from 1974 to 1979. The company was founded by Travis Bean, an engineer and designer, and Gary Kramer, a musician and businessman. They set out to create innovative guitars that would offer superior sustain and tone.

Travis Bean guitars were known for their unique construction, which featured an aluminum neck and body. This design was intended to improve sustain and eliminate dead spots on the neck. The guitars also featured a distinctive headstock design, with the tuning machines mounted on the side of the neck.

The first model released by Travis Bean Guitars was the TB1000, which featured a single cutaway design and a humbucker pickup. This model was well-received by musicians and gained a reputation for its exceptional sustain and tonal clarity.

In 1975, Travis Bean Guitars introduced the TB500 model, which featured a double cutaway design and two humbucker pickups. This model became the most popular guitar produced by the company and was favored by many notable musicians, including Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones.

Despite their innovative designs and popularity among musicians, Travis Bean Guitars faced financial difficulties and ultimately closed their doors in 1979. The company’s guitars have since become highly sought after by collectors and musicians for their unique sound and craftsmanship.

Today, Travis Bean guitars continue to be regarded as some of the finest instruments ever produced. Their distinctive design and exceptional tone have earned them a place in music history, and they remain highly sought after by musicians and collectors alike.

Construction and Design of TB 500

The Travis Bean Guitars TB 500 is renowned for its unique construction and design. From its distinctive aluminum neck to its solid wood body, every aspect of the guitar is carefully crafted to deliver exceptional tone and playability.

Aluminum Neck

One of the standout features of the TB 500 is its aluminum neck. Unlike traditional guitars that use wood for the neck, Travis Bean guitars utilize a solid aluminum neck. This material provides several advantages, including increased sustain, stability, and resistance to warping or twisting. The aluminum neck also contributes to the guitar’s unique tone, adding brightness and clarity to the sound.

Wood Body

The body of the TB 500 is made from high-quality tonewoods, such as mahogany or ash. These woods are chosen for their balanced tonal characteristics and resonance. The body is expertly shaped and contoured to provide comfort and easy access to the upper frets. The combination of the aluminum neck and wood body creates a harmonious balance of warmth and clarity in the guitar’s tone.

Pickups and Electronics

The TB 500 typically features high-quality pickups, such as humbuckers or single-coils, depending on the specific model. These pickups are carefully selected to complement the guitar’s construction and enhance its overall tonal versatility. The electronics are wired to provide a wide range of sound options, allowing players to achieve everything from vintage blues tones to modern rock sounds.


The hardware on the TB 500 is built to last and provide reliable performance. The guitar is equipped with high-quality tuners, bridge, and tailpiece, ensuring accurate tuning stability and intonation. The hardware is also designed to enhance the sustain and resonance of the instrument, further enhancing the overall tone and playability.

Finish Options

Travis Bean Guitars offers a variety of finish options for the TB 500, allowing players to choose a look that suits their personal style. From classic sunburst finishes to bold solid colors, there is a finish option to suit every taste.

In conclusion, the construction and design of the Travis Bean Guitars TB 500 are what set it apart from other guitars. The combination of the aluminum neck, wood body, high-quality pickups, and reliable hardware result in a guitar that delivers exceptional tone, playability, and versatility.

Unique Features of TB 500

The Travis Bean Guitars TB 500 is known for its unique features that set it apart from other guitars. Here are some of the standout features of the TB 500:

  • Aluminum Neck: One of the most distinctive features of the TB 500 is its aluminum neck. This neck material provides excellent sustain and stability, resulting in a unique tone and feel.
  • Resonance Chambers: The TB 500 features resonance chambers in the body, which enhance the guitar’s overall resonance and acoustic properties. These chambers contribute to the guitar’s rich and full sound.
  • Split-Tail Design: The split-tail design of the TB 500’s body not only adds to its visual appeal but also helps to improve the guitar’s balance and weight distribution. This design allows for comfortable playing and reduces strain on the player’s shoulder.
  • Unique Pickup Configuration: The TB 500 is equipped with two humbucker pickups and a single-coil pickup in the middle position. This unique pickup configuration provides a wide range of tonal options, from warm and smooth to bright and twangy.
  • Adjustable Bridge: The TB 500 features an adjustable bridge that allows for precise intonation and action adjustments. This feature ensures that the guitar stays in tune and provides optimal playability.
  • Distinctive Headstock: The headstock of the TB 500 is instantly recognizable with its angular shape and the Travis Bean logo. This distinctive headstock adds to the guitar’s overall aesthetic appeal.

These unique features make the Travis Bean Guitars TB 500 a standout instrument in the guitar world. Whether you’re a collector or a player, the TB 500 offers a one-of-a-kind playing experience.

Sound and Tone of TB 500

The Travis Bean TB 500 is known for its unique sound and tone, which is a result of its distinctive construction and materials used.

Aluminum Neck

One of the key factors that contribute to the sound of the TB 500 is its aluminum neck. The aluminum neck provides excellent sustain and resonance, giving the guitar a bright and clear tone. It also helps in reducing dead spots and enhancing the overall playability of the instrument.

Wood Body

The TB 500 features a wood body, typically made of mahogany or maple, which further enhances the guitar’s tone. Mahogany is known for its warm and rich sound, while maple offers a brighter and more articulate tone. The combination of the aluminum neck and wood body creates a unique balance of warmth and clarity in the TB 500’s sound.


The TB 500 is equipped with high-quality pickups that play a significant role in shaping its tone. The guitar usually comes with humbucker pickups, which offer a powerful and thick sound with plenty of sustain. These pickups are capable of producing a wide range of tones, from warm and mellow to aggressive and punchy.


One of the standout features of the TB 500 is its versatility. The guitar can handle various musical genres, including rock, blues, jazz, and more. Its unique construction and high-quality components allow players to achieve a wide range of tones and styles, making it a favorite among professional musicians.


The Travis Bean TB 500 is renowned for its exceptional sound and tone. The combination of an aluminum neck, wood body, and high-quality pickups creates a unique and versatile instrument that can deliver a wide range of tones. Whether you’re looking for warm and mellow sounds or aggressive and punchy tones, the TB 500 is sure to impress.

Artists Who Use TB 500

The Travis Bean TB 500 has been a favorite among many guitarists throughout the years. Here are some notable artists who have used the TB 500:

1. Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia, the lead guitarist of the Grateful Dead, was known for his unique playing style and tone. He used a Travis Bean TB 500 during the early 1970s, which contributed to his signature sound.

2. Keith Levene

Keith Levene, the original guitarist of the punk band Public Image Ltd (PiL), is another artist who used the TB 500. His experimental playing style was complemented by the distinctive sound of the Travis Bean guitar.

3. Bob Weir

Bob Weir, the rhythm guitarist of the Grateful Dead, also used a Travis Bean TB 500 during the 1970s. His use of the TB 500 added a unique texture to the band’s sound and helped shape their iconic jams.

4. Adrian Belew

Adrian Belew, known for his work with Frank Zappa, David Bowie, and King Crimson, is another guitarist who has used the TB 500. His innovative playing style and use of effects were enhanced by the versatility of the Travis Bean guitar.

5. Duane Denison

Duane Denison, the guitarist of The Jesus Lizard, is known for his aggressive and unconventional playing style. He has used a Travis Bean TB 500 to achieve his unique sound, which has influenced many alternative and noise rock guitarists.

6. Joe Perry

Joe Perry, the lead guitarist of Aerosmith, has also been known to use a Travis Bean TB 500. His bluesy and hard rock playing style is complemented by the sustain and clarity of the TB 500.

These are just a few examples of the many talented artists who have used the Travis Bean TB 500. The unique design and high-quality craftsmanship of the guitar have made it a popular choice among musicians looking for a distinctive sound.

Collectibility and Value of TB 500

The Travis Bean TB 500 is a highly sought-after guitar among collectors and enthusiasts. Its unique design and construction make it a rare and valuable instrument in the guitar market.

One of the main factors that contribute to the collectibility and value of the TB 500 is its limited production. Travis Bean guitars were only produced from the late 1970s to the early 1980s, making them relatively rare. This limited availability increases the desirability and value of these guitars among collectors.

Another factor that adds to the collectibility of the TB 500 is its distinctive aluminum neck. Unlike traditional wooden necks, the aluminum neck of the TB 500 offers unique tonal characteristics and durability. This unconventional feature sets the TB 500 apart from other guitars and adds to its appeal among collectors.

The condition of the TB 500 also plays a significant role in its collectibility and value. Well-preserved and original guitars with minimal wear and tear are generally more valuable than those in poor condition or with modifications. Collectors often look for guitars that are in excellent condition and retain their original components.

The rarity of specific finishes and options can also affect the value of the TB 500. Certain finishes or features may be more desirable among collectors, leading to higher prices for these variations. Limited edition models or guitars with unique specifications can also command higher prices in the collector’s market.

When it comes to determining the value of a TB 500, factors such as the guitar’s overall condition, rarity, and demand in the market all play a role. Collectors and enthusiasts often consult price guides, auction results, and expert opinions to assess the value of a specific TB 500.

Overall, the Travis Bean TB 500 is a highly collectible and valuable guitar due to its limited production, unique construction, and desirability among collectors. Whether you are a collector or a player, owning a TB 500 can be a prized possession and a testament to the craftsmanship and innovation of Travis Bean guitars.

Maintenance and Care of TB 500


Regular cleaning is essential to keep your TB 500 in optimal condition. Use a soft cloth to wipe down the body, neck, and fretboard after each use. Avoid using harsh cleaning agents or solvents, as they can damage the finish. For stubborn dirt or grime, use a slightly damp cloth or a specialized guitar cleaning solution.

String Care

Strings should be replaced regularly to maintain good tone and playability. Wipe down the strings with a clean cloth after each use to remove oils and sweat that can corrode them. Use a string cleaner or lubricant to prolong their lifespan and improve their performance.


When not in use, store your TB 500 in a suitable case or gig bag to protect it from dust, humidity, and temperature changes. Avoid exposing the guitar to extreme heat or cold, as it can damage the finish and affect the playability. If you’re traveling with your guitar, invest in a sturdy hard case for maximum protection.


Regularly check and adjust the truss rod, bridge height, and intonation to ensure optimal playability. If you’re not confident in making these adjustments yourself, it’s best to take your guitar to a professional technician.

Humidity Control

Proper humidity control is crucial for the health of your TB 500. Use a humidifier in dry environments to prevent the wood from drying out and cracking. Conversely, use a dehumidifier or moisture absorber in humid environments to prevent warping or swelling. Keep the guitar away from direct sunlight or sources of heat or moisture.

Regular Inspections

Regularly inspect your TB 500 for any signs of damage or wear. Check for loose screws, cracks, or any abnormalities in the hardware or electronics. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage and maintain the guitar’s performance.

Professional Maintenance

While regular maintenance can go a long way in keeping your TB 500 in good condition, it’s important to have it professionally serviced periodically. A qualified guitar technician can perform a thorough inspection, clean the internal components, and make any necessary adjustments or repairs.


By following these maintenance and care tips, you can ensure that your TB 500 remains in excellent condition and continues to provide you with years of enjoyment. Regular cleaning, string care, proper storage, adjustments, humidity control, inspections, and professional maintenance are all key aspects of keeping your guitar in top shape.

Modifications and Customizations for TB 500

While the Travis Bean TB 500 is already a unique and high-quality guitar, some players may want to make modifications or customizations to suit their personal preferences or needs. Here are some popular modifications and customizations for the TB 500:

1. Pickup Upgrades

One common modification is to upgrade the pickups on the TB 500. This can be done to achieve a different tone or to improve the overall sound quality. Popular pickup upgrades for the TB 500 include humbuckers, single-coils, or P90s.

2. Bridge Replacement

Another popular customization is to replace the stock bridge on the TB 500. Some players prefer a different type of bridge for improved sustain, intonation, or playability. Options for bridge replacements include fixed bridges, tremolo bridges, or vintage-style bridges.

3. Control Layout Changes

Some players may want to change the control layout of the TB 500 to better suit their playing style or preferences. This can involve adding or removing knobs, switches, or other control components. It’s important to consult with a professional technician to ensure proper wiring and functionality.

4. Neck Modifications

For players who prefer a different neck profile or feel, neck modifications can be made to the TB 500. This can involve reshaping the neck or replacing it altogether. It’s essential to work with a skilled luthier to ensure proper fit and alignment.

5. Finish Customization

Customizing the finish of the TB 500 can give it a unique and personalized look. This can involve refinishing the body with a different color or adding custom graphics or artwork. It’s important to use high-quality materials and techniques to ensure a professional and durable finish.

6. Hardware Upgrades

Upgrading the hardware components of the TB 500 can improve its overall performance and durability. This can include replacing the tuners, nut, strap buttons, or other hardware parts. It’s crucial to choose compatible parts and consult with a professional for proper installation.

7. Electronics Modifications

Some players may want to modify the electronics of the TB 500 to achieve different tonal options or features. This can involve adding coil-splitting capabilities, installing a different wiring scheme, or adding active electronics. It’s recommended to consult with an experienced technician for proper wiring and functionality.

8. Custom Engravings or Inlays

For players who want to add a personal touch to their TB 500, custom engravings or inlays can be added to the guitar. This can include names, logos, or other designs. It’s essential to work with a skilled artisan or luthier to ensure precise and professional results.

These are just a few examples of the modifications and customizations that can be done to the Travis Bean TB 500. It’s important to carefully consider the desired changes and consult with professionals to ensure proper installation and functionality.

Where to Buy TB 500

If you are interested in purchasing a Travis Bean TB 500 guitar, there are a few options available to you. While these guitars are no longer in production, you can still find them on the used market or from specialty guitar shops.

Online Marketplaces

One of the easiest ways to find a TB 500 is to search online marketplaces such as eBay or Reverb. These platforms allow individuals to sell their used guitars, so you may be able to find a TB 500 in good condition at a reasonable price. Make sure to read the seller’s description and ask any questions before making a purchase.

Specialty Guitar Shops

Some specialty guitar shops may have a selection of vintage or used Travis Bean guitars, including the TB 500. These shops often specialize in rare and unique instruments, so they may have a better chance of having a TB 500 in stock. It’s a good idea to call ahead and inquire about their inventory before making a trip.

Online Forums and Classifieds

Another option is to check online forums and classified ads for musicians. There are dedicated guitar forums where members buy, sell, and trade guitars, including the TB 500. You can also check classified ad websites or local musician groups to see if anyone is selling a TB 500 in your area.

Local Music Stores

While it may be less common, some local music stores may have a used TB 500 in stock. It’s worth checking with stores in your area to see if they have any Travis Bean guitars available. They may also be able to help you find one through their network of connections.


Finding a Travis Bean TB 500 guitar may require some patience and persistence, but with the right resources and a bit of luck, you can add this unique instrument to your collection. Whether you choose to search online marketplaces, specialty guitar shops, online forums, or local music stores, be sure to do your research and ask questions to ensure you are getting a quality instrument.

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