Travis Bean Passes

Travis Bean
Travis Bean at a NAMM show in 1977.

Guitar maker and machinist Travis Bean passed awayJuly 10 in Burbank, California, after a long battle with cancer. He was 63.

Born Clifford Travis Bean in San Fernando, California, he was famous for his enhancements to the electric guitar. He co-founded the Travis Bean guitar company with Marc McElwee, and from 1974 to ’79 it produced electric guitars and basses known for solid-aluminum neck and headstocks, and exotic hardwood bodies. Their distinctive sound, improved intonation and dramatically increased sustain made them popular with professional and amateur musicians. The company’s manufacturing standards and innovations were at the forefront of a trend in guitar manufacturing.

Travis Bean guitars and basses were played by a diverse roster of players such as; Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, Keith Richards, Ron Wood and Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones, and jazz man Stanley Jordan.

After making his mark in the guitar world, Bean worked as a television stagehand until his retirement. He is the subject of a documentary called “Sustain,” currently in production.

Bean is survived by wife, Rita, son, Darren Miller, daughter, Dawn Norvell, and grandchildren David and Ashley Miller, Michael Thorne, and Jenell Norvell. A memorial will take place July 23 at the First Christian Church, Studio City, CA.  A website has been create to help Beans’ widow with medical bills.

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