Travis Bean Guitars/Basses attract the likes of noise enthusiasts to elegant jazz aficionados. Uniqueness of the tone and the quality of the instrument continually maintain the demand of these guitars and basses, which have not been produced since 1979.
A "bean" owner calmly states his or her desire to be unique in the sea of classic guitar tones. To say, "I want to be heard".
Travis Bean was one of the first pioneers (along with John Veleno and Wandre Pioli) designing metal neck guitars. Production began in 1974. He felt that greater stability would be gained by using machined aluminum instead of wood for the neck. Constant truss rod adjustments, warped necks and expanding/contracting neck issues would be no more. This would be his vision for the future. The bottom line is by going with a neck to bridge solid metal design, he gained amazing sustain, percussive qualities, and a truly "live" response.
Download and view the Travis Bean patent (US 3,915,049)
The Travis Bean factory made 4 primary models.
TB1000S or Standard was the first production guitar to come out of the factory. They had different stages of production throughout the life of the company. Came equipped with humbucking pickups with Alnico magnets. 1422 Standards were produced.
TB500 was to be the "budget" model compared to the 1000S. They equipped these axes with single coil pick-ups and had a "strat" type body. These guitars are often, ironically, the Holy Grail of Travis Bean guitars. They have a very aggressive bite to their tone. Steve Albini (Big Black, Rapeman, Shellac) can be seen swingin' this bad boy. 351 guitars were produced.
TB1000A or Artist was to be the "uptown" model of the 1000S. Same humbucking pickups, but with a carved top, and block inlays in the neck. 755 Artists were produced.
TB2000 was the standard bass. Made with Koa wood bodies. The basses have bright woody tone, that seem to cut through the mix easily. There were special models of these made, including short scale necks and fretless versions. 1020 TB2000 were produced.
TB3000 was Bean's answer to the Gibson Flying V. The TB3000 was the wedge model. Very futuristic design... always reminded me of a Camero's hood, there were only 45 wedge guitar produced.
TB4000 is the wedge version for the Bass. Even fewer were made: 36.
Travis Bean guitars produced units from 1974 to 1979. Mr. Bean began development on new guitars... but there has been no further mention of this to date.