This book is frickin' amazing, and I'm the opposite of a knob-twiddling gearhead pedal fetishist. I didn't know what ANY of this tech stuff is, and have never played an instrument myself, but this book is so full of the INSIDE SCOOP, with interviews from everyone from the bandmembers, to Owsley/Bear (whose radical concepts became the foundation of modern concert amplification for all bands that followed, not just the Dead), to the loyal and inscrutable road crew, to the various producers of the band's studio albums, to every luthier and gadgetologist who ever lusted in his heart to see a piece of his gear in action on the Big Stage, that it's one of the most fascinating, articulate, and intimate books ever written on the Grateful Dead, period.
It may seem a tad pricey, but the printing job is deluxe. Mark my words: it's a fantastic gift idea for any Deadhead you love, but will probably fly under the radar of most casual Dead enthusiasts because of the off-putting premise of being all about the hardware. As it turns out, this witty book is actually more about the human software: the passion for discovery and exploration that drove the evolution of this music and this sound, and made the Grateful Dead the *new* best band on Earth nearly every time they went out on tour ('till '91 or so, at least -- so shoot me for saying it.)
I'm not just raving about this book because Blair and I have worked together on projects like the "So Many Roads" box set. Frankly, I wasn't even sure I was going to buy it, since I'm so not the target demographic for a book about whether 'tis better to use graphite for a guitar neck or not. But I'm sure glad I did, because I feel like I have a much deeper picture of what the band was up to on the other side of the Laminated Curtain, all those many years.