This emotive addition to the Custom Shop Tribute Series will feature an intricate reproduction of â€˜Lennyâ€™ down to the smallest of detailsâ€”from the customized neck that was a gift from ZZ Topâ€™s Billy F Gibbons to the reflective â€˜SRVâ€™ stickers on the body to the battered headstock, the autograph that Stevie himself etched into the neck plate, and even an autograph from legendary baseball great, Mickey Mantle.
Guitar Center, the worldâ€™s largest musical instrument retailer, purchased the original guitar for $623,500 at a 2004 Christieâ€™s auction that benefited the Crossroads Centre, Antigua, a charitable organization founded by Eric Clapton.
Keith Brawley, Guitar Center vice president of merchandising for guitars and amplifiers, told us, â€œGuitar Center is both thrilled and privileged to be able to offer Stevie Ray Vaughanâ€™s â€˜Lennyâ€™ Fender Stratocaster to the world. Stevie Ray Vaughanâ€™s fans are among the most loyal and passionate guitar lovers in the world. The â€˜Lennyâ€™ Stratocaster, Stevieâ€™s main instrument for his love songs, is a truly fascinating guitar that has, as part of its DNA, a tender, personal love story and an incredibly colorful and touching history.â€�
The original â€˜Lennyâ€™ guitar is a universally recognizable Fender Stratocaster, best known for its uniquely bright and powerful tone and known as one of Stevie Ray Vaughanâ€™s favorite instruments throughout his entire career. The guitar itself has an almost mystical heritage that can be traced back to the very beginning of Vaughanâ€™s rise to stardom.
Stevie Ray Vaughan was just a struggling young guitarist in Austin, Texas, in 1980, when his wife, Lenora â€˜Lennyâ€™ Vaughan, gave him a used Stratocaster that had recently caught his eye in a local pawnshop. It was a 1965 Fender Stratocaster guitar with the original pickups that, from the look of it, had seen better days. Although it began life as a three-color sunburst model, it had obviously been refinished (none too expertly) at some point, and now it had a dark natural finish bearing an elaborate inlay in the body behind the bridge. Nonetheless, there was something about it that clearly and immediately resonated deeply with Vaughan.
As Vaughan himself said during an interview published in the Feb. 1990 issue of Guitar Player magazine:
Pricing and Availability:
Guitar Center stores throughout the United States will introduce the guitar on Dec. 12, 2007, and will offer them to customers for $17,000 (U.S.).