John Mayer’s 2004 Fender Stratocaster Custom Shop (John Mayer Artist Series Prototype)
This guitar was first seen sometime in July during the 2004 Summer Tour. Based on a few sources, it is highly likely that this guitar was a prototype of sorts for John’s upcoming Artist series from Fender, which became publicly available a year later, in July 2005.Embed from Getty Images
According to the information over at Fender Reissue Shop website, John received two prototypes with serial numbers JM001 and JM002 in 2004. Both of these were custom built by Chris Fleming and were used by John during the 2004 and 2005 tour. Sometime in 2005, he gave the JM002 back to Chris Fleming as a present, and after changing a couple of hands the guitar ended up with guys over at the Fender Reissue Shop [Fender Masterbuilt John Mayer Prototype Stratocaster Stage Played JM002 Proto]
The guitar is heavily based on the Stevie Ray Vaughan tribute model on which John relied for most of his career up until that point. The main difference is the orientation of the bridge, which was rotated 180 degrees back to its original position, and the pickups which were replaced with a set of single-coils designed with John’s personal input. These pickups eventually became known as “Big Dippers”, and were available exclusively through John’s Signature guitars – meaning you couldn’t buy them separately.
As said, most of the other stuff was pretty standard and was taken either from vintage models (general design) or Stevies Ray Vaughan Signature model. The guitar featured alder body, thick C shape neck with African rosewood fretboard featuring 9.5” radius and 6105 narrow jumbo frets, and 25.5” scale length. For more in-depth details consults official Fender spec sheet – [John Mayer Signature Models Specs].
The John Mayer Signature model was discontinued in September 2014, shortly before John announced that he’s parting ways with Fender, although he obviously he still continued using Fender guitars but was no longer endorsed the brand.
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I was actually the first person after John to play this guitar, I happened to be present the day he received it at the Hyatt hotel in St. Louis. He was about to kick off a short run with Herbie Hancock’s band and was at the hotel rehearsing in a room with the band. I worked at a GC at the time and had received a call from Marcus Miller’s manager about whether we had a Sting Signature Series bass which Marcus was needing. We had one, and I was asked to bring it to the hotel and be prepared to hang out for a while. I went, having no idea what I was walking into, and ended up watching the whole band rehearse. They took a break and John came over and started talking to me, once he found out I played guitar he got excited and wanted to show me a couple guitars Fender had just shipped to the hotel for him, he said no one else there played guitar and therefore didn’t give a shit about his new guitars lol. We walked over to his corner of the room and he handed me this guitar, telling me it was the prototype for his upcoming signature guitar. He plugged me into his rig (!!!) and told me to have at it, which was intimidating as hell and I just kind of strummed around like an idiot lol. The other guitar was another Strat which if I remember correctly was painted up like Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Strat although it’s possible it was the Monterey Strat. But pretty sure it was more like the Clapton Crossroads one, and I do remember him telling me that he had just recently hung out in England with Clapton driving around in his car. Anyway, that’s my crazy John Mayer story.
*edit: I just saw the Crashocaster post, that was the other guitar he showed me. I left a comment on that page as well.