John Mayer’s 1980 Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt Reverse Proto Stratocaster

access_time First seen circa 2007

This guitar was used by John during the 2005 John Mayer Trio tour. It was also used on some later dates, including Mayer’s performance at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California on December 8, 2007, which was eventually released as a live DVD album ‘Where the Light Is’ [Where The Light Is: John Mayer Live In Los Angeles]

Embed from Getty Images

What’s interesting about this guitar is that John’s Reverse Proto Stratocaster is actually one of the original prototypes made in 1980, which were intended to be the first line of Jimi Hendrix Artist Series. For one reason or another, Fender never really got around to sorting everything out, and all that remained are a few prototype guitars – all of which are now, of course, highly-priced collectibles (for more info about these prototypes, check out Seven Fender Stratocaster Models That Pay Tribute to Jimi Hendrix by Tom Watson). In 2005, the Fender Custom Shop made a special run of 100 guitars that were basically the same specifications as this 1980 model, but are nowhere near as sought after by the collectors as the first model.

Another interesting thing to point out is that a user on the strat-talk.com forums by the name of “kingbee1” claims to have sold the guitar to John for $15,000.

I sold a 1980 Stratocaster (yes, 1980) for $15,000 to John Mayer several years back. It was a reverse headstock “Hendrix” tribute that Fender did only a few prototypes for. SRV had one. $15,000 for a 1980. And he was happy to pay it. BTW…do you know how Mr. Mayer heard about my Stratocaster? Ebay. He called me at home, wired $15000 into my account, and had the strat shipped to his hotel in Chicago, where he was performing. [kingbee1, Strat-Talk Member, Oct 23, 2015]

Towards 2008 the guitar seems to have disappeared from stage use, and its whereabouts are pretty much unknown. It is possible, and very likely, that John simply decided to keep the guitar safe at his home.

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