John Mayer’s 1980 Fender Reverse Stratocaster Prototype

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.

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Jimi Hendrix Artist Series Prototype

What’s interesting about this guitar is that John’s reverse Stratocaster is actually one of the original prototypes made in 1980, which were intended to be the first line of the 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). One of these prototypes was also used by Stevie Ray Vaughan, which probably played a role in John being interested in this particular model.

Another interesting thing to point out is that a user on the 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, since it is, after all, such a rare instrument.


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