John Mayer’s Fender Custom Shop Tele/Strat Hybrid

access_time First seen circa 2004

This guitar appeared sometime in mid-2004 [John Mayer at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, April 15, 2004], although it is possible that John already had it for a few months prior. As far as one can tell, it was only used for live performances for the song ‘Something’s Missing’, although this is not definitive and still needs further research.

When I used to play Something’s Missing [from Heavier Things, 2004], I had this Strat-Tele that Chris Fleming built. It became the allocated guitar, with the tuning for that song [E B E F# B E]; it comes out of the coffin and I’d play it for Something’s Missing, then it went back in and stayed in that tuning. Then when I stopped playing Something’s Missing, it was like – this is a great guitar for other things; tune it back into standard… [John Mayer interview – Music Radar]

As noted in the title, the guitar is a hybrid between a Stratocaster and a Telecaster models, built by master-luthier Chris Fleming. The Stratocaster seemed to have been used as a base, since if you ignore the upper half of the body all the features are taken directly from that model. The model features three single-coil hand-wound 60s style pickups, a 5-way pickup selector switch, and a Fender S-1 switch that turns the bridge pickup on and off in any position.

A fun fact – John’s Tele/Strat is actually the first model to ever leave the factory. According to Chris Fleming, John bought it online on his own initiative from a Fender dealer. [Chris Fleming discusses his Tele®/Strat® hybrid]

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access_time 2004

2004 Fender Black One Stratocaster

This is perhaps the guitar that John is most often associated with, at least during his most popular years. It was built by Fender Custom Shop master-builder John Cruz in Corona, California in late 2004 – with direct input from John, who also participated in some of the handworks. The guitar was delivered to Mayer in November 2004. I had just gotten of a tour, and was just starting the get crazies from the […]

access_time 1996

1996 Fender SRV Stratocaster

John acquired this Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster in 1996, trading it for a Takamine 12-string acoustic and a Mesa Boogie distortion pedal, and paying the difference from the money he made working at a gas station. He used the guitar for bedroom practice in the early years, and during the two semesters spent at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. This one I bought from the money I […]

access_time 1994

1990s Squier Stratocaster

This was John’s first ever electric guitar, acquired and used most likely sometime between 1991 and 1993. Prior to this, John was using an acoustic guitar which was rented from a local guitar shop, although there might have been a couple of more acoustic guitars going through his hands before he eventually acquired this Squier. [John Mayer: Someday I’ll Fly] My first electric guitar was a Squier, so I’ve kind of […]

access_time 2005

1963/64 Fender Stratocaster

John acquired this guitar sometime prior to the Continuum album (mid to late 2005), and used it on at least one song during the studio sessions (see quote below), but at the time of writing this, it is unknown which one in particular (if you happen to have any information regarding this, please be sure to get in contact). From then on, the guitar remained behind the scenes for the most part until just prior to […]

access_time 1994

1990s Fender/Squier Stratocaster

John was first seen using this guitar sometime in the summer of 1994. At that time, he was playing in a band called ‘Another Roadside Attraction’ [John Mayer: Someday I’ll Fly – 3:35]. The guitar likely directly replaced the black Squier that John played prior to this. What’s particularly interesting about this guitar is that, based on the photos, in 1994 it had a maple neck, while later on in […]

access_time 2003

1960s Fender Stratocaster (Heavier Things)

This guitar was featured on the cover of John’s 2003 album ‘Heavier Things‘. It is possible that the guitar was used to some extent during the studio sessions, although there doesn’t appear to be any official word on it from John. If you happen to come across an interview where there’s gear mentioned in relation to this album, please be sure to get in contact. The guitar is most likely an […]

access_time 2003

Fender Monterey Stratocaster

John started using this guitar sometime towards late 2003. One of the earlier appearances of the guitar was on December 30, 2003, on Late Night With Conan O’Brien, when John played a set with Buddy Guy and Double Trouble. The guitar was subsequently used on the 46th Annual Grammy Awards show on February 6th, various dates throughout the 2004 tour in support of the Heavier Things album, as well as on many different dates throughout the John Mayer […]

access_time 2005

Fender Custom Shop John Cruz 1962 Relic Stratocaster

Mayer started using this guitar during the Trio era to play the song ‘Gravity’ live. As far as studio usage, there are photos of Mayer playing this exact guitar in the studio during the recording of Continuum (one of those photos was posted on John’s Instagram account – of him smoking a cigarette and sporting a fake mustache), but he claims that he actually used the BLK1 to record ‘Gravity’, so it […]

access_time 2007

Fender Reverse Proto Stratocaster

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 […]

access_time 2018

PRS Silver Sky

John started using this guitar in early 2018. It has been developed as a close collaboration between Mayer and Paul Reed Smith, the main goal being designing an instrument that would be a future of the classic design, taking inspiration mainly from early 60s Strat models which John is known to favor. It’s been a dream of mine for years to design a guitar that includes some of my favorite vintage […]

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