Stevie Ray Vaughan's Guitars and Gear

Published : - Author : Dan Kopilovic

Summary of Stevie’s Gear

Stevie Ray Vaughan’s main and favorite guitar was the 1960s Fender Stratocaster, which he nicknamed “Number One”. This guitar he purchased sometime in the early 70s, at a cheap price, because the owner thought it was one of the worst guitars he ever had in his shop. But, it worked perfectly for Stevie, and he went on to use it on most of his live concerts and studio recordings.

Based on this guitar, Fender developed the Fender Stevie Ray Signature Stratocaster, which is one of the company’s most popular signature models today.

Aside from this guitar, he used a variety of different Stratocasters. Most notably, there was the 1965 “Lenny” Stratocaster, that he got as a present from his first wife. He also briefly used a 1959 rosewood neck Stratocaster, nicknamed “Yellow“, a 1962 Strat named “Red“, and a 1961 one named “Scotch”.

Stevie playing his “Number One” Stratocaster, while a number of his other guitars can be seen in the background.

Besides Fenders, Stevie also played a custom-made Stratocaster made by Charley Wirz. Also, he had another custom Strat-shaped guitar, made by James Hamilton, which he used in the music video for the song Couldn’t Stand the Weather.

For amps, Stevie at one point toured with 32 different amps, so it’s hard to summarize them quickly. But, the amps that are most important to mention are the Fender Vibroverbs, which Stevie used from around the mid-80s, the Marshall 4140 Club And Country, and the Dumble Steel String Singers.

As far as effects, there are four main pedals that Stevie nearly always had on his pedalboard. Those are the 1960s Vox Wah pedal, a Dallas Arbiter-(England) Fuzz Face, an Ibanez Tube Screamer (most often the TS-9 version), and the Roger Mayer Octavia.

For strings, Stevie used a fairly heavy-set, the GHS 1300, which measures .011, .015, .019, .028, .038, and .058. For picks, he most often used the Fender Medium Picks.

This gear list is a result of years of research and constant updates. It's driven by contributions from visitors like yourself, and the personal enjoyment of learning about rock and roll history.

List of Guitars, Amps, Effects, and Accessories used by Stevie Ray Vaughan

Stevie Ray Vaughan's Electric Guitars

  • 1962/63 Fender Stratocaster (Number One)

    Stevie acquired this guitar in 1974, at Ray Hennig’s Heart of Texas Music in Austin. The guitar was an old Stratocaster, characterized by the shop owner as one of the worst guitars that he ever had in his shop.

    Nonetheless, it felt right for Stevie, and he asked Ray whether he could trade in his previous guitar for this one. After Ray agreed, they took apart the guitar, cleaned it up, and set it up according to Stevie’s preferences.

    In 1974 he came by this particular day and was looking around as he’d usually do, going up and the rows of guitars taking the down, feeling them, when he discovered this old Stratocaster that I had hanging. He took it down, looked at this, felt of it, and fiddled around for a pretty good while.

    I said – Stevie, that’s the worst guitar I guess I’ve ever traded for in the history of this business.

    The guitar was an old Fender Stratocaster, a 59 model, that was traded to me maybe a week or two prior by Christopher Cross.


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  • 1965 Fender Stratocaster “Lenny”

    This guitar first caught Stevie’s attention around 1979, when he went with a couple of friends to a pawnshop in Austin, Texas. Unfortunately, it cost $350, and he couldn’t afford it at that time.

    That however didn’t stop his wife, Lenora, who talked to a couple of Stevie’s friends to cash in $50 each, so they could give it to him as a birthday present. The plan worked out, and they presented the guitar to Stevie on October 3rd, 1980 at Steamboat Springs – a nightclub he often played at.

    The guitar was originally a 3-tone sunburst maple-neck model with a rosewood fingerboard. It was refinished by the previous owner with a dark natural color, and it had an early 1900s mandolin-style pickguard inlayed behind the bridge, on top of the body.

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  • 1951 Fender Broadcaster

    This was Stevie’s second electric guitar and one that he used in his early performances.

    There are two different versions of the story of how Stevie came to acquire this guitar. Both agree that he inherited the guitar from his brother Jimmi, but they differ in some important details.

    The first version of the story, tells that Jimmie left the Broadcaster in pieces at his parent’s house after he moved away. Stevie then found it, assembled it, and started using it.

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  • Tokai TST-50 (Rosewood, Black Pickguard)

    Stevie was photographed with this guitar on a promotional poster for Tokai guitars. The same guitar was auctioned in 2004, and labeled as “owned and used by Stevie Ray Vaughan on stage and in the studio”. Unfortunately, the auction house did not provide any specifics, at least not publically, so very little is actually known about this guitar. (STEVIE RAY VAUGHAN OWNED AND USED TOKAI GUITAR – Christie’s)

    Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Tokai Stratocaster, as seen on the auction. SRV is seen playing the guitar in the bottom right.

    From what can be concluded from the photos, the guitar is a cherry sunburst model with a non-typical black colored pickguard – perhaps pointing towards the possibility that it was made specifically for SRV, and was based on his Number 1 Strat.

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  • Hamiltone Custom Stratocaster “Main”

    This guitar was made for Stevie by James Hamilton, a guitar builder from Buffalo, NY, who gave it to Stevie on April 29, 1984. But, the guitar was actually commissioned by Billy Gibbons, as a gift to Stevie.

    “The Main” aka “the Couldn’t Stand the Weather guitar” features a neck-through-body design (unlike any other guitars Stevie played), and a two-piece maple body. The ebony fretboard is inlayed with abalone reading “Stevie Ray Vaughan”, designed by the artist Bill Narum.

    Embed from Getty Images

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  • Tokai AST-56

    Stevie was photographed playing this Tokai on March 24, 1985, in Worcester, Massachusetts. Apparently, it was one of the five Tokai’s that Stevie was provided after signing an endorsement deal with Tokai in 1985.

    Very little is known about the guitar, aside from what was revealed in the 2020 auction (see Lot # 8I: Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Stage Used Tokai AST-56 Guitar). The only really interesting thing worth pointing out is the fact that the guitar didn’t have the “SRV” sticker when it was first photographed in 1985, but that changed by the time it was sold, in 1994.

    Tokai promotional poster, showing Stevie with the red Tokai (top left)
    Tokai promotional poster, showing Stevie with the red Tokai (top left)
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  • 1959 Fender Stratocaster “Yellow”

    This guitar was previously owned by Vince Martell, Vanilla Fudge’s lead guitarist, who sold it to Charley Wirz of Charley’s Guitar Shop in Dallas sometime in the early 80s.

    Before we move further, please note that most of the info about this guitar comes from second-hand sources, as Charley and Stevie never really talked about it. So, it’s unclear where all this information that is available online originated from. So, we’d appreciate any help regarding finding sources and interviews where this guitar is mentioned either by those two, or someone close to them.

    When Charley got the guitar, it had a hollowed-out body, because Vince apparently wanted to fit as many humbuckers in it as possible. Charley decided to ignore this approach, and instead make a new pickguard that would cover up the routed out holes, and instead placed just one single-coil pickup in the neck position. He also repainted the body in bright yellow paint.

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  • 1962 Fender Stratocaster “Red”

    Stevie bought this guitar at Charley’s Guitar Shop sometime in 1983 or 1984 (sources vary on this). It was originally a sunburst Stratocaster, but it was repainted with a custom red finish, most likely by the previous owner (information about this guitar is very scarce).

    Embed from Getty Images

    The guitar remained in the stock condition up until around 1986 when Rene Martinez took the neck off to allegedly replace the neck on Stevie’s Number One. That neck couldn’t handle any more fret changes, so Rene suggested to Stevie that they should completely replace it.

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  • Rickenbacker 360 Capri

    Stevie was seen playing this guitar in 1978 while gigging with Hubert Sumlin (see Stevie Ray Vaughan & Hubert Sumlin, Austin TX (1978)). There are also photos of Stevie with the Rickenbacker shown from the back with a sticker reading “Stingray”. This would indicate that he used the guitar somewhat extensively since he at least bothered to decorate it.

    According to Stevie’s guitar tech Greg Sisk, during one of the gigs – which happened to be on Stevie’s birthday, Hubert Sumlin showed up with no guitar, at which point Stevie decided to give the Rickenbacker and an amp to Hubert (original source on this story needed).

    The exact model of the guitar is at this point unknown. The most likely candidate would be the 360 Capri, which matches Stevie’s guitar in terms of finish, body binding, bridge style, and pickguard color. If you happen to be a vintage Rickenbacker expert, please do comment if you have any more knowledge. The photos of Stevie with the guitar can easily be found by simply searching “SRV Rickenbacker” on Google.

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  • 1957 Gibson ES-125T

    This was Stevie’s first electric guitar, which he inherited from his brother Jimmie. The guitar was a 3/4 size model with a single P90 pickup in the neck position.

    JIMMIE VAUGHAN: About a year after I started, Daddy bought me a 3/4 Gibson with no cutaway, about as thick as a 335 with one pickup [a 1957 Gibson 125-T hollow body, serial number U142221], and a little brown Gibson amp.

    (GARY WILEY, Vaughan cousin:) One time, Steve was listening intently to the radio and playing along on Jim’s guitar, which he had inherited [the Gibson 125-T]. My brother and I were bugging him to jump on our bikes, but he had to nail that part first.

    Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan

    As far as when exactly Stevie used this guitar, most sources indicate that Jimmie started playing when he was 12, which was in 1963. If his father bought the guitar a year after he started playing, that would obviously be 1964, and probably at least another year passed before Stevie inherited it. So, 1965/66 seems to be the year in which Stevie acquired his first electric guitar – or when he was around 11/12 years old.

    Is it likely that Stevie used this guitar from that point until inheriting another guitar from Jimmie – a 1951 Fender Broadcaster.

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  • Tokai Springy Sound 

    Stevie was photographed holding a maple-neck Tokai on the cover of his debut album Texas Flood, released in 1983. The cover was actually a drawing based on an existing photo, which is publically available online, and the drawing itself does not show the Tokai logo on the headstock. However, the original photo, as shown below, does.

    Tokai logo clearly visible in the original photo.
    Tokai logo clearly visible in the original photo.

    What is presumably the same guitar, was also seen on a photo of Stevie performing live, taken likely sometime after the release of the album. If you happen to know the exact date and place, please leave it in the comments.

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  • 1963 Epiphone Riviera

    Stevie acquired this guitar in 1971, trading it for a 1951 Fender Broadcaster, known as “Jimbo”. He traded the guitar with Geoff Appold, who was a music teacher based in North Texas.

    I left the “Jimbo” guitar for Stevie, and he took it to school and routed it out and put two P-90 pickups in it, or attempted to, which might explain why it had two volume knobs. He didn’t want me to see what he’d done, so he traded it for the Epiphone Riviera.

    Jimmie Vaughan, Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan

    One interesting detail about Stevie’s Epiphone Riviera is the fact that it had a Gibson Varitone switch. This is something that was not fitted on Riviera models from the factory, so Stevie obviously did the mod himself.

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  • Charley Custom Stratocaster

    This guitar was made in 1984 by Charley Wirz – the owner of Charley’s Guitar Shop in Dallas.

    I saw it being built. Charley had made one for Jimmie, and he was like a proud father! They were both being built, and I think they were DiMarzio parts. Larry DiMarzio was the first guy to start making bodies and necks and pickups in that era. I think Charley told me they were mostly DiMarzio parts, but Van Zandt pickups. It was really like a Frankenstein or parts guitar.

    Mark Pollock, Stevie Ray Vaughan Day By Day, Night After Night His Final Years, 1983-1990

    Stevie Ray Vaughan playing the Charley Stratocaster, Montreux 1985
    Stevie with the Charley Stratocaster, Montreux 1985
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  • 1961 Fender Stratocaster “Scotch”

    Stevie acquired this guitar sometime in 1985. According to the book Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan, he bought it during an in-store appearance.

    Most of the online sources claim that the guitar was originally intended to be a prize at one of Stevie’s shows. But, Stevie apparently liked it so much that he kept it for himself and instead offered another of his instruments as a prize.

    If you happen to come across any information about this giveaway, or you happen to recall it happening, please be sure to post it in the comments.

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  • Gibson Johnny Smith

    Stevie used this guitar to record the song Stang’s Swang, from his second album, Couldn’t Stand the Weather (source – Stevie Ray Vaughan – Day by Day, Night After Night: His Final Years). Aside from this, not much is known about the guitar.

    Gibson Johhny Smith model was produced from 1981 to 1969. It featured a carved spruce top, carved maple back, ebony bridge and fretboard – with split block inlays. As far as pickups, the model came in two different configurations, either with a single mini-humbucker in the neck position or with an additional humbucker in the bridge. Stevie’s was the second version, with two humbuckers.

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  • Gibson ES-150 Charlie Christian

    According to the book Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Stevie used this guitar to record the song Boot Hill, from the 1991 posthumous album The Sky Is Crying.

    This is an electric-Spanish model from Gibson, made popular by Charlie Christian who bought his in 1936. It features a fully hollow body, with an arched solid spruce top and solid maple back and sides, and a mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard. It also has a single bar-style pickup in the neck position, which over the years became known as the “Charlie Christion pickup“.

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Stevie Ray Vaughan's Acoustic Guitars

  • Guild JF65-12

    Stevie used this guitar on MTV Unplugged filmed on January 30, 1990, to play Rude Mood and Pride and Joy.

    This guitar wasn’t actually Stevie’s – he borrowed it from Timothy Duckworth, his friend and personal assistant. Allegedly, Timothy stated somewhere that Stevie’s hands were so strong that he accidentally cracked the neck.

    Stevie playing a Guild JF6512 12-string at MTV Unplugged
    Stevie playing a Guild JF6512 12-string at MTV Unplugged

    The guitar is among Guild’s top-of-the-line models. It features a spruce top and sides, maple back, an abalone rosette, and ebony fretboard mother of pearl blocks with triangle-shaped abalone insets.

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  • Roy Rogers Six-String Guitar

    Stevie’s first guitar ever was a Ray Rogers toy guitar, which he acquired around 1961.

    I got my first guitar when I was seven. It was one of those Roy Rogers guitars; it had pictures of cowboys and cows on it, some rope. I had a blanket with the same sh*t on it, too.

    Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan

    In case you’re unfamiliar with Roy Rogers, he was an American western singer and actor, commonly known as the “King of Cowboys”. During his active years, he had a lot of merchandise with his name on it, including shirts, lunch boxes, watches, and of course, guitars. Most commonly, these were toy guitars made by Jefferson Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia, but there were also some more “serious” models available.

    Based on the only existing photo of Stevie with the guitar, his was perhaps one of those more serious ones, and one of the more rare ones. If you Google “Roy Rodgers toy guitar” you’ll see numerous designs, but none of them matches Stevie’s guitar exactly.

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  • Gibson L-1

    Stevie was seen using this guitar during an interview that he did in 1983 – watch Stevie Ray Vaughan, acoustic solo 1983, Dallas, Texas. The guitar was also seen sitting behind him during his performance at the MTV Unplugged in January 1990.

    Stevie Ray Vaughan playing a Gibson L-1 guitar.
    Stevie Ray Vaughan playing a Gibson L-1 guitar.

    Based on the footage available, the guitar was a flat-top model, which means that it was made sometime between 1926 and 1937. It also doesn’t have a pickguard, nor any fingerboard binding, which would suggest that it was made after 1930. Lastly, it has a 12-fret neck (or the part of the neck extending past the body) which would mean that it was made no later than 1932.

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  • 1930s National Duolian

    Most famously, Stevie was seen holding this guitar on the cover of the In Step album. Stevie believed that the guitar previously belonged to Blind Boy Fuller, an American blues guitarist, and singer from the 1930s.

    I’ve got a ’28 Dobro and I sometimes play some slide, but not very often. I go through phases where I feel comfortable about it. It’s funny, I’ll get into doing it again and get real confident with it, and then something happens…

    Classic interview: Stevie Ray Vaughan, MusicRadar

    Although Stevie refers to it as a ’28 Dobro, based on the serial number provided by the article seen here, the guitar is Duolian, which means that it couldn’ve been made earlier than 1930.

    Stevie with the Resonator guitar on the cover of In Step album.
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Stevie Ray Vaughan's Amps

  • Marshall JMP 4140 Club and Country

    Stevie used this amp for his clear tone in the early days, circa the early 80s. The amp was a 1980 model 4140 Club and Country combo with two 12-inch speakers, 100 watts of output, and KT77 tubes. In some photos, the amp is seen with tape on the speaker grill, which was apparently done in an attempt to cut the higher frequencies.

    This particular model was basically Marshall’s take on the Fender Twin Reverb, so it would sense that Stevie liked it for his clean sound. At this same time, he used two Fender Vibroverbs for his dirty or distorted sound.

    The amp remained in Vaughan’s rig until the early to mid-80s when he started using a Dumble amps instead.

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  • Fender Vibroverb Blackface

    Stevie used two of these amps from around early 80 to around 1985 initially for everything, but later on only for his dirty or distorted sound.

    Stevie had a very simple setup, just two Vibroverb amps and no pedals. For the Hendrix stuff, Cutter would plug in a wah for the one tune.

    Dan Opperman, Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan

    One of the two Vibroverbs was used to power a Fender Vibratone Leslie speaker.

    We also had two black-face, EV-loaded Super Reverbs. In addition, we used an EV-loaded Fender Vibroverb, and it powered the Fender Vibratone Leslie speaker

    Interview: Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar tech Rene Martinez

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  • Dumble Steel String Singer (Silverface)

    Stevie started using this amp sometime in early 1984, and it directly replaced the Dumble ODS that he used in late 1983.

    Right now, I use a Dumble 150 watt. He calls it Steel String Singer, I call it King Tone Consoul, that’s s-o-u-l. It’s like an overgrown Fender tube amp. Some Dumbles, like the Overdrive Special, you’ve got to know what you’re doing with them, because they’ll get away from you and take you with ’em.

    Stevie Ray Vaughan, Guitar Player magazine, 1984

    Initially, he used a silverface Steel String Singer, occasionally paired with a couple of Fender Vibroverbs. In that scenario, SSS was presumably used for clean sound, while the Vibroverbs were used for overdrive.

    Stevie's amp setup at Rockpalast Pop Festival, August 25, 1984
    Stevie’s amp setup at Rockpalast Pop Festival, August 25, 1984
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  • Fender Bassman Blackface

    This was one of Stevie’s early amps. According to Roddy Colonna, a drummer who played in a few of Stevie’s early bands, he used the amp while Roddy played with him.

    If we look at the timeline posted over at the SRV Achieve website, the first band that had Roddy as the drummer, name Deryk Jones Party, was formed in the summer of 1971. So, based on this, Stevie used this amp sometime around that period.

    Also according to Roddy, the amp had the word “Euphoria” stenciled on it, which led Stevie to assume that the amp was once owned by Eric Clapton.

    His main amp then was a 4×12 Marshall bottom with a blackface Fender Bassman top that had “Euphoria” stenciled on it, and Stevie was convinced that Clapton had been in a band called Euphoria and that it might have been his amp.

    Roddy Colonna – Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan

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  • Marshall Major (Model 1967) Amp

    Stevie used this amp on stage around 1987, paired with a Dumble Steel String Singer.

    When I first started working with him, it was a Dumble Steel String Singer and a 200-watt Marshall head, and each one of those amps was playing through EV-loaded Dumble 4 x 12 cabinets – one was angled and one was flat.

    Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar tech Rene Martinez

    Stevie with a Marshall Major and a Dumble Steel String Singer.
    Stevie with a Marshall Major and a Dumble Steel String Singer.

    The goal behind this setup, according to Stevie, was to simplify things and get rid of all the various amps that he usually used.

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  • Mother Dumble Amp

    According to Chris Layton, Stevie’s drummer, the amp that Stevie used to record the Texas Flood album was a Mother Dumble (300 watts). The amp belonged to Jackson Browne, who owned the studio where the album was recorded.

    There was literally nothing between the guitar and the amp. It was just his Number One Strat plugged into a Dumble amp called Mother Dumble, which was owned by Jackson Browne. The real tone just came from Stevie, and that whole recording was so pure; the whole experience couldn’t have been more innocent or naïve.

    Chris Layton, Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan

    As far as the exact model, it seems likely that this was a prototype of some sort, or perhaps a Dumbleland custom model. Therefore, it likely didn’t have a model name, and the “Mother Dumble” was just something that Jackson came up with (if you happen to know anything about this amp, leave it in the comments).

    In any case, this amp was very important in the SRV lore, because it is the first Dumble that Stevie ever used. After using it, he probably asked Jackson Browne for information about where he could get one for himself, and by 1983, he was using Dumble amps in his gig regularly.

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  • Dumble Steel String Singer (Blackface)

    This is the second Dumble Steel String Singer that Stevie Ray Van used in his live rig, starting from around late 1986. Unfortunately, it’s unknown to which extent he used the amp, whether it was a backup, or whether it was used for a different purpose than his Silverface SSS (which was for clean sound).

    Stevie’s first Dumble SSS Silverface (top), and his second SSS Blackface (bottom).
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  • Dumble Overdrive Special

    This is the first Dumble amp Stevie used live, starting from August 1983. The amp was an “Overdrive Special” model, played through a 4×12 Dumble speaker cabinet.

    Dumble ODS amp behind Stevie Ray Vaughan on stage, Reading Festival, 1983.
    Dumble ODS amp behind Stevie Ray Vaughan on stage, Reading Festival, 1983.

    The amp however wasn’t used too long, and Stevie replaced it with a Dumble Steel String Singer by the beginning of 1984.

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  • Fender Super Reverb

    Stevie usually used two Fender Super Reverbs on stage for his overdriven sound, from around the mid-80s to 1990. The amps were loaded with four ElecroVoice speakers,

    According to Cesar Diaz, Stevie’s amp tech, he never really like the Super Reverbs, and thought they were not exactly for him. Also according to Cesar, the output transformers on the Super Reverbs were changed to those from a Twin Reverb.

    Stevie used to have Super Reverbs, but they somehow never sounded quite right to him – too much power, you know? He also used to be real superstitious about the number 6. He’d always set the controls on his amps on 6 – the treble on 6, the bass on 6, and I’d back off the knobs with a screwdriver so that when it said 6 it was really on 10 (laughs). You have to do these things.

    Cesar Diaz The Last Great Interview (SRV)

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Stevie Ray Vaughan's Effects

  • Dallas-Arbiter England Fuzz Face

    Stevie started using the English version of the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face sometime around the release of the In Step album, in 1989. Most notably, the effect can be heard during his performance of Voodoo Chile during his 1989 Austin City Limits performance.

    Some sources also claim that he used it on the solo for the original release of Couldn’t Stand the Weather, but based on Cesar Diaz’s statements, that would be impossible.

    I was also the one to introduce Stevie to the Fuzzface. He didn’t know what one was until In Step. […] I had two of the original ones marked NKT, which stands for New Market. They would tend to sound really good when they were nice and cool, but when they got hot, they’d go down. The fix for any old Fuzzface that has germaniums is to put it in the freezer. Take it out, play your song and replace it with another one that’s cold.

    Cesar Diaz The Last Great Interview (SRV)

    Also, Cesar Diaz, who worked as Stevie’s technician, installed American-made transistors in the units that Stevie used.

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  • Tycobrahe Octavia

    According to Stevie’s technician Cesar Diaz, Stevie started using a Tycobrae Octavia effect pedal sometime around the release of the In Step album in 1989.

    I was also the one to introduce Stevie to the Fuzzface. He didn’t know what one was until In Step. He had a Univibe, but he never used it, and I brought in a Tycobrae Octavia and the Fuzzfaces.

    Cesar Diaz The Last Great Interview (SRV)

    Possibly a Tycobrahe Octavia behind Stevie’s wah? SRV in the studio, circa late 80s.
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  • Ibanez Tube Screamer

    The Ibanez Tube Screamer was one of the four key pedals used by Stevie. Allegedly, he used all three versions that were available in his lifetime, the original TS-808, the TS-9, and the “modern” TS-10. According to Don Opperman, he used the pedal as a boost, in conjecture with his wah – mostly just for the Hendrix-influenced songs.

    For the Hendrix stuff, Cutter would plug in a wah for the one tune. One of the first things I did was to show Stevie this trick I had picked up from Joe Walsh, who used a Tube Screamer in conjunction with his wah as a boost to make it sound more expressive, switching the Tube Screamer on and off as he saw fit.

    Dan Opperman – Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan

    Even though there are rumors that the TS-808 was his favorite, the TS-9 was the one that was seen most often on his pedalboard.

    We used four pedals: a CryBaby wah-wah, an Ibanez Tube Screamer, an Octavia and a Dallas Arbitar Fuzz Face.

    Rene Martinez – Interview: Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar tech Rene Martinez

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  • Uni-Vibe

    This pedal was mentioned by Stevie’s technician, Cesar Diaz, who said that even though Stevie had one, he never used it. So, it’s likely that this was something Stevie bought when he was chasing the Hendrix tone, but he eventually decided that he preferred using the Fender Vibratone (which achieves a similar sound effect)

    I was also the one to introduce Stevie to the Fuzzface. He didn’t know what one was until In Step. He had a Univibe, but he never used it, and I brought in a Tycobrae Octavia and the Fuzzfaces

    Cesar Diaz The Last Great Interview (SRV)

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  • Roger Mayer Octavia

    This was Stevie’s most widely used Octavia pedal, which he “mained” until switching to a Tycobrae Octavia, sometime in 1990.

    I was also the one to introduce Stevie to the Fuzzface. He didn’t know what one was until In Step. He had a Univibe, but he never used it, and I brought in a Tycobrae Octavia and the Fuzzfaces.

    Cesar Diaz The Last Great Interview (SRV)

    Stevie’s pedalboard at Live at Letterman gig, April 1990.

    We used four pedals: a CryBaby wah-wah, an Ibanez Tube Screamer, an Octavia and a Dallas Arbitar Fuzz Face.

    Interview: Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar tech Rene Martinez

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  • Fender Vibratone Leslie speaker

    Stevie used this effect for live performances of Cold Shot, Couldn’t Stand the Weather, and The Things (That) I Used to Do – usually powered with one of his Fender Vibroverb combo amps.

    In case you’re unfamiliar with what the Fender Vibratone does – basically, it’s just a cabinet with a speaker inside of it that has the ability to rotate, which creates a “wobbly” sound. Originally, these speakers were intended to be used on Hammond organs, but were quickly adopted by musicians of all kinds, including of course guitarists.

    Based on the photo and video material, he owned two different Vibratones, one earlier model, and one later one – with the large metal plate Fender Vibratone badge on the front.

    Stevie with one of his Fender Vibratones. This is the earlier model, made likely in 1967 or 68.
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  • Vox Wah

    Stevie used a variety of different Vox wah pedals throughout his career. But, overall, he favored the original 60s models.

    Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Pedalboard, showing the Vox Wah pedal on the far left.

    One of the wahs that he used, primarily in the studio, was a V846 model, that previously belonged to Jimi Hendrix. Stevie’s brother, Jimmie Vaughan, got this pedal from Hendrix after a gig in 1969, when Vaughan’s group opened for The Jimi Hendrix Experience in Fort Worth, Texas.

    After the show, Jimi’s roadie asked Jimmie if he would swap his Vox wah pedal for Hendrix’s broken pedal plus some cash, a trade the young guitarist happily agreed to.

    Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan

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Stevie Ray Vaughan's Strings

  • GHS 1300 Guitar Strings

    Based on Stevie’s statements in interviews, in the early years, it sounds like he wasn’t really set on a particular set of strings, but used different gauges based on the condition of his fingers.

    The gauges vary because it’s based on the shape my fingers are in. I go from an .011 to an .013 on the high E, which is the only one I lighten up on. As a rule, the others are .015, .019, .028, .038, .054 to .056 or even .058. The good thing about such heavy strings is that you can hit ’em hard and they don’t move—when you pop ’em, they stay there.

    Texas Flood: The Inside Story of Stevie Ray Vaughan

    Most likely, he used the GHS 1300 set, which measures .011, .015, .019, .028, .038, and .058, and occasionally swapped the high E string with a .013.

    Because he was using such a heavy set, Stevie tuned his guitar one half step, to E flat, which among other things, reduced the amount of tension on the neck. Also, he’d often had to re-fret his main guitar, and he eventually moved away from the original thin fret wire, to wider and taller ones (likely the Dunlop 6105 or 6100).

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Stevie Ray Vaughan's Accessories

  • Fender Medium Guitar Picks

    Most of the time, Stevie used Fender Medium 351 shape guitar picks. This was far from exclusive though, as he was seen using various different picks, with branding from different guitar shops, and made from different materials. But, they all did seem to be of medium thickness.

    One important thing to point out is that he usually played with the back, or “fat” end of the pick.

    A set of different guitar picks used by Stevie Ray Vaughan.
    A set of different picks used by Stevie, recently auctioned at
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  • Music Note Guitar Strap

    Stevie used these guitar straps for most of his iconic live performances, including Live at Montreux in 1982 and 1985, and at Rockpalast in 1984. Sometimes he used white straps with black notes, other times black straps with white notes, but they were essentially the exact same straps.

    Stevie with a white Music Note guitar strap. Montreux 1985.
    Stevie with a white Music Note guitar strap. Montreux 1985.

    The original straps that Stevie used were made by Music Note Strap Co., owned by Richard Oliveri who was based in Staten Island, New York. Shortly before Richard’s death in 1989, the company went out of business, and the production stopped.

    Just recently, Roy Jones, who worked at the original factory, restarted the production. The result was the Earth III Music Note guitars strap, which is now available on pre-order from

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