Stevie Ray Vaughan’s 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.


Stevie’s “Scotch”, or “Butter” as it’s sometimes called, Stratocaster was by all accounts a 1961 model, featuring a light yellow finish, often referred to as “butterscotch blonde”. But, since this is a ’61 Strat, most likely the finish was originally “Olympic white”, which over the years yellowed.

From the photos and video footage available, we can see that the guitar originally had a white pickup with three single-coil pickups and a slab fretboard.

The “Scotch” Stratocaster in its original condition. February 28, 1987.

Neck Swap?

There are some rumors on the internet that the neck from the “Scotch” was installed on the Number One in 1989, while a left-handed neck was put on this guitar.

As far as one can tell from the photos available, this is incorrect. Scotch was never photographed with a left-handed neck (be free to provide any proof pointing otherwise), and this story is likely a mix-up of what actually happened.

There was indeed a Strat with a left-handed neck, which was Stevie’s “Red” Strat. Also, Number One did have its neck replaced, but again, it’s most likely that that neck came from the “Red” Strat, as it had a veneer fretboard, while the “Scotch” had a slab one.

The second neck that the Number One had in 1990 did have a slab fretboard, but according to Rene Martinez, this was a replacement neck provided by Fender (you can read more about this on the Number One page).


Initially, the “Scotch” was used mostly as a backup guitar, but around 1989 Stevie started using it more often as he was having troubles with his Number One Strat. Allegedly, he stated in an interview somewhere that during the In Step studio sessions, he used the Number One only for The House is Rocking and Crossfire.

This alleged interview we’ve not been successful in finding yet, but it is true that that Number One was having neck problems/replacements, and it is possible that the “Scotch” Stratocaster was Stevie’s main on that album.

In any case, if you happen to remember reading that interview, and you happen to know where it was published, be sure to leave a comment below.

Custom Pickguard

Sometime between 1987 and 1988, Rene Martinez, Stevie’s guitar tech, made a custom red and black pickguard for this guitar. The new pickguard design was apparently inspired by one of Buddy Guy’s early Stratocasters, which too had a yellow-ish finish.

“Scotch” with the new pickguard. Austin City Limits, 1990.


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Bryan J
Bryan J
2 months ago

Excellent article. I’ve always had interest in Steve’s Scotch strat. I built an all Fender partscaster about 10 yrs back which was intended to be a Scotch replica, more or less. At the time it was hard to find a black/red replica pickguard, so I used a tortoise shell and called it good. Now I’ve decided to go with a white pickguard to match Scotch’s original. I’ve noticed on the cover of Live Alive the knobs and pickup covers are basically the same shade as the pickguard. But, on the top left of the inside gatefold of the LP he’s pictured with Scotch and the knobs and covers are much more “aged”. Wonder if there was a swapping of pickups some time before the change to the black/red guard…