Stevie Ray Vaughan’s 1965 Fender Stratocaster “Lenny”

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S/N: L81409

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.

Original Specs, Mods

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.

Stevie playing the Lenny Stratocaster in 1981, before the maple neck swap.

Sometime in 1981, Stevie decided to replace the neck with the mid-’50s-style maple neck given to him by his brother Jimmie. He kept the tremolo arm and pickups but added the Mighty Mite “toilet seat” saddles on the bridge, and his signature and initials on the neck plate and pickguard.

This guitar also has Mickey Mantle’s autograph on the back of the body, who signed it on April 10, 1985, when Vaughan was invited to play the national anthem at the Houston Astros season opener at the Houston Astrodome.

The most recent photos of Stevie’s Lenny. Note the Mighty Mite saddles.

Usage

Stevie recorded with this guitar on many of his heartfelt love songs, including Riviera Paradise, and of course – Lenny.

Lenny was given to Stevie by Lenny [Lenora Bailey, Stevie Ray’s wife from 1979 to 1988] and some friends. It was a different color [brownish-orange] and it had a maple neck. He used it on a lot of different songs, but I especially remember him using it on the recording of Riviera Paradise.

Rene Martinez – MusicRadar interview

Auction

The guitar was put up for auction at the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival on June 24, 2004, and it was sold to Guitar Center for $623,500. The Fender Custom Shop since started producing a limited-edition run of Lenny replicas, all originally sold through Guitar Center for $17,000.

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