December 27, 2007 - Musical instrument retailer, Guitar Center introduced the Stevie Ray Vaughan "Lenny" electric guitar (http://gc.guitarcenter.com/guitars/legends-collection/legends-lenny.cfm)from the Fender Custom Shop Tribute Series on December 12th. With a $17,000 price tag, the Stratocaster guitar is an exact copy of the guitar played by the late Texas bluesman. This Fender electric guitar was created through a historic collaboration involving Guitar Center, Fender, and the Stevie Ray Vaughan estate. Sold in the United States only through Guitar Center, "Lenny" was commissioned by Guitar Center (http://www.guitarcenter.com) to be reproduced in a limited quantity of 185 guitars. More information on the electric guitar's legacy can be found at http://www.Fender.com/lenny.
"Lenny" is a recreation of the original guitar incorporating all of its details including a customized neck that was a gift from ZZ Top's Billy F Gibbons, the reflective "SRV" stickers on the body, the battered headstock, Stevie Ray Vaughan's hand-carved autograph etched into the neck plate, and even an autograph from Yankees baseball great, Mickey Mantle commemorating their chance meeting at a Houston Astros game in 1985.
The "Lenny" electric guitar's most notable feature is a batwing-shaped inlay behind the bridge, believed to be from a 1910 Italian mandolin pickguard and reproduced in exact detail for the replica. The original '65 sunburst finish was removed by heavy sanding, giving "Lenny" a more rounded contoured body. Subsequently refinished, the original sunburst finish still peeks through the clear mahogany lacquer. Guitar center also showcases detailed images and description of the "Lenny" Stratocaster guitar (http://gc.guitarcenter.com/guitars/legends-collection/legends-lenny.cfm).
"Guitar Center is both thrilled and privileged to be able to offer Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'Lenny' Fender Stratocaster to the world," said Keith Brawley, Guitar Center vice president of merchandising for guitars and amplifiers. "Stevie Ray Vaughan's fans are among the most loyal and passionate guitar lovers in the world. The 'Lenny' Stratocaster, Stevie's main instrument for his love songs, is a truly fascinating guitar that has, as part of its DNA, a tender, personal love story and an incredibly colorful and touching history."
The original "Lenny" guitar is a universally recognizable Fender Stratocaster, best known for its uniquely bright and powerful tone and known as one of Stevie Ray Vaughan's favorite instruments throughout his entire career. The original guitar was deeply entwined in Vaughan's own biography, tracing back to the beginning of his rise to stardom.
Stevie Ray Vaughan was just a struggling young guitarist in Austin, Texas, in 1980, when a used Stratocaster had recently caught his eye in a local pawnshop. It was a 1965 model with the original pickups that, from the look of it, had seen better days. Nonetheless, there was something about it that immediately resonated with Vaughan.
His wife, Lenora "Lenny" Vaughan, along with seven friends pooled their money to buy the Stratocaster and gave it to Stevie Ray Vaughan on his birthday during a celebration at a local Austin nightclub. He was thrilled. Vaughan took the guitar home and, sometime that night, as Lenora slept, wrote a new song on it. In the morning, Lenora Vaughan remembers, "He was sitting on the edge of the bed with the guitar and said, 'Listen to this.'" He played her the song he had written that night, the song that fans everywhere know as "Lenny."
"It was beautiful," Lenora said. "I've never once in my life listened to that song without crying."
The song later became one of Vaughan's most well-known instrumental pieces, and he continued to perform it exclusively on the "Lenny" guitar. "This guitar had very special meaning to Stevie," said Mike Eldred, Fender Custom Division sales and marketing director. "He had it throughout his career; he took it everywhere, and during each show, he stopped, sat down on the stage, and played that song, on that guitar. It's like he was holding on to that very special time before he was a star, and just didn't want to let that part of his life go."
Stevie Ray Vaughan's original "Lenny" guitar was bought for $623,500 by Guitar Center at a 2004 Christie's auction that benefited the Crossroads Centre, Antigua, a charitable organization founded by Eric Clapton.
Guitar Center also carries the Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster Electric Guitar (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Fender-Artist-Series-Stevie-Ray-Vaughan-Stratocaster-Electric-Guitar-100285454-i1146253.gc), which is based-on Vaughan's "Number One" Stratocaster. It features an oval neck shape, three Texas Special single coils, Stevie's unique left-handed tremolo, and special engraved pickguard.
More memorabilia is available at Guitar Center like the Stevie Ray Vaughan's Greatest Hits DVD (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Hal-Leonard-Stevie-Ray-Vaughan-s-Greatest-Hits-DVD-102221199-i1161127.gc) along with two guitar tab books: the Lightnin' Blues Guitar Tab Book (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Hal-Leonard-Stevie-Ray-Vaughan-Lightnin--Blues-1983-1987-Book-100022100-i1156259.gc) and the Texas Flood Guitar Tab Book (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Hal-Leonard-Stevie-Ray-Vaughan-Texas-Flood-Book-100131926-i1157289.gc) which includes tablature for the song "Lenny".
About Guitar Center:
Guitar Center, Inc. is the leading United States retailer of guitars, amplifiers, percussion instruments, keyboards and pro-audio and recording equipment. Their retail store subsidiary presently operates more than 210 Guitar Center stores across the United States. In addition, our Music & Arts division operates more than 95 stores specializing in band instruments for sale and rental, serving teachers, band directors, college professors and students. More information on Guitar Center can be found by visiting the Company's web site at http://www.guitarcenter.com.