As a general rule I would not travel 1000 miles to test out a guitar. As it turned out I flew to Maryland to see my nucleic family. I love my family and it was very therapeutic for my mindset and theirs too. Pardon the interruption, but I also came back with the Flu. Excuse me for the lapse in blogography.
That being said, I happened to play a Fender “Lenny” Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster. How many people can say that? The one that costs $17,500.00. There is a Guitar Center about 5 miles from my parents house and even if there was no Lenny, I would have gone there. Guitar Center has exclusive rights on Lenny as of now.
I don’t want to turn this into an add for Guitar Center. However, If you have never had the opportunity to visit one, don’t blow it. Not that I’ve been to every guitar store in the world, but Guitar Center is the eighth wonder of the world!
I was greeted by nice people. The store I went to in Rockville, Maryland was voted store of the region in 2007, and quite frankly it showed in terms of the beautiful monster display rooms and unusually well trained sales people.
I mulled around looking at and handling guitars that were beyond my imagination. My goal was Lenny, a very nice and well informed young man names Alex W. led me to the “Platinum Room”. He told me “there she is man, have at it”. Nothing in that room cost less than $10,000.
Bashful I’m not. The first thing noticeable about this Strat was how light in weight it is. I have several Stratocasters and needless to say have handled hundreds of them. It has an Alder wood body as does my Clapton Fender Stratocaster. So I don’t know why it is so light, but I like light guitars!
What other notable features did Lenny have? The neck itself is quite narrow, (people familiar with Ray’s other guitars know about the wide boat neck and Pao Ferro Fretbord he was noted for). XX Super jumbo frets filled the fret grooves. the whole setup and low action of the guitar is a testimonial to the time involved in duplicating this instrument. No adjustments necessary.
As beat up as the neck was, meaning the back was very worn and the sides had chips and bang marks up and down, I had no trouble playing Lenny. The fact that it played so well and did everything I asked it to do effortlessly caused me to forget about the imperfections I mentioned. I was zoning and people were listening! You can buy one and read more about the detailed cosmetics of this guitar at GuitarCenter.com.
But I’m here to say that this is one of the finest feeling, playing and sounding guitars I have ever had the honor of playing. Even unplugged it releases the most beautiful tones of almost any guitar in my experience. I won’t swear to it, but I don’t think it had thirteen gauge strings on it. They were lighter, such as eleven gauge. Stevie was known for using bridge support wires as strings.
Actually, just feeling it up made me pitch a tent. this guitar plays like butter. the neck is easy and fast. Stevie is not what you would call a shredder, although, not to many people can pick the beautiful notes and express them faster than Stevie Ray. The controls work perfectly and have an SRV sound that gave me goose-bumps. The finish and other original features were exactly as described above.
This guitar is not about building a guitar that Ray would endorse. It’s about reproducing exactly the same instrument that Stevie Ray assembled and setup for himself. A great guitar maker can put all the soul and craftsmanship in a guitar that is in his heart, but no one can put the artists soul in the instrument, except the guy playing it.
Plugged it into a Fender Twin amp and Stevie Rays spirit entered my body. Both Stevie Ray and Jimi are like soul mates to me. There are no words spoken or notes played by either of these two freaks I don’t understand and associate with. Maybe we came from Venus and have the Voodoochild vibe going. I certainly can’t play like them, but the spirit and emotion I felt gave me a better understanding of the thoughts and life Stevie Ray lived, RIP. I played it for bout 30 minutes and then had to give it up. I can’t afford one, and those irrational thoughts of how to buy one were entering my head! That is when I had to put it back in the showcase.
The bulk of us could never afford a guitar that costs so much. If I won the lottery, you can bet I’d have one of these on a guitar stand at home. To me it is also a testimonial of what a great and beautiful guitar the Fender Stratocaster is. The guitar and artists that influenced me prove that.
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