July 25, 2021

A Review of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Lesser-Known Guitars – Future

We share an excerpt from an article published on Reverb.

Few guitarists have the same amount of content written about them as Stevie Ray Vaughan. At the peak of his success, Stevie represented a multicultural revival of the blues thanks to his magical combination of the styles of Albert King, Jimi Hendrix, Dick Dale, and Duane Eddy. A combination that remains debated and frequently imitated to this day.

There is much of his legend that is well known and very well documented, but there are also details that are not explored often. We could fill an entire article with stories about him, but today, on his birthday, we’re going to talk about Stevie’s greatest passion, his guitars.

Stevie Ray Vaughan obviously has a great relationship with Stratocasters, but actually he also used a wide variety of guitars live and in the studio. In this article you will find information and descriptions of several that never had the same appreciation as their legendary Strats.

  • 1951 Fender Esquire, Jimbo

When we were considering this article, we hardly included this guitar as it has received quite a bit of attention recently. However, a conversation about Stevie’s collection wouldn’t be complete without mentioning “Jimbo.”

Although in most of his photos it appears to be a Telecaster, this guitar is an Esquire built in 1951, which did not even belong to Stevie, but to Jimmie Vaughan (the Emperor of Austin Cool), his older brother. Its name comes from the scratches made by Jimmie which say “Jimbo” on the back of the body.

1951 Fender Esquire, Jimbo

Jimbo was Stevie’s lead guitar until the end of 1970. SRV personally modified it, stripping it and installing a pickup. Instead of having a dedicated control for volume and one for tone like a typical Telecaster, Jimbo has two controls for altering the volume.

According to the story, Stevie was afraid that his brother would find out about the modifications. Jimmie, like any older brother, normally expressed his love through force, and that tendency was what supposedly inspired Stevie to trade Jimbo for the next guitar on our list.

  • Epiphone Riviera del 1963

Like many guitarists, Stevie was usually looking for a guitar that called him. Somewhere in the second half of the 70s, he found one.

Stevie was seen playing the red and white semi-hollow guitar for the first time Epiphone Riviera live on January 14, 1971 with the band Pecos. He was also seen with this guitar on other projects including Blackbird, The Nightcrawlers, and Krackerjack.

Epiphone Riviera 1963

Before Stevie began his romance with Strats, the Riviera was one of his lead guitars and remained in his collection long after he stopped playing it. Over the years she was captured in photos with and without the beater. He reappeared in a video a decade after his debut on a live version of “Hideaway” featuring two rappers, one on each side.

Stevie traded most of his guitars at Ray Hennig’s Heart of Texas Music Shop, but the Epiphone was acquired through one of his friends. According to the story, Stevie regretted getting rid of Jimbo and tried to get her back for more than 20 years.

Although the Riviera was not necessarily Stevie’s favorite guitar, it is still significant and is just one example of his little-known guitars.

  • Prototipo Rickenbacker 360 Capri , “Stingray”

Another guitar that Stevie tested was a prototype of a Rickenbacker 360 flat-top, and he did things with it that he shouldn’t have been able to.

According to Craig Hopkins Day By Day, Night After Night, one of the most important sources of information for this article, Billy Gibbons fell in love with the guitar when he saw Stevie play it in 1977, and wanted to give it a try. After playing it Gibbons thought that the guitar was untouchable. The strings were too far from the fretboard and the frets too thick for Gibbons to be able to play it effectively.

1950s Rickenbacker 360 Capri Prototype

Considering the evidence that exists in the form of photos, this guitar appears to have been Stevie’s lead guitar on Triple Threat Revue and during his time playing with Hubert Sumlin. Stevie eventually gifted the guitar to Sumlin shortly before it was stolen.

Stevie somehow got it back after learning she was missing and personally returned it to Sumlin in Austin before one of his shows at Antone’s. No one can say that Stevie was not a good friend.

And there are still guitars missing. Keep reading the full article here.