I was just beginning to wonder whether we’d see anything new from Fender before Winter NAMM, only to discover this morning that the company had announced yet another pre-determined collector’s item––the Stevie Ray Vaughan “Lenny” Stratocaster.
Part of Fender’s illustrious Tribute Series, the SRV “Lenny” Strat is apparently being commissioned by Guitar Center––which purchased Stevie’s original “Lenny” for some $623,500 back in 2004––and is to be built by the Fender Custom Shop in an extremely limited (read: lucrative) run of just 185 instruments for the US market.
a bit of history… The guitar, originally a maple-neck ’65 Strat with a rosewood fretboard, was purchased for SRV by his wife Lenora (“Lenny”) at a pawn shop in Texas for $300––she gave it to Stevie for his 26th birthday. According to Lenora, Stevie wrote the song Lenny that very same night, and played it for his wife the next morning (you can watch him play it live here.)
Ultimately, “Lenny” would see a neck replacement (ZZ Top’s Billy F. Gibbons is said to have given SRV the maple-fretboard neck as a present,) and even manage to be signed by baseball legend Mickey Mantle in 1985, when Stevie was invited to play the national anthem at the Houston Astrodome.
After Stevie Ray Vaughan’s tragic death in a helicopter crash in 1990, “Lenny” became the only guitar from his estate to be offered up to the public… it was auctioned off to benefit Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Center, with the highest bid going to Guitar Center.
the tribute As with the other guitars in Fender’s Tribute Series (the Jeff Beck Esquire, Eric Clapton “Blackie,” and most recently the Andy Summers Tele,) the Stevie Ray Vaughan “Lenny” Strat is being painstakingly reproduced in all its beat up glory.
The guitar will bear every nick and scratch found on the original, not to mention the intricate custom inlay beneath the bridge, damaged headstock, “Steve Ray Vaughan ’80” signature scrawled into the neckplate, Mickey Mantle signature on the back, and trademark reflective SRV stickers on the pickguard.
The guitar goes on sale December 12th, and will be available exclusively through Guitar Center. So far there’s been no word on pricing, but the instrument will be available for viewing at select Guitar Center stores beginning November 30th. See Fender’s official “Where To Buy” page for details.