What Kind of Guitar Did Stevie Ray Vaughan Play

What Kind of Guitar Did Stevie Ray Vaughan Play?

Stevie Ray Vaughan, the legendary American blues guitarist, was known for his powerful playing style, soulful tone, and electrifying performances. His guitar playing skills were unmatched, and he had a profound impact on the world of blues and rock music. One of the most significant aspects of his iconic sound was his choice of guitars. In this article, we will delve into the guitars that Stevie Ray Vaughan played and how they contributed to his distinctive style.

1. Fender Stratocaster: Stevie Ray Vaughan’s signature guitar was the Fender Stratocaster. He was often seen performing with a 1963 Fender Stratocaster that he called “Number One.” This guitar became synonymous with his name and was heavily modified to suit his preferences. It had a sunburst finish, a left-handed tremolo bridge, and a neck from another Fender guitar.

2. Fender Stratocaster (Lenny): Another notable guitar in Stevie Ray Vaughan’s collection was the Fender Stratocaster named “Lenny.” This guitar held a sentimental value for him as he purchased it in 1980 from a pawn shop in Austin, Texas. Lenny had a distinct sound due to its pickups, which were rewound by Vaughan himself.

3. Gibson Firebird: Stevie Ray Vaughan occasionally played a Gibson Firebird, particularly during his earlier career. This guitar gave him a different tone and added versatility to his playing style. The Firebird’s unique design and sound made it a favorite among many guitarists, including Vaughan.

4. National Style O: Another guitar that Stevie Ray Vaughan incorporated into his repertoire was the National Style O. This resonator guitar added a distinct twang and acoustic flavor to his performances. It showcased Vaughan’s ability to adapt to different genres and experiment with various sounds.

5. Charley: “Charley” was a 1963 Fender Stratocaster that Stevie Ray Vaughan acquired in the mid-1980s. It featured a sunburst finish and a rosewood neck. Charley became a staple in his live performances, and its fat, warm tone made it an integral part of his sound.

6. Fender Telecaster: While Stevie Ray Vaughan was predominantly associated with the Stratocaster, he occasionally played a Fender Telecaster as well. The Telecaster’s unique tonal qualities and bright sound added an extra layer of versatility to his playing style.

7. Hamiltone: The Hamiltone was a custom-made guitar that Stevie Ray Vaughan played during the later years of his career. It featured a unique design and sound, which allowed him to explore new sonic territories.

8. Epiphone Riviera: Stevie Ray Vaughan was also known to play an Epiphone Riviera on occasion. This semi-hollow guitar provided a warm and rich tone, and its unique design made it visually appealing.

9. Gretsch 6120: In his earlier days as a musician, Stevie Ray Vaughan played a Gretsch 6120, which was associated with rockabilly and country music. This guitar added a vintage flair to his sound and showcased his versatility as a guitarist.


1. Did Stevie Ray Vaughan play any other guitar brands apart from Fender?
Yes, Stevie Ray Vaughan played guitars from various brands, including Gibson, National, Hamiltone, Epiphone, and Gretsch.

2. Was Stevie Ray Vaughan left-handed?
Although Stevie Ray Vaughan was left-handed, he played right-handed guitars flipped upside down without restringing them.

3. What kind of pickups did Stevie Ray Vaughan use in his guitars?
Stevie Ray Vaughan often used custom-wound pickups. For example, he rewound the pickups in his Fender Stratocaster named “Lenny.”

4. Did Stevie Ray Vaughan use any effects pedals?
Yes, Stevie Ray Vaughan used several effects pedals, including the Ibanez Tube Screamer, Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face, and Vox Wah-Wah pedal.

5. Did Stevie Ray Vaughan prefer vintage guitars?
Yes, Stevie Ray Vaughan had a preference for vintage guitars. He believed they had a unique character and tonal qualities that modern instruments couldn’t replicate.

6. Did Stevie Ray Vaughan play acoustic guitar?
While Stevie Ray Vaughan was primarily known for his electric guitar playing, he occasionally played acoustic guitars, particularly resonators like the National Style O.

7. How many guitars did Stevie Ray Vaughan own?
Stevie Ray Vaughan owned several guitars throughout his career. The exact number is uncertain, but estimates suggest he had around 70 guitars.

8. What gauge strings did Stevie Ray Vaughan use?
Stevie Ray Vaughan used heavy gauge strings, typically .013-.058, which contributed to his powerful and aggressive playing style.

9. Are any of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitars on display?
Yes, some of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitars, including “Number One” and “Lenny,” are on display at the Stevie Ray Vaughan exhibit in the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas.

In conclusion, Stevie Ray Vaughan played a variety of guitars throughout his career, but his most iconic instrument was his heavily modified Fender Stratocaster, known as “Number One.” His choice of guitars, along with his distinctive playing style, contributed to his legendary status and left an indelible mark on the world of blues and rock music.

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