This Guitar Is Available As A
Number One (also known as Vaughan's 'First Wife') was a Fender Stratocaster
used by Vaughan for most of his career. It was originally claimed to be a
1959 model, but when making the Fender Stevie Ray Vaughan Number One Tribute
Stratocaster, the Fender Custom Shop discovered the body was dated 1963.
Therefore, it can rightly be called a 1963 Stratocaster. After purchasing
the instrument in 1973 from Ray Henning's Heart of Texas music shop in
Austin, Texas, it was his main performing instrument and companion. Vaughan
made heavy use of the guitar on all five of his studio albums and on 'Family
Style' - an album recorded with his brother Jimmie shortly before his death
Soon after he got the guitar, Vaughan tried to change the guitar over to a
'left-handed' tremolo to imitate one of his idols,
Jimi Hendrix. Because the quality of his
'transformation' was so poor, he went to a truck stop to find something to
cover the giant hole he chopped in the body, hence the "CUSTOM" sticker
across the bottom of the bridge. He also found some large, prismatic
stickers to spell his initials "SRV" on and applied those to the guitar for
a little extra flash. His use of the stickers make Number One one of the
most recognizable guitars in the history of modern music.
"Number One" had a neck relief of .012" at the 7th and 9th frets, and
leveled out through the remainder of the fingerboard. The fingerboard radius
is 10" and used Dunlop 6100 fretwire. String height was measured to be 5/64"
on the high E string and 7/64" on the low E string. Each string had 3 full
winds for the best angle at the bone nut.
Stevie wasn't picky on string brand, but was well known for using GHS Nickel
Rockers of heavy gauge, partly for tone and partly because his fretting and
strumming were so strong he often snapped strings while playing. He changed
around gauges often, depending on the condition of his fingers, but always
favored the following gauges:
1st string: .013"
2nd string: .015"
3rd string: .019"
4th string: .028"
5th string: .038"
6th string: .058"
Because he broke vibrato arms often and the threads were difficult to
remove, Stevie's roadie, Byron Barr, had his father make custom vibrato arms
made of stainless steel and added a small wad of cotton at the bottom of the
block hole to prevent stripping and ease removal of broken bars. Because
Vaughan didn't like the floating bridge, it was set flush with the body, to
eliminate the sharp edge where the string contacts the metal. He used 5
springs on the vibrato system tightened almost all the way.
Number One is currently in the possession of Jimmie Vaughan, Stevie Ray's
brother (After Stevie's death, Rene Martinez put the original neck back on
Number One and presented it to the Vaughan family), although there were
rumors that Number One had been buried with Stevie in Dallas. There are also
rumours the guitar has been sold to the owner of the SAE Institute, a world
wide company that educates people for sound related jobs in both live and
recorded music and film.
Stevie collaborated with Fender for an Artist Signature model before his
untimely death in 1990. His favorite old battered 1963 Strat served as a
basis for the Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature model Stratocaster, first
introduced in 1992.
The Fender Custom Shop produced a faithful representation of Number One as a
part of the Tribute series in 2004. This limited-edition Tribute
Stratocaster guitar was made in a global run of only 100 instruments.