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  1. #1
    Good Enough Hecubus's Avatar
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    Default SRV's Number One

    From Guitar Player January '04

    The SRV Tribute is the latest addition to Fender's most exclusive line of custom instruments: the Tribute Series. Vaughan's Number One joins nearly exact duplicates of guitars played by Muddy Waters, Rory Gallagher, Jimi Hendrix, and a handful of other six string superstars. The idea of an SRV Tribute model had been in the works for a while, but due to his busy schedule, Jimmie Vaughan was only recently able to make his brother's guitar available for examination. When the time came, however, Custom Shop Marketing Manager Mike Eldred, Design Group Manager George Blanda, and Vice President of Marketing Richard McDonald flew to Austin and met with Vaughan and his personal manager Cory Moore, who brought Stevie Ray's fabled strat to their hotel room. The Fender team spent the day looking at the guitar, weighing it with a digital scale, measuring the pickups, and otherwise dissecting and documenting the instrument. Once back at the custom shop, Eldred hand picked the bodies and neck blanks for three prototypes, and the cloning procees began.

    Only 100 instruments will be made, with their hefty $10,000 price tag reflecting the craftsmanship and attention to detail embodied in each. I spoke with Eldred in October, as the Custom Shop was preparing to go into production.

    GP: What features were unique to the SRV Number One?

    ME: The thing that struck me the most was the amount of wear on the guitar. The damage to the body was just from him playing it and bouncing it around the floor and all the things he would do with it. For example, whole chunks on one side were just ripped out. **Another thing was that we understood the neck had been replaced by (master luthier) Rene Martinez after the original neck was shattered by a falling lighting truss. The neck was REALLY beat up, which made us wonder why a cleaner one hadn't been used--but as we looked more closely we noticed some really peculiar things about the headstock, and eventually realized that the original neck had been REPAIRED rather than replaced. We believe the repair was done by Martinez, but it's unconfirmed.**

    GP: How badly was the neck damaged?

    ME: It was pretty bad. Basically the entire headstock was replaced, which is difficult to do on a Fender guitar because it's all cut out of one piece of wood. It's a very intense repair. there was a thin glue line along one side, and they had actually milled out a piece of the neck and spliced in another piece of wood. Whoever did the work, I want to meet them, because the repair is SO good.

    GP: Were there any other distinguishing features?

    ME: Not really. Everything was pretty normal. When somebody replaced the right hand vibrato with the left hand one they made a couple of mistakes on the routing--I don't know if Stevie did it himself, but the work was not as good as the headstock repair! They had actually cut the wrong piece of the body and there's a plug to disguise it--and we will recreate that as well.

    GP: Everything else was just stock?

    ME: The guitar had been re-fretted with bigger frets, probably 3 or 4 times. The tuning keys had also been changed. The pickups looked like they were stock, but they had been shielded.

    GP: What year was the guitar manufactured?

    ME: The neck is dated December '62 and the body is a '63, but nothing's been changed--we believe the guitar came from the factory like that. People had said in the past that it was a '59 body, but it's not.

    GP: Did you use any New Old Stock parts or were they recreated from scratch?

    ME: We have all the original dies and drill and punch presses, and a lot of the other original machinery here at the Custom Shop. For example, we have the '51 P-Bass bridge cover die out there, and when I show that to people, they freak out. All the parts we make here are the same as we made inthe '50's and '60's, using the same materials, so it was really easy to just go out & grab a part.

    GP: What was the most difficult part of the process?

    ME: As with all Tribute Series guitars, there's a point where you just say "OK" and hand them back, and THAT'S the hard part. At one point, Richard sat down and just started playing the guitar--really PLAYING it--and then he handed it back and said, "I thinkthat guitar wanted to have that done to it." Because when you looked at the guitar, you know it had been WORKED.
    ++++++++++
    Q: Recording the album took so long your Australian tour last year was cancelled. What was it like in the studio? There's a history of tension between you and Eddie Van Halen...

    DLR: It was like a stand off in a Chuck Norris movie. We each had the laser dot on everybody's forehead waiting for the other guy to blink. Except for Wolfie, he had a Super Soaker ...

  2. #2
    Niners Fan! SactoFan's Avatar
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    Thanks, Hec!!
    Can't stop...addicted to the shindig...

  3. #3
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    12.19.16 @ 05:15 PM
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    There is nothing more beautiful than a guitar that has had the finish played off it.

  4. #4
    Good Enough Hecubus's Avatar
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    No prob, Sacto. When I got home I had planned on just typing up the main points of the article, but when I re-read it, it was just too damned good to chop up.
    Q: Recording the album took so long your Australian tour last year was cancelled. What was it like in the studio? There's a history of tension between you and Eddie Van Halen...

    DLR: It was like a stand off in a Chuck Norris movie. We each had the laser dot on everybody's forehead waiting for the other guy to blink. Except for Wolfie, he had a Super Soaker ...

  5. #5
    Niners Fan! SactoFan's Avatar
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    You know, I've always wondered...Stevie strung his guitars with 13's and tuned down to Eb. Could a Strat neck be set up to tolerate 13's at standard E tuning? What would be involved in that set up? I use 11's myself and have been curious about those 13's for awhile...
    Can't stop...addicted to the shindig...

  6. #6
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    Interesting about the neck. When SRV died and there were all kinds of printed tributes to him, I read about the neck being replaced and felt kind of bummed (it happened just a few months before he died). The replacement must have been temporary while the neck was being fixed.

    I got to see him live in late-July 1990, about three weeks before. Even at the time (age 15) I made note of how amazing of a show I'd just seen. And there was nothing fancy about the show--just SRV with his band, on an outdoor stage with no fancy lighting or anything.

 

 

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