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Stevie Ray Vaughan's Guitar called "Lenny"

Another readily identifiable guitar in Stevie's arsenal of axes was the brownish-orange 1963 or 1964 maple-neck Strat he called "Lenny". This was another guitar that, over the years, produced Stevie's trademark jazz-like tones on songs such as "Lenny" and "Riviera Paradise."

Lenny, the guitar, is named after Stevie's ex-wife. Legend has it that Stevie found this guitar in an Oak Cliff pawnshop, but couldn't afford it. Byron Barr, one of Stevie's roadies at the time, ended up buying the guitar. Byron and Lenny presented it to Stevie for his birthday, with the agreement that Lenny would reimburse Byron. She started a pool among friends to collect the money, but never did receive enough. In the end, Stevie repaid Byron, himself, with some cash and a leather jacket.

Lenny, the guitar, originally came with a fairly thin rosewood neck. Stevie ended up replacing the neck with a thicker non-Fender maple neck, given to him by Billy Gibbons. He kept the right-hand vibrato, and set it to both pull up and push down, unlike Number One. Lenny was also strung lighter, but only by one step or so. He only used four springs in the vibrato.

Stevie kept the stock pickups in Lenny. These pickups were also microphonic (meaning, if you would tap them with your finger, you would hear that sound coming through the amp). These pickups, combined with the maple neck and slightly lighter strings, gave Lenny that characteristically sweet, bright, ringing tone that is immediately identifiable as a Strat. Stevie loved to use this guitar for songs played softly, and regularly finger-picked solos to even further soften the tone.

Lenny didn't change much through the years. One thing Stevie did was to add a filigree-style decal at the bridge, and add his "SRV" initials on the pickguard. He did this sometime after 1986.

Information and comments pulled from archived TexasFlood mailing list digests.

Lenny was a gift from his then-girlfriend, later-wife. It was a maple-neck 1962, I believe, to which Stevie later did some mild hot-rodding. It was a right-hand model, but I think the neck was changed later to a left-hand neck. I remember that several of his guitars were damaged in a stage accident where some lighting fell from the rafters, but I don't remember if Lenny was one of those guitars damaged (Number 1 *was* damaged, though). He definitely used Lenny on his song "Lenny," and later on "Riviera Paradise." If you have the El Mocambo video, he plays Lenny on "Lenny." BTW, his wife's name was Lenny, short for Lenore or Leonore, something like that.

It was a sound baffle that crushed the guitars (and nearly Rene Martinez) at the Garden State Arts Center (Homedale, NJ) in the summer of 1990.

Note from Elenor: This "renaming" of Lenny as Scotch seems unlikely, based on all the other 'stuff' I've read in the archives. But I don't know whose comment this was and whether they had any new info. See the file on the guitar called Scotch too.

 

"Lenny" on the El Mocambo video is played on Lenny, as is "Riviera Paradise" on ACL 1990 video. After Stevie split with Lenny, his wife, he usually called the guitar "Scotch." Also, he added a filigree decal at the bridge. The color is sort of a butterscotch or "burnt orange" kind of a color with a maple-neck. For you gearheads, I think he also had a brass nut installed on Lenny (the guitar, that is!) Lenny was given to him as a birthday gift from his wife and another friend (Byron Barr). I think the story goes that she never paid back whoever found and bought the guitar, and later Stevie traded a leather jacket for it to pay off the debt. So, he ended up paying for his own birthday gift.

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