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April 29: Springfest, University
of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.
Presented with the Hamiltone
guitar by Jim Hamilton, a gift
from Billy Gibbons.
A fan from Burlington, Canada, B. Michenko, was there when Stevie first used the Hamiltone guitar. “Stevie opened with the Lenny guitar and then moved on to the Hamiltone. He had a hard time with the high E string on this guitar, and I vividly recall how he speared the headstock down to the stage floor several times during a solo. Watching this, I wasn’t sure if he was frustrated or doing it for a sound effect.
“Equally memorable was how Stevie played to the fireworks which started about one hour into the show, high behind the stage. Spontaneously fitting this visual into the solo, Stevie bent and seared notes, timing them to the arch and explosion. This went on for two or three songs, if I remember correctly. I can’t tell you how impressed I was.”
Vaughan’s “lipstick” guitar. © Wayne Blagdon
Sometime in 1983 or early 1984, Charley Wirz made Stevie a white guitar with “lipstick” pickups, which became one of Stevie’s primary guitars for the rest of his career. Mark Pollock, musician: “I saw it being built. Charley had made one for Jimmie, and he was like a proud father! They were both being built, and I think they were DiMarzio parts. Larry DiMarzio was the first guy to start making bodies and necks and pickups in that era. I think Charley told me they were mostly DiMarzio parts, but Van Zandt pickups. It was really like a Frankenstein or parts guitar.” On the neckplate was engraved, “Presented to Stevie Ray Vaughan— More in ’84—Charley.”
Stevie in Japan playing the Gibson Flying V Medallion Edition. © Byron Barr. This 1971 V was made famous by Lonnie Mack. Only 350 were made.
Stevie’s handwritten chord progression for “Lenny,” dated 1985.
Jackson Browne: “Stevie found some gigantic turquoise necklace in the gift shop at the hotel [laughs] and was really caught up in buying this thing … Stevie was such a genuine and unassuming person. All he would claim to know anything about was music.”