Stevie Ray plays Number One while sitting on the front of an old locomotive during a visit to New Zealand in February 1988. Photo courtesy of Janna LeBlanc

As one of the most influential guitarists to ever pick up a Strat, Stevie Ray Vaughan left a Texas-sized mark on guitardom that is still felt decades after his untimely passing on August 27, 1990. In the early ’80s, his unique brand of Hendrixand Albert King-inspired wailing expanded outside his native Lone Star state, and soon he was on the road and rubbing elbows with his heroes. In Craig Hopkins’ new book, Stevie Ray Vaughan: Day by Day, Night After Night - His Final Years, 1983-1990 [Backbeat Books], you can see a virtual day-by-day account of highlights from the last seven years of SRV’s life. Hopkins conducted several hundred interviews with many of Vaughan’s closest friends and family in an effort to create the definitive work on Vaughan’s legacy. In this exclusive excerpt, you’ll see rare photos of his gear and read about his first gig with a Dumble amp, the story behind the guitar he designed, and the night he broke the neck on his Number One Strat.

August 27, 1983 at the Reading Festival in England. © Mark Hawker

August 22: The Palace, Hollywood, CA. First gig with Dumble amplifiers.
Byron’s Diary [Ed. note: Byron Barr was SRV’s tech during this period] for August 22: “Probably the plushest club I’ve been in yet. Sell out. First gig with Dumble amps. Pretty rough, but we still got great reviews.”

Stevie’s was one of very few Steel String Singers made. It was a “clean,” loud amp (100 or 150 W) with no overdrive section. The standard model used 12AX7 preamplifier tubes and 6L6 power amplifier tubes and a standard Dumble tonestack with an optional tonefilter.

CBS Records convention March 6, 1984, with Jeff Beck (and Fran Christina of the Thunderbirds on drums with Chris). © Jean Krettler/Sony Music

March 6: CBS Records Convention in Honolulu, HI with Jeff Beck
Jack Chase, CBS Records: “That was a big shot or the rest of CBS Records and International to see who Stevie was.” Stevie Ray Vaughan: “We all met up in Hawaii to do this CBS convention, and we rehearsed a couple of times and smoked cigarettes and went crazy and then went and played and just had a blast! [Beck] did this solo in Hawaii that night that was unbelievable. It actually took me watching it on videotape for about a month to really grasp what he played. And whether he’s pulling our leg and he really knows what he’s doing before he does it, I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter. But he finished this solo and got this big grin on his face and stuck his hand in his pocket and stood there for a while like, ‘You can put that one in the bank.’ It was amazing.”

Scuttle Buttin’
Voodoo Chile (Slight Return)
Pride and Joy
Tin Pan Alley
Mary Had A Little Lamb
Love Struck Baby
Couldn’t Stand the Weather
The Things (That) I Used to do (w/ Jimmie Vaughan)
You Were Wrong (Angela Strehli vocal, with Jimmie)
Say You Will (Strehli)
Stang’s Swang
Third Stone from the Sun
Wham! (w/ Jeff Beck and Jimmie)
Hawaiian Isle (w/ Beck)
Don’t Fall for Me (w/ All)
Jeff ’s Boogie (w/ Beck)

Jim Hamilton presenting Stevie his new guitar. Photo courtesy of Jim Hamilton