Dave Alvin enjoys the “magic” of playing guitar with his trusty 1964 Fender Stratocaster. Much of that wear was put on by Alvin, with the help of flying beer bottles. When the fretboard was nearly worn out, Alvin’s friend Drac Conley built him the replica that he takes on tour today.

Photo by Chip Duden Photography

The guitarist and songwriter came up in Southern California’s fertile music scene to play in the Blasters and X, and grow a brilliant solo career as a Strat-slinging storyteller. Today, he’s an American-music legend.

Is Dave Alvin a guitarist or a medium? Listening to him play live, it’s hard to decide. Sure, there’s a custom copy of his beloved ’64 Strat in his hands, pumping loud and salty through an ’80s, Paul Rivera-made Fender Concert. But, rather than simply playing, he seems to be channeling every foundational 6-stringer from the 1940s through the 1960s.

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