Blues Legend Stevie Ray Vaughan’s First Guitar Sold for US$250,000

A 1951 Fender No-caster once belonged to blues-rock legend Stevie Ray Vaughan sold for US$250,000 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. It was the first professional-grade electric guitar used by Vaughan in his first studio recording and served as his primary stage guitar during the formative years of his career.

Stevie Ray Vaughan (1954-1990), born and raised in Dallas, Texas, was one of the most influential guitarists in the revival of blues in the 1980s. Stevie began playing guitar at the age of seven, inspired by his older brother Jimmie, the founder of the Fabulous Thunderbirds. There is an interesting story about how Stevie received his first professional-grade guitar, the one offered at the current sale.

The guitar, carved ‘Jimbo’ into the back of the body, was gifted to Stevie in 1966 when he was 12 years old. He was in the habit of borrowing his brother guitars without asking permission. To solve the problem, Jimmie decided to gift the ‘Jimbo’ guitar to Stevie so that perhaps he would leave Jimmie's other instruments alone.

The guitar had been in Stevie’s possession until 1971, when he traded it to North Texas music teacher Geoff Appold for a red Epiphone. When he and Appold crossed paths years later, Stevie inquired about "Jimbo", and learned the guitar had been traded.

In a 1989 interview, Stevie reminisced about the long-lost guitar: “Still looking for it, by the way! So if somebody finds a guitar that says 'Jimbo' on the back and it's the right one, it's the real deal - you can come rape me for it, or my pocketbook anyway!".

Stevie (the second one from the right) playing his Fender No-caster

Unfortunately, Stevie didn’t get the chance to reunite with his ‘Jimbo’ guitar. He died in a helicopter crash in 1990 at the age of 35.


Stevie Ray Vaughan Owned and Staged-Played ‘Jimbo’ Electric Guitar

Auction house: Heritage Auctions
Location: Dallas
Sale date: 2018/4/15
Price realized: US$250,000