LAS VEGAS, Nev. – (Nov. 13, 2007) — On Nov. 5, Fender® hosted a gala event in Las Vegas for over 300 Guitar Center store managers to celebrate the upcoming launch of the “Lenny” Stratocaster guitar. The celebration took place on top of the Rio Hotel at the Voodoo Lounge nightclub in Las Vegas. The event was highlighted by live music performances, video highlight packages and an appearance by Danny Mantle, son of baseball great and cultural icon, Mickey Mantle.
Pictured (L to R): Bill Mendello, Chairman and CEO of Fender Musical Instruments Corp.; Danny Mantle; and Marty Albertson, Chairman and CEO of Guitar Center, Inc.
In a historic collaboration among Fender®, Guitar Center® and the Stevie Ray Vaughan estate, the Stevie Ray Vaughan “Lenny” Stratocaster® guitar has been commissioned by Guitar Center to be reproduced in a limited edition by the Fender Custom Shop. As part of Fender’s Tribute Series of guitars, “Lenny” will be produced in a limited quantity, with 185 guitars offered for sale in the United States, made available exclusively through Guitar Center. Guitar Center stores throughout the United States will introduce the guitar on Dec. 12, 2007, and will offer them to customers for $17,000 (U.S.).
This storied addition to the Custom Shop Tribute Series features an intricate reproduction of “Lenny” down to the smallest of details—from the reflective “SRV” stickers on the body to the battered headstock, the autograph that Stevie himself etched into the neck plate, and even an autograph from legendary baseball great, Mickey Mantle who notably autographed the guitar during a chance meeting with Stevie in Houston in 1985.
“Stevie Ray Vaughan and my father had a lot in common. Both men were the perfect craftsmen with their instruments—Stevie with his guitar and my father with his bat,” said Danny Mantle during comments to the crowd. “The Mantle family is honored to be associated with this amazing project.”
The original “Lenny” guitar is a universally recognizable 1965 Fender Stratocaster, named after Stevie’s wife at the time “Lenny” Vaughan and used to write and record the namesake love song. One of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s favorite instruments, the guitar itself has an almost mystical heritage that can be traced back to the very beginning of Vaughan’s rise to stardom. Throughout his career, the “Lenny” guitar traveled with Vaughan almost everywhere he went, and it was Guitar Center, the world’s largest musical instrument retailer, who purchased the original guitar for $623,500 at a 2004 Christie’s auction that benefited the Crossroads Centre, Antigua, a charitable organization founded by Eric Clapton. More information on the guitar’s journey can be found at www.fender.com/lenny and www.guitarcenter.com/lenny.