LEGENDARY BLUESMAN USED FENDER BROADCASTER TO DEVELOP STYLE, LAUNCH CAREER
Stevie Ray Vaughan merged a smoldering technique with deep soul to develop a sound unrivaled since the days of Jimi Hendrix.
Emerging from the hotbed of Texas blues, Vaughan’s tragic death in a helicopter crash silenced one of the great musical talents of the rock era.
“Stevie Ray will always be remembered for his raw talent, passion and innovation,” says Garry Shrum, consignment director for Heritage Auctions’ entertainment and music department. “It’s why Rolling Stone ranks him among the greatest guitarists of all time. Almost 30 years after his death, Stevie lives on in the hearts of millions of people around the globe.”
Born in Dallas, Vaughan (1954-1990) began playing guitar at the age of 7, using hand-me-down guitars from older brother Jimmie Vaughan (co-founder of the Fabulous Thunderbirds) to develop his unique style early on. Likely the most important of those guitars was his 1951 Fender Broadcaster. Jimmie had carved his nickname “Jimbo” on the back. Stevie made the guitar his own by scratching his name on the headstock.
The significance of the “Jimbo” guitar cannot be overstated, Shrum says. “This was Stevie’s first Fender guitar, a brand he favored from that moment on. It’s the guitar he played to develop his style and launch his career.”
“This guitar was Stevie’s only guitar in the formative years of approximately late 1968 to early 1971, and was really his first quality instrument,” adds Craig Hopkins, author of Stevie Ray Vaughan: Day By Day, Night After Night. “It was with ‘Jimbo’ that he played in some of his earliest professional bands … the Southern Distributor, Liberation and Lincoln.”
In a 1989 interview, the six-time Grammy winner expressed regret over having traded “Jimbo” away, and that he would pay a handsome price to get it back. After years in a private collection, “Jimbo” is being offered at Heritage’s April 2018 entertainment auction. It’s expected to realize at least $400,000.
The guitar comes with a CD of the earliest-known recording of Stevie Ray Vaughan from 1969 (a live recording), and his first studio recordings from 1970.
This Fender Broadcaster is believed to be one of only two of Stevie’s primary stage guitars to come to market in the past 27 years. In 2004, one of Vaughan’s Stratocasters sold at auction for $623,500.