With thousands of guitars on display Friday night, the Dallas International Guitar Festival had an ax to fit just about anyone’s needs. But rather than waste time with the models I could find at any guitar shop, I went in search of the most expensive one I could find. Looking through that many guitars takes time, but for about an hour I thought I had found one that couldn’t be topped: a blonde 1958 Fender Stratocaster. Asking price: $56,000.
Surely nothing could top that, right? Well, sure enough, at one of the last tables I passed, one did. Gary’s Classic Guitars brought in a vintage Strat, but this one was from 1954. And the extra years meant a few extra bucks, as this one was selling for $59,900.
Both instruments looks like they’ve had a long, productive life. When a guitar gets to be that old, those knicks and scratches begin to look more like signs of character than they do on your brand new guitar.
As pricey as those two are, they aren’t even close to the most valuable guitar at the show. That distinction (in my mind, anyway) goes to a 1951 Broadcaster (the Broadcaster preceded the modern-day Fender Telecaster). This guitar was even older than the other two, but that’s only part of its story.
Its primary claim to fame is that it is one of the first guitars owned by Oak Cliff’s native son Stevie Ray Vaughan (if you’ve made it this far into a post about guitars, I’m guessing you’ve heard of him). The guitar was given to Stevie by his older brother, Jimmie. It’s called the “Jimbo” guitar because Jimmie carved that name into the back of it, before passing it along. Stevie eventually passed it along to someone else and it has traded hands many times over the years. It’s now owned by a California collector. And if you’re wondering how much it’s worth, don’t even think about it: it’s not for sale. But if you head out to the show this weekend, you can take a look at a little piece of blues (and Dallas) history.