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Buddy Guy's 58 Burst and Bobby D

"He takes one look at the guitar, and says 'Son, I want you to hang around 'til after my show-- I wanna TALK to you.'"

Buddy Guy's 58, 3 color burst, maple Stratocaster
All post images provided by Bobby DeVito

In response to yesterday's post about Buddy Guy's upcoming "Living Proof" release, our friend Bobby D let me know about his experience with Buddy and a certain '58 Strat. You'll wanna read that post (previous link) first to appreciate both the title and the Strat's hang tag message in the story below.  jp

That's MY old '58 laying in bed with him!
by Bobby DeVito

I was working with Silvertone Records/BMG back in 1995, and did a show with Buddy at Sarasota Blues Fest.

A couple of years prior, I had gotten the vintage Strat "bug" again...
(after my experience with Eric Gales in 1991), and bought this '58 sunburst 3 color maple neck Strat. Buddy was my hero, as he was such a direct inspiration on JIMI, and had my kinda blues style.

So I bought this beautiful, road worn looking '58 Strat from Willie's Vintage Guitars up in MN. It came with a hang tag (that I still have) which read "Say goodbye to your wife, THIS is your new DATE!"

I did a lot of shows with it, as well as some photo shoots and press things. It was a sexy guitar. When I went to NYC to showcase LVX NOVA, this was the guitar I used, and I also had Roger Sadowsky set it up and fix a few things here and there, back when he would work on something that did not have his name on the headstock.

So I go to work the Buddy Guy show, and bring my Strat. Before Buddy goes on, I show him my Strat and ask him if he'll sign it. He takes one look at the guitar, and says "Son, I want you to hang around 'til after my show-- I wanna TALK to you." Buddy has his road manager stick a folding chair BEHIND HIS AMPS onstage, and plunks me down there. Thru the show, Buddy would look back to make sure I was still there, and smile at me.

After the show was over, we go onto Buddy's bus and share a few glasses of Remy XO cognac and talk some Blues guitar.

Buddy tells me, "Son, I want that guitar. I will give you ANY of my guitars that I got with me for THAT guitar."

I told him, "Well Buddy, what you got here is a bunch of custom shop Fender Strats... which are cool... but this here is a REAL '58... I'm gonna need me some spending money along with one of your guitars."

He was determined... and eventually gave me a large pile of cash, and I picked out the RED Buddy Guy Strat with polka dots. He had several black ones, but only ONE red one, and it was on the cover of Guitar Player Magazine in 1994, and was sorta unique.

ed note: November '94 GP cover featured Buddy Guy & Otis Rush. 

On my way home, I stopped at a Blues jam in St. Petersburg, walked on stage with the *red polka dot guitar, and said, "I got Buddy Guy's guitar and I'm gonna play it NOW". The guys laughed, then saw the guitar, and said "OK man..."

The whole experience made me wonder, "WHY did Buddy want THAT '58 strat so bad?" I began to do some research, and noticed old photos of Buddy from the early 60s, where he played a 3 color 58 sunburst Strat with maple neck. They only made them like this for ONE YEAR.....from spring 58 to early 59, then they changed to rosewood fingerboards. 57 Strats had two color sunburst with maple necks. ONLY IN 58 and early 59 did they have 3 color sunburst with a maple neck. Obscure knowledge...

More research led me to articles from the 70's, where Buddy remarked that his FAVORITE guitar, a '58 Strat, was stolen from him on the road in early 70s. I found album covers like "A Man and the Blues" where Buddy had posed with his '58 Strat -- and noticed common wear marks between the two guitars. Aha!

So, Buddy being the gentleman that he is, and knowing that I was a fan of his and had paid GOOD money for that guitar, never once said anything about my '58 Strat being his stolen guitar. He just did what he had to do to make me happy with a deal. Which included the red polka dot Strat, a pile of cash in 20's (it was a state fair kinda gig), and several glasses of Remy XO, and some guitar lessons from the man himself.

For anyone who thinks this story is BS, here's a bunch of photos of me with my '58 (below)... then me with the red polka dot Buddy Guy... and then Buddy with my '58. The wear marks are very unique. Buddy calls this his "#1 guitar", and does not take it on the road.

*Notes: Fender custom shop modded the red polka dot for Buddy, and put the Eric Clapton setup in it AFTER the 94 GP cover shot....they put lace sensors and mid-boost preamp in the red one, as Buddy had played with EC and really liked the sound.

Hard Rock Cafe owns red polka dot now, has special display at Atlantic City location, and it in the book "Treasures of the Hard Rock".

Bobby DeVito is an infamous Youtube gear demo pimp and author of "Burned: Living Through the 80's and 90's as a Rock and Roll Guitarist". He also pretty much knows everybody worth knowing.

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