With a custom blue finish, chambered ash body and specially-voiced pickups, the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster® is fine-tuned to play the blues – and beyond.
A resonant chambered ash body delivers articulate tone with stunning grain patterns.
Transparent Faded Sonic Blue highlights the natural ash grain while honoring a celebrated Fender color from the ‘50s and ‘60s.
White fingerboard binding and pearloid blocks with a custom 12th fret “split-block” add a touch of high-class style.
It’s been 25 years since Kenny Wayne Shepherd exploded onto the national scene as a teenage blues guitar phenom. In the years since, the Shreveport, Louisiana native has served as one of the genre’s foremost artists and ambassadors. Having played with Buddy Guy and B.B. King, as well as Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Double Trouble and Muddy Waters’ band, Shepherd is always mindful to shine a light on the greats who preceded him. By blending the sounds of his past with his own fresh take on rock, country and soul, he's sold millions of albums, charted a string of hits and toured the world over.
And his Fender Stratocaster guitars have been along for the ride every step of the way. “I grew up playing a Strat,” says Shepherd, who idolized Strat icons like Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy and Stevie Ray Vaughan. “Everything about the instrument is just perfect for me. It’s all in the right spot for the way that I play.”
“The first time I picked it up, I knew it was the one,” he says. “It was like finding the glass slipper.”
For most of Shepherd’s career, his primary Stratocaster has been a 1961 sunburst model. That guitar can be heard on his breakthrough 1997 platinum-selling effort Trouble Is… and every album he’s recorded since.
Now, Shepherd has a new glass slipper. But instead of finding this one – he helped design it.
The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster is the product of Shepherd’s 25-year commitment to both tradition and innovation. His new signature model boasts classic Fender appointments including an ash body and an early '60s “C”-shaped maple neck that Shepherd says is “the closest we’ve ever come to replicating the feel and profile of the one on my ‘61 Strat.”
There’s also a rosewood fingerboard with binding and block inlays — two features that Shepherd says hearken back to “a very limited run of Strats from the mid '60s with binding and blocks. I always dug those design elements and so I wanted to see them on a premium model Stratocaster.”
This distinctive Strat also features plenty of subtle but striking updates. The ash body is chambered for lighter weight and added resonance, and is finished (along with the headstock) in a Transparent Faded Sonic Blue lacquer – a custom color that highlights the rich wood grain below.
This modern finish is paired with cutting-edge tone, courtesy of a specially-designed Kenny Wayne Shepherd Single-Coil Strat® trio that references the pickups from his cherished ’61 model, but are voiced hotter and for more range.
“We got into some real modern technology, at the same time keeping in mind the true heart of the Fender Stratocaster in its original form,” Shepherd says. “And we came up with a really cohesive instrument, where all the elements flow together nicely.”
That fusion of past and present is fitting for an artist who says, “I’ve always been drawn to using blues music as a foundation to create something new and fresh.”
And what better guitar to join Shepherd on this journey.
“There’s just an endless number of sounds and personalities you can generate from a Stratocaster that can’t be done with other guitars,” Shepherd says. “It does everything right.”
With the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster, he adds, “I think we're taking it to the next level.”