This guitar is "THE ONE". Every guitar player dreams of finding that one guitar that they pick up one day and it fits like a glove. This is that guitar for KWS. Kenny describes it as an extension of his own body. He loves all of his guitars, but they all take a back seat to this one.
KWS bought this original 1958 Fender Stratocaster while on the road back in 1997 from the Guitar Center in Houston, TX. KWS made a public appearance at the Guitar Center signing autographs before his concert that evening and picked this guitar up and immediately fell in love. It is a very rare 3 tone sunburst, hardtail, maple neck Stratocaster of which not many were made for '58. The guitar was in near mint condition and was completely original. KWS bought it on the spot and proceeded to play it relentlessly for the next several years on the road. The only modification made to this guitar was the addition of GraphTech saddles. KWS loves this guitar and touts it as being one of the best he has ever played. KWS has used the '58 on a countless number of recordings on his own records, and on several guest appearances on other artist's records including Wynona Judd and Willie Nelson.
For nearly twenty years Fender and modern blues/rock sensation Kenny Wayne Shepherd have shared a stage and together they released his new signature model, the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster guitar.
A sleekly elegant addition to Fender's stable of artist Strat models, the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster is based on Shepherd's own '61 instrument (which will soon be on display at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum) and welds vintage style to modern features. Most distinctively, Shepherd's new signature model boasts a blueswailing voice of its own thanks to its three custom-voiced Kenny Wayne Shepherd pickups.
Designed by KWS and the talented people at Martin guitars. "...Blue on black, tears on a river..." — blues phenomenon Kenny Wayne Shepherd's 1998 hit "Blue On Black" is filled with colorful imagery. Martin draws on that imagery in its new Kenny Wayne Shepherd Limited Edition Signature model JC-16KWS, creating a guitar as distinctive as the musician himself. The Kenny Wayne Shepherd model combines distinctive design and tonewoods with unique appointments. The rich, full tone of the jumbo cutaway shape is enhanced by solid tonewoods throughout; maple back and sides for clarity and projection, Sitka spruce top for warmth. Martin's patented "A-frame X" scalloped bracing enhances this unique voice. The genuine mahogany neck features standard 1-11/16th inch width and modified low oval profile for easy playing.
This 1931 National Duolian was bought by KWS at the Guitar Center in Hollywood. KWS used this guitar for all acoustic slide parts on the album "Live On". KWS also wrote many songs for that same album on this guitar.
This is the one that started it all. The Yamaha SE150 pictured here is Kenny's first electric guitar. His mother and father gave Kenny this guitar for Christmas when he was 7 years old. Kenny immediately began playing it and used it for the next several years before he got his first Stratocaster. You can see a picture of Kenny playing this guitar as a young boy inside the CD booklet from the album "Ledbetter Heights". The scratches you see in the paint of this guitar are a result of a thirteen-year-old Kenny trying to make his guitar look tattered and worn like a vintage guitar. Kenny took screwdrivers and scratched the paint, banged a few nicks and dings into the body, and even dragged it up and down some concrete stairs a few times… kids will be kids. The attempt at "aging" the guitar could have been better executed, but none the less it seems Kenny was a bit ahead of his time considering it was several years before the guitar companies began manufacturing new guitars to look like older, well worn guitars.