KWS Gear

1961 Fender Stratocaster

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.

One day when about 16 years old Kenny was in Los Angeles on a trip with his father. They decided to go by the Guitar Center in Hollywood and see what they had in stock. Kenny went into the vintage room at GC and began picking up Stratocasters. Eventually a mildly worn three-tone sunburst Stratocaster with jumbo frets and a rosewood slab neck caught Kenny's eye. He picked up the guitar and instantly knew this was the guitar he had always been looking for. There was something about this guitar that was different than any other he had ever played. It felt just right. It fit like a glove. Kenny knew this was that once in a lifetime chance to get the guitar he had always dreamed of. Unfortunately, he couldn't afford the guitar's steep price and reluctantly had to hang it back on the wall and walk away. From that day forward the memory of that guitar never left Kenny's mind. It was a little over a year later when Kenny had a showcase gig booked in Los Angeles. The first thing he wanted to do was go to the Guitar Center again to see what guitars were hanging on the wall. With little hope that the guitar would still be there, Kenny headed into the vintage room at the GC again. This time when Kenny walked into the room the first thing he saw was that same '61 Strat hanging right in the middle of the wall. Kenny couldn't believe it was still there. He immediately picked the guitar up and began playing it just to make sure it was as great as he remembered… and it was. When the time came to leave this time, Kenny refused to go without the guitar. He still didn't have enough money for the guitar, but he vowed not to leave without it. Finally, Kenny's Dad talked with his A&R guy Jeff Aldrich and his attorney at the time Jim Zumwalt and the three of them agreed to buy the guitar and split the cost three ways as long as Kenny paid them back. The deal was done, and history was made that day. KWS got his dream guitar and has played it relentlessly and lovingly from that day forward. He has recorded with that guitar on every album since and traveled all over the world playing to millions of people while wielding the '61 Strat.

KWS Signature Series Strat

The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster features a chambered ash body for vibrant and resonant tone, while the Transparent Faded Sonic Blue lacquer finish highlights the beautiful ash grain. The early ‘60s inspired “C”-shaped maple neck and bound rosewood fingerboard—with a 7.25” radius—offer comfort and playability straight out of Fender’s golden age. Loaded with three Kenny Wayne Shepherd custom pickups, this guitar delivers punchy and full-throated Strat tones.

KWS Signature Strat (w/cross) with Rosewood Neck

This particular version of the KWS Signature Series Stratocaster is a one of a kind. The body and electronics feature all the same components found on one of Kenny’s production guitars, but the stand out feature on this unique guitar is its prototype neck. Featured exclusively on this guitar, this neck was developed by Kenny and Fender CEO at the time, Larry Thomas. Larry and Kenny collaborated on several projects and tossed around many ideas during Larry’s tenure as CEO of Fender and this prototype neck is just one of those ideas that was made in very limited quantities for road testing by KWS. This neck features Fender’s latest Channel-bound neck and fingerboard technology, but in an unusual but visually striking application of a rosewood neck with an inlaid birdseye maple fingerboard. Only four of these necks are known two exist and Kenny has two of them. Of the two that KWS has, one has a standard 9.5 radius and the other has a compound radius that goes all the way from 9.5 to a very flat 14 up top. They are fitted with jumbo 6100 frets per Kenny’s spec and have a beautiful oil based finish on both front and back.

1959 Fender Strat (with custom neck)

Bought in 2010 from a long-time friend named Sherman at the vintage room in Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, this 3-tone sunburst Strat is similar to Van Halen's, except for the neck, which was replaced with a brown one made by Krause at the Fender Custom Shop. This guitar also has graph tech saddles, and it has a hardtail 3-tone sunburst.

KWS Signature Martin Acoustic Guitar

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.

Fender Strat (First Strat)

Given to Kenny in 1989, this candy apple red, American-made Stratocaster bears the signature of one of Kenny’s heroes and his first inspiration to play the guitar: Stevie Ray Vaughan. An original photograph of a young Kenny Wayne, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Kenny’s father, Ken Shepherd marks the moment when it was autographed in Dallas, TX. This was Kenny’s first Strat and was a gift from Kenny's parents. Over the next year as a result of Kenny’s playing the original signature from SRV began to fade. Kenny, being very young and dismayed at the idea of losing the signature, took a sharpie to the guitar and tried to trace over the original SRV signature in the areas where it was fading to bring it back. The end result is a hybrid of SRV’s original signature and a young Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s attempt to preserve his hero’s signature.

Monterey Strat

Kenny received this custom guitar as a birthday present from his Dad. Fender made just over 200 of these beautiful guitars making them highly collectible. It is a replica of the guitar that Jimi Hendrix played and burned on stage at the Monterey Pop Festival. When Kenny got the guitar he immediately had Fender make him a custom neck with jumbo frets and a backwards headstock. Also added were the GraphTech saddles. Since then Kenny has played this guitar all over the world, ending each show by tearing down the house with his version of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child".

Crossroads Fender Strat

Kenny and Todd Krause completed this two-year project together in 2015. This relic Stratocaster features custom painted highway markers from famed highways 49 and 61 on it. This legendary crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi is widely believed to be the site that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil in exchange for fame and fortune. This guitar's fictional story follows a similar mystical path as a man who gained musical ability from a deal with the devil, abandoned the guitar in a ditch at a crossroads. The guitar has an alder wood body, rosewood finger board, Graphtech saddles, black knobs and pickup covers, an aged pickguard and Fender Custom Shop pickups.

“Copperboy” Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt Stratocaster by Todd Krause

In recent years Kenny and famed Fender Custom Shop Master-Builder Todd Krause have teamed up to design and build some one-of-a-kind and both strikingly beautiful and functional guitars for stage duty on Kenny’s tours. This particular guitar is the product of a couple of years worth of collaboration between Kenny and Todd and the results are spectacular to say the least. 

This is the kind of custom guitar that most people would never expect to see on stage. Its beauty and attention to detail rival that of the most expensive and coveted guitars ever produced by the Fender Custom Shop. Unique features to this guitar are plenty beginning with the first thing everyone comments on… that beautiful custom color. A hue unique to this particular guitar, this Copper/Orange sparkle is the result of a custom mix of colors and metal flakes to achieve a finish with unparalleled depth. All the hardware on the guitar is gold plated, featuring gold knobs, screws, Graph Tech saddles, classic vintage tuners, pickup covers and gold tremolo bar. The gold pickup covers give the illusion of a lipstick style pickup while underneath lie some of the last hand-wound pickups made by famed Fender employee Abigail Ybarra before she retired from the company after more than 50 years at the company. The bridge pickup is positioned in a unique position to mimic the sound Hendrix would have gotten from playing a right-handed guitar upside-down. There are no plastic parts on this guitar save for one piece, the pick guard, and it even got the custom treatment as well. This one-off copper colored mirrored pick guard was created just for this guitar and compliments the other choices of components and colors perfectly. Kenny and Todd chose a mid-weight Alder body and a Rosewood slab neck with a 9.5 radius. Jumbo 6100 frets top it all off and lead you down the fingerboard to the color matched reversed headstock and gold Fender logo. 

This guitar was named “Copperboy” by none other than Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top. Kenny and Billy were both in Nashville TN to induct friends into the Musicians Hall of Fame. During rehearsals Kenny showed Billy his newly acquired creation. Billy played the guitar and instantly fell in love with it as well and remarked about how effortless the guitar was to play, even with Kenny’s heavy string gauge. The next day at the soundcheck for the event Billy asked Kenny “Did you bring Copperboy with ya?” That was the moment Kenny realized the guitar would forever be known as “Copperboy”

Special/Limited Edition Reclaimed Pine Strat

A distinctively rustic look and elegant charm, with a body fashioned from reclaimed pine originally used in 1868 in the construction of a dairy barn in the small rural community of Lake Odessa, Mich. The knots, gashes, dings, nail holes and other anomalies in the wood are left intact and unconcealed, so that no two guitars in this limited-number issue are identical.

Further emphasizing the guitar’s one-of-a-kind appearance are a dark satin lacquer stain that accentuates the beauty of the body wood, hardware specially treated to appear slightly worn, and a rosewood neck with a hand-rubbed oil finish and comfortable “modern C”-shaped profile. Other features include a 9.5”-radius 25.5-inch scale rosewood fingerboard with 22 medium jumbo frets, three Fender Custom Shop Fat ’50s single-coil Stratocaster pickups with five-way switching, “unbuffed” single-ply black pickguard, two-point synchronized tremolo bridge with vintage-style stamped steel saddles, Micro-Tilt™ neck adjustment, laser-etched headstock logo and more.

Les Paul from Kenny's Grandfather

Kenny's grandfather, Charles Shepherd, originally owned this Les Paul guitar. After it sat around collecting dust for a few years, he gave it to Kenny to put to good use. Kenny has used it on and off stage and in the studio.


Kenny received this guitar during the "How I Go" album production and uses it to play around the house. It was made with 3,000 year-old wood found at the bottom of a lake in Chile and the uniqueness of the wood gives this nylon-string guitar an incredible sound. L. Benito does not make guitars any longer, but Kenny considers it the most incredible sounding nylon-string guitar he has ever played.

National Resophonic Electric Resonator Guitar

Kenny purchased this guitar for the Ledbetter Heights tour. Kenny used this guitar to play "Aberdeen" on stage. It combines the sound of an acoustic dobro with the benefits of an electric guitar with single-coil pickup. With this combination, Kenny could recreate the sounds necessary for a live performance of his hit single Aberdeen.

Les Paul

This guitar was given to Kenny by Gibson Guitars after the release of The Place You're In to use on tour. Kenny played a Les Paul on several songs on that album, so Gibson sent this guitar to him to use on The Place You're In Tour in 2004.

Vintage White Custom Shop 1954 Reissue

Kenny bought this guitar at Shreveport Music after signing his first recording contract at only 16 years old. It is the first model that Fender Custom Shop master builder J.W. Black modified for Kenny. The original flamed maple neck and small vintage style frets were replaced with a custom rosewood neck and jumbo frets. Blues greats Bo Diddley and Jimmie Vaughn left their mark on this guitar by signing the back of the guitar when Kenny was a young boy. Bo signed the guitar when he was on tour with Kenny at age 16, and Jimmie did the same when he did a show with Kenny later that same year.

White Lipstick Special SRV Charley Strat

This extremely limited series of guitars were custom produced by Charley’s Guitar Shop in Dallas, Texas. They were initially produced between 2002 and 2003. 

Originally, Charley’s Guitar Shop and Rene Martinez were going to produce 100 guitars. However, production was halted due to a potential infringement on the rights to the shape and likeness of the Fender headstock. Consequently, only 23 guitars were originally produced and Rene then produced another 10 totaling 33 guitars. This particular guitar was custom built specifically by Rene for KWS as indicated by the engraving on the neck plate on the back of the guitar. This guitar is also believed to be the final “Charley” guitar made by Rene. Kenny used this guitar extensively on his 2004 “The Place You’re In” Tour and has since retired the guitar only bringing it out to the stage on rare occasions. Unique specs to this guitar include custom “Flip flop” pearl white with iridescent blue tint depending on the angle of light, ebony slab, hard tail, jumbo frets, Danelectro pick-ups, wired with one tone knob and one volume control.

Experimental Black 60's Custom Shop Relic

Built from spare parts laying around Fender's Custom Shop, this guitar was one of the first black guitars that the Custom shop tried to relic. The Custom Shop was trying out different techniques of aging guitars to make new ones appear old, so this was essentially an experimental guitar that was never meant to be sold. J.W. Black took the pieces, made a neck to Kenny's specifications and sent it to him, but not before trying some different techniques to create some wear marks on the back of the guitar to simulate the wear and tear from musicians belt buckles and other techniques to “age” the front of the guitar as well.

Les Paul

This Les Paul guitar was given to Kenny as a Christmas gift by one of his good friends, Johnny Hunkins, who is the editor of Popular Hot Rodding Magazine. It was used on the "First Rides" album and also on the new, yet-to-be-released "Rides" album.

Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Strat

This first year production Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Series Stratocaster was used by Kenny to record his first album, Ledbetter Heights and also on his first U.S. tour. Like some of his other Strats, J.W. Black made a customized replacement neck per Kenny's specifications and has several other unique features such as the jumbo frets, gold hardware, Texas Special single-coil pickups, Graph Tech saddles and a left-handed tremolo.

The Guy Guitar

In an interview with European guitar builder Paul Guy on Kenny's first European tour, Kenny was given this guitar at the conclusion of the interview as a gift from Paul. The guitar was originally built for Buddy Guy, but Paul never got the chance to give it to him so instead he chose to give it to KWS. Kenny was speechless, and felt as though he couldn't simply take the guitar, so they agreed on a $10 exchange. Kenny used this guitar to record “Blue On Black” and took the instrument around the world on the Trouble Is… tour. It has an ebony board, jumbo frets, a hip shot low E tuner, a one-of-a-kind experimental overdrive designed by Roger Mayer incorporated into the tone control and Lipstick pickups.

Wayne Kramer Strat

Kenny, being a friend and admirer of Wayne Kramer (MC5), had to have one of Wayne's Signature Stratocasters as soon as they became available. The only modification made to this guitar for Kenny was to replace the original Wayne Kramer spec neck with a KWS Signature Series from one of Kenny's own Signature Stratocasters. 

An accurate  replica of the starred-and-striped Stratocaster guitar that infamous MC5 guitarist and Detroit proto-punk Wayne Kramer used back in the late 1960s
and early 1970s. It bears his distinctive U.S. flag finish, with a red-and-white striped body and white-stars-on-blue-background pickguard. 

Special features include a roaring Seymour Duncan '59 humbucking middle pickup and a commemorative neck plate engraved with "This Tool Kills Hate." Other features include an alder body, lacquer body finish, vintage-style single-coil Stratocaster neck and bridge pickups, American Vintage hard-tail string-through-body bridge, Fender vintage-style  tuners and chrome hardware.

Vintage White 60’s Strat Relic Prototype

Kenny received this guitar as a gift from Fender guitars in celebration of his endorsement deal as a Fender artist. This guitar is the prototype of the Fender Stratocaster Relic guitars.  It was originally played by Keith Richards on the Stone's Voodoo Lounge tour.  Before Kenny received the guitar he asked that Fender add the left handed tremolo, GraphTech saddles, and jumbo frets to the instrument. Kenny has played this guitar ever since on almost every tour he's ever done and it was used for a very long time as the guitar he ended the show with while playing "Voodoo Child" during the encore.

Sunburst Fender Custom Shop Strat

This guitar was built for Kenny by Master Builder J.W. Black at the Fender Custom Shop in 1997. Mr. Black built this guitar as a gift to Kenny for his birthday. This guitar's intended purpose was to be an alternate, or even possibly a replacement, for Kenny's beloved 1961 Fender Stratocaster in the event that Kenny ever chose not to take his '61 on tour. This particular guitar has several unique features, one of the most noteworthy being it's experimental one-of-a-kind finish that was designed to age very rapidly and develop a characteristic known as "checking", which usually only happens after many years of natural aging, curing and temperature fluctuations. With this experimental finish applied to the body of the guitar combined with Kenny's aggressive playing style, this guitar would allow Kenny to naturally develop the same wear and tear associated with his original 1961 Stratocaster at a much faster rate than usual and eventually achieve the same road worn, broken-in appearance of his original 1961 Stratocaster, which took many years of playing to create on this new guitar in a very short amount of time. It is believed that this is the only guitar Fender ever built using this particular finish. Other notable features are a left-handed bridge and tremolo system, rosewood slab fingerboard, custom tapered neck profile, custom wound single coil pickups and staggered vintage tuners. All of these unique features combined with the classic 3-tone Sunburst gives this guitar a striking appearance and a powerful sound.

Washburn SC-Proto

This prototype guitar was built at the custom shop specifically for Kenny, along with other a couple of other Washburn custom shop guitars in 2004. It was used primarily for radio show appearances on the 2004 The Place You're In Tour.

Washburn Custom F52SWCE

This guitar is a custom shop guitar Kenny acquired in 2005 and uses around the house.


Kenny bought this guitar during the "How I Go" album production and uses it to play around the house. It was made with 3,000-year-old wood found at the bottom of a lake in Chile.

Guild JF55-NT

This guitar was given to Kenny by Guild when he signed an endorsement with Guild Guitars in the 1990s. He used it on the Trouble Is... Tour through the Live On Tour. Guild later created an ad featuring Kenny and the guitar.

Martin JC-16

This guitar model was sent to Kenny prior to the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Signature Model's design and release. It was to be used for R&D purposes for Kenny to see if the liked the size and feel of the Martin cutaway guitar. After the series was released in 2001, Noah Hunt used this Martin model at onstage and radio performances.

KWS Series Strat Prototype

Built while experimenting with different stripes and paint colors, the KWS Series Stratocaster prototype displays sleek racing stripes, a bright finish on the neck and a gloss finish on the front and back. A black anodized aluminum pick guard and prototype KWS single pickups complete the model. The final production models differ in that they bear racing stripes of a brighter silver and gloss finish on the front of the headstock only.