Last week, we published a profile of Jimmie Vaughan in which the guitarist talks about his new album, Live at C-Boy's, and coming up as a musician in Dallas. Vaughan also had a lot to say about the equipment he plays with, and we're sharing our conversation about his favorite guitar and why guitars are like girlfriends.
Did you record this with your 1967 Fender Coronado guitar?
No. I found a Japanese knockoff. I don't even know what it is because it doesn't have a name on it. I bought it on eBay for $245. It's a fake Coronado. It looks similar to a Coronado. It's a Coronado knockoff. But the pickups is why I like it. It's got pickups that are similar to Bigsby pickups from the old days. They just sound great. It's the flat-wound strings and the old pickups that work together.
I always set my guitars up to where I want to get as big of a string as I can handle. And sometimes it's not comfortable at first. But then you get used to it. If you can get the action up high enough, after a couple of days you'll get comfortable with it. I love the tone of the flat-wound strings with the higher action. That's the way I set up my Strats too. My Stratocasters have flat-wound strings. I've gone completely flat-wound. I love it. It sounds better.
Tell us about the Kingsville Grammatico amplifier you used.
It's like a hand-wired Bassman with all the best stuff available.
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Will we ever get to see you play your Gibson ES-350 or your Kay Barney Kessel guitar?
I might. But, you know how it is: Guitars are like girlfriends. This is going to get me in trouble — I can tell. You love 'em so much you can't cheat on 'em. So you don't want to use something else. And then all of a sudden, maybe they don't work anymore. They don't like you anymore. So you find something different. I've been married for a long time. I'm just trying to explain how I feel about my guitars. [Laughs.] It's sort of like a love affair. And you get used to 'em. And you have a thing with them. And then sometimes you might find a new one that just plays good right from the beginning.
I love that 350. I like a lot of Gibsons and things like that. But it's one thing playing it around the house or in the studio. But when you get out actually on the stage, it's a different thing.
You're so identified with Fender guitars. Do you own a Les Paul?
No, I don't. Not one. I had one when I was a kid. I had a Black Beauty when I was like 15 that I bought from Arnold Morgan here in Dallas. But I had a Telecaster [as well]. Once I got a Strat, I was happy, and I never went back. To me, a Stratocaster is the greatest guitar ever made. If you set it up right, it will sound like a big box guitar. Or it will sound like a Telecaster. And then it has its own thing, too. And it looks like a spaceship. Just everything about it is great. [Laughs.] It's gotta be the greatest guitar ever.
Does Gretsch no longer make your G400JV signature guitar?
No. That was a good guitar. For the money, it was a great guitar. That was a classic guitar that you couldn't get. It was just fun. But I've been talking to Fender, and we may come out with a new Jimmie Vaughan [Stratocaster] coming up in the future. It will be a very traditional Strat. Anyway, we're talking.