Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) today released the all-new Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster®, the newest result of Fender’s collaboration with one of the most powerful guitarists in Blues-Rock today. It features a chambered ash body, Transparent Faded Sonic Blue lacquer finish and early ’60s “C”-shaped maple neck. This guitar delivers a punchy, full-throated Stratocaster® tones with three custom voiced pickups created with design input from Shepherd himself to meticulously complement his personal sound. Today, fans can own and play a part of that legacy with the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster®.
“I have been playing Fender guitars for essentially my entire life. To me, Fender defined the sounds of countless music genres and was played by most of my musical heroes. The playability of Fender guitars is unmatched, and the quality of instruments unsurpassed. Our new creation is one I’m exceptionally proud of,” said Kenny Wayne Shepherd. “I was heavily involved in every aspect of the guitar – from specs to design, especially the Custom “Hot” Vintage Pickups – carefully designed to have a very natural sound; the block inlay neck which really sets this Stratocaster® apart visually; and the matching headstock which I just think has an unbeatable aesthetic. I can’t wait to see what this guitar can do in the hands of other players – I hope this guitar is a tool that inspires others to find their own voice and to truly express themselves and their own love of music.”
There are only a handful of artists whose name is synonymous with the guitar, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd is one of them. Shepherd was inspired to pick up the guitar at the age of 7 after hearing the likes of legends such as Stevie Ray Vaughan as well as Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, B.B. King and Muddy Waters – still some of his current musical influences. “Listening to, and consequently learning, their music gave me the foundation and the knowledge to learn the instrument, which freed me up to explore further and find my own identity within the guitar.” Louisiana’s guitarist and songsmith now boasts a 20-year-strong recording career and has established himself as the leading force behind the blues-rock revival, bringing renewed commercial success to the much-loved genre. A consistently in-demand live act, Kenny Wayne Shepherd has headlined tours worldwide as well as played on major tours with the likes of Buddy Guy and The Rolling Stones in addition to his solo recording career, which now spans nine critically acclaimed studio albums and radio hits including “Blue on Black,” “True Lies”, “Dark Side of Love” and “Somehow, Somewhere, Someway.” Kenny discusses his inspirations, playing style and a glimpse into his new Signature in an episode of Fender‘s serialized social video series, Fender Demos. Fender Demos is an educational video series focused on providing a deep dive into Fender’s newest products. The series focuses on showcasing not only the key features and benefits but also the sonic quality of Fender’s instruments, amplifiers and pedals. In addition to product demos, the series also provides valuable beginner, intermediate and advanced tone tips, set-up and maintenance guides and insights to getting the most out of your Fender gear.
The Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster® features a chambered ash body for a vibrant and resonant tone, while the Transparent Faded Sonic Blue lacquer highlights a beautiful ash grain. The early ’60s “C”-shaped maple neck and bound rosewood fingerboard – with a 7.25″ radius – offer comfort and playability straight out of Fender’s golden age. Kenny Wayne Shepherd himself worked on the design of the three custom pickups, giving the sound of the guitar its unmistakably striking tone.
“Fender has worked with Kenny Wayne Shepherd for over twenty years and he is an artist who constantly strives for better and never stops innovating, so it’s a perfect match,” said Justin Norvell, EVP Fender Products. “In 2008, we brought fans his first Signature Series model, which offered up Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s legendary playing power at an accessible price point. We see this brand-new Stratocaster® as the next evolution – a testament to what we can create together when the sky is the limit. This guitar is all about quality and personalization and we can’t wait to see what fans make of it.”
In true tradition, the Fender Artist Signature Series honors iconic musicians through product progression and storytelling, creating instruments inspired by the unique specifications of the world’s greatest guitarists and bassists. Learn more about the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Stratocaster® here.