What frets did SRV use?

Stevie Ray Vaughan, often hailed as one of the greatest electric guitarists in the history of blues music, left an indelible mark on the world of guitar playing. His soulful, fiery performances, combined with his unique tone and unparalleled technique, continue to inspire guitarists worldwide. As with any legendary player, enthusiasts often delve into the finer details of their gear and setup. In this article, we explore the fret sizes that Stevie Ray Vaughan favored on his guitars and how they contributed to his iconic sound.

Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Fret Choices

Stevie Ray Vaughan, known affectionately as SRV, was renowned for his use of guitars with jumbo-sized frets. Jumbo frets are larger and taller than standard or vintage-style frets, offering several distinctive advantages to a guitarist of SRV’s caliber:

1. Enhanced Bending and Vibrato: Jumbo frets provide more room for the strings to move, making string bending and vibrato techniques smoother and more expressive. SRV’s signature style often featured dramatic bends and wide, expressive vibrato, and jumbo frets were instrumental in achieving these nuances.

2. Reduced Fret Wear: Given SRV’s intense playing style and frequent use of heavy strings, fret wear was a concern. Jumbo frets have a longer lifespan before requiring replacement due to their increased height, making them ideal for heavy-handed players like SRV.

3. Clearer Intonation: The increased height of jumbo frets can contribute to more accurate intonation, particularly when bending strings to extreme pitches. This ensured that SRV’s notes remained in tune even during his most impassioned performances.

4. Greater Finger Comfort: While jumbo frets can take some getting used to, SRV found that their larger size was comfortable for his fingers. This comfort allowed him to execute his lightning-fast blues licks with precision and fluidity.

SRV’s Guitar of Choice: The “Number One” Stratocaster

Stevie Ray Vaughan’s most famous guitar, known as “Number One,” was a 1962 Fender Stratocaster. This guitar featured jumbo frets, contributing significantly to SRV’s signature tone and playing style. “Number One” became synonymous with SRV’s sound and played a pivotal role in shaping his legendary career.

Legacy and Influence

Stevie Ray Vaughan’s choice of jumbo frets has left an enduring legacy in the world of blues and rock guitar playing. Many players, both aspiring and established, have sought to emulate his distinctive tone and technique, which were intrinsically tied to his use of jumbo frets.


Stevie Ray Vaughan’s preference for jumbo frets was not just a matter of personal choice; it was an integral part of his iconic sound and playing style. These oversized frets allowed him to bend, sustain, and express notes with unmatched emotion and precision. Aspiring guitarists looking to capture a piece of SRV’s magic often turn to jumbo frets, knowing that they played a vital role in shaping the blues legend’s unforgettable music and legacy.

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