Junior Brown & The Beach Boys — '409' Video
New model - the Stevens Les Plank - added to the models page!
Check out who Junior is out playing with.
Unfortunately, Junior will not be holding the workshops listed below. However, he will still be in Dallas at the show.
Junior Brown will be conducting a workshop on Saturday 22nd April at (time TBA) and one on Sunday 23rd April at (time TBA) in the (room TBA) room of the (venue TBA) Hotel across the parking lot.*
Cost is $75.00 per workshop. max. 10 persons each day. Bring your instrument and questions. Steel, guitar or bass.
Advance notice is advisable - call his office at 918 366-3598 or 918 630-5287. He is having technical problems with his web-site at the moment. Keep checking there also, as plans are for online sign up to the workshops.
* Blanks will be filled in as soon as we hear!
“Junior Brown” - Guit-Steels® now have their own page in the models section. Check them out.
BIG NEWS! Junior Brown will be at the Stevens Electrical Instruments Booth for 3 days - Friday 21st, Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd of April - at the 29th Dallas Guitar Show!! He will be availiable for questions, BS and even workshops, check his website for specific info and fee for the workshops.
Michael and Junior will appear together on the clinic stages and Junior will perform with his band twice during the weekend and he will take part in the all star Jam!
Watch for more details as we get them!
“Junior Brown” - Guit-Steels® are finally available from Stevens Electrical Instruments. Model information posted soon!!
The Very First Stevens LJ
I am the very lucky recipient of the original Michael Stevens LJ model guitar, serial number #1. Here’s a quick story of how I landed the guitar and how it’s been my faithful main instrument for over 15 years. Although I played a lot of big acoustic jazz guitars over the years, I was basically a Les Paul guy. I bought a one new in 1968 and have had one ever since. I was never much into Fenders but did have a Strat type guitar custom built.
In 1977, I moved from Seattle to L.A. at the invitation of Howard Roberts to help him start a music school in Hollywood. During many years at GIT, (later Musicians Institute in the mid 80s), it gave me the opportunity to meet, teach and play with some of the world’s greatest players, one of whom was Robben Ford.
It was at 1989 N.A.M.M. show that I met and played my future favorite guitar. Robben was there promoting his Robben Ford Artist model for Fender and was to play several little concerts at the Fender booth. When I ran into him the first morning, he asked me to play some tunes with him at the Fender booth. He had not prepared anything and I told him I was happy to do it but did not bring a guitar with me. Robben said that there would be all kinds of guitars to choose from but that was not very reassuring to me because I can hardly play a stock Strat or a Telecaster.
When we reached the Fender booth, I began to panic a bit as all I saw was Strats and Teles and my fear was that I would fall on my face trying to play one and maybe even embarrass Robben too. Then I noticed an odd guitar sitting in the corner that looked kind of like a Les Paul with crooked pickups. So in my panic, as a crowd was forming to see us play, I grabbed this guitar and asked what the heck it was. Dan Smith, VP Marketing at Fender and a good friend of Robben’s, told me it was a prototype for a new Fender line. I played one chord on it and quickly told Robben in a relieved tone “This will work, let’s play.” After a tune or two to get our bearings, I kept thinking to myself, what is the deal with this guitar?
I never like strange guitars when I first play them as every one I have ever owned has been reworked the way I wanted it but here was this strange guitar and me loving it exactly the way it was. It had a wider than usual fingerboard which I like, and sounded great and it’s balance and feel was perfect. And because of it, I played pretty damn good that day with Robben too! People kept coming up to me when walking around the show asking what that guitar was I was playing. I told them the very little I had been told about it, but it is the best thing I’ve ever played.
Finally, after one of our last concerts at the booth, Dan Smith introduced me to Michael Stevens. He told me Michael was a guitar designer/builder who was heading up Fender’s Custom Shop. They began to tell me the whole story of the guitar and that it was indeed a prototype for a new Fender line to be built in Japan. The guitar I had been playing was built by Michael to be the first prototype... This particular guitar did not have the Fender logo on the head stock. Michael had put his own logo/name and two letters ‘LJ’, of which I did not know until recently what LJ stood for. (check out the story of LJ on the Stevens web site).
Then came the big shock when Dan Smith said, “How would you like to have this guitar?” I was pretty surprised and thrilled and of course said yes!! They were looking for players to help promote the guitar and said if I would play it, I could have it. Michael had taken note of my style and technique while playing with Robben. He could tell I was a jazz player who picked pretty hard so he offered to take the guitar back to the Custom Shop and tweak it. He said to come and get it at the shop in a few weeks. When I returned to the Fender Custom Shop, Michael had the guitar all ready to go but to my surprise, the guitar had been given a makeover with additional inlay on the fingerboard, different knobs and pickguard, giving it more of a jazz guitar look. I could not have thanked Michael, Dan and the folks at Fender enough for this amazing instrument. I headed to MI for my two-week teaching stint and walked into my Jazz/Fusion Guitar Class with the new guitar to lots of inquisitive looks from students. By the end of the day, everyone including the other teachers wanted to check out this beautiful guitar and hear the story about it.
Within a few weeks it was obvious that the LJ was becoming my main guitar and it was sounding amazing. Back in Seattle, I was able to do some head to head comparisons with my old trusty Les Paul and the LJ simply did everything better. Because of the slightly larger body, the LJ sustains and has a fatter tone than the Paul, especially the jazz tone on the neck pickup which I need much of the time. I also needed the guitar to rock too and was really surprised at how well it sounded when cranked with distortion on the bridge pickup. And then I hit the push-pull pot to switch to the single coil sound and Wow!, a huge fat yet Strat-like bright and smooth tone and this setting also sounds very cool clean too. It wasn’t long before the LJ got its first shot at recording and it was better than I expected. In fact every instructional book and video I’ve done from then on has featured the LJ ….killer tone.
Wes Montgomery one day and Clapton the next…… pretty damn versatile guitar.
Three years after getting my LJ, Michael Stevens left the Fender Custom Shop to further his own custom guitar ambitions. I actually lost contact with Michael over the years, not realizing that he was continuing to build not only LJ models but basses and other guitar models back in his Texas shop…. all at the highest level.
Other than add a synth pickup, I have not done a thing to the LJ. It still even has the original frets, which is surprising since I’ve played it day in and day out for 15 years. It is finally showing signs of fret wear, so I will probably ship the guitar back to Michael soon for a re-fret job.
- Don Mock
Memorial for an Old Berkeley icon - The End of an Era
Sad news, sad news came to me as I sleep - "Campbell Coe" on 10/02/2005 at the age of 81 died in Seattle, Wash.
Stan and John Aschow, Mario Martello, Campbell Coe, Jon Lundberg and Larry Jameson - these were my Heros in the 60's in Berkeley Calif. Jon Lundberg is still around, he is out of the guitar buisiness now, we talk now and again. I learned of Campbell's death from a friend Sandy Rothman (picker extraordinaire) and he thinks perhaps friends of Campbell's should put down some stories. Perhaps I will write more about Coe later, but for now I will steal a line and say he was "the Whirlingest Dervish of them all".
Not all my heroes are cowboys
Photos by Michael Stevens, Berkeley circa 1970-72
Big News! The workshop is now up and running!
(New pics added 8/8/05!)
Contact Michael: email@example.com
A Message from Michael:
Here are some pictures of the heap I left while on vacation in Odessa Medical. I have been sorting it out for a few days so will have another series in a week or two.
I'm out, on the mend, skinny and weak - but not dead.
New Pics of Michael's workshop here
As per usual, Matte Henderson delivers the goods.
Here are some great shots of a Classic and an LJ that he managed to get his hands on.
The low-down on the LJ:
- 1 of the 1st 10 LJs made
- Shipped to Pat Kelley (who used it on the Pat Sajak show) with a Duncan "59 neck and "59 JB Bridge PU.
- Pat exchanged it with FCS for a Tobacco Burst LJ for touring with George Benson
www.patkelley.com/images/mikestevens.jpg, www.patkelley.com/images/PKphoto11.jpg, www.patkelley.com/images/PKphoto30.jpg, www.patkelley.com/images/PKphoto17.jpg
- Rich Robinson then got it from Fender
- It was the last of the solid (unchambered) Fender era LJs built @ Fender.
- 820" @ the nut
- Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard
- Honduras Mahogany back and neck
- Quilted .5" carved Maple top
- Japanese Grained Yellow Ivoroid binding (Mike tells me that the binding was yellow when the guitars were built and that he has been unable to locate more of the material, though there might be a very small amount of it still @ the FCS)
- Brazilian Rosewood headstock overlay
- Currently set up with Tone Pros Nashville and Bar stop (original bridge, posts and bar stop in case, no mods necessary).
- Nitrocellulose Lacquer finish
Thanks once again, Matte!
Michael is in currently in Odessa Medical Center with pneumonia and a shoulder infection - he's hoping to be released next week.
Wish him well.
The Dallas Guitar Show starts this weekend (Friday, Saturday & Sunday) and Michael Stevens will be appearing at the Jimmy Wallace booth on Friday and Saturday, and in person on Sunday.
Call in and have a chat with him!
He will also be reporting on the show or modernguitars.com and stratcollector.com for an overview of the show as well as taking photos.
On Monday, MS will do an intervew for a guitar documentary which will air at a later date.
Don't forget to drop into the Jimmy Wallace booth and say "Hi!" to Michael.
Michael and Joel Nelson will be performing at the Dinner Theater in Oatmeal TX on Saturday night.
Michael's workshop is coming together very nicely... watch for some new pics in the next few days!
Check it out! New shots of Michael's workshop!
Construction progress shots for the new year!
Small ladder in front, step broke, man plummets to ground, lost some shin skin, promptly beats small ladder to kindling.
New construction pics of Michael's workshop
Check it out! - New shots of work in progress
Beyond Lilliput - New shots of Michael's workshop!
Stevens Guitars business manager Mark Pollock's phone # is now (432) 837-2074
More info on the Contact page
New Stevens 'Construction pics' coming soon!
" A Trip Through Lilliput "
Lot 86 of the "Crossroads Guitar Auction", the 1988 Fender Custom Shop Eric Clapton Signature Model Stratocaster fetched US$231,500 (after an estimated auction price of 10,000-15,000)
Lot 61, the 1982 Robin Octave Double Neck Electric model, fetched US$45,410 (with an estimated sale price of 4,000-6,000)
For a complete auction price listing check out Stratcollector.com
Regarding lot 86, page 179 Christies catalog '"Crossroads Guitar Auction" 24 June 2004
Michael Stevens: "I remember this guitar well, it started life in Pewter as the Royal Albert Hall pics show. Then twas 7up green in the gear photo (page 79) in the first Christies auction catalog 24 June 1999 ( not my favorite color I might add ) I know when that happened. When it finally became black and beautiful I do not know, but I applaud.
I am proud that they consider this the "first officially sanctioned" black ( EC Signature ) Strat. However when Lee [Dixon] says it is almost like a prototype I must dispute! It is a prototype! It is Mike Stevens # 1 regardless of its chameleon like life.
Cutting to the short version, when I finally copied Blackie ( which for two weeks never left my sight unless locked in my office in Corona or was stashed under my bed with a pistol under my pillow while I slept ) to finalize the Clapton series for Fender, I made two necks for Eric that were approved.
John Page, George Blanda, the electronic R&D guys and I all worked on this project. I built the necks and the carving templates and later helped get it into regular production. But then my job was to assemble my necks on these two bodies and make them play great!
This is 'Mike Stevens #1'
images courtesy of Christies ('the real blackie' front cover + back cover, and lot 86 page 179 & 181)
[ check out Christies.com - or direct link to the Crossroads Guitar Auction page to view the entire sale catalogue and leave bids]
(Note: Lot 62 'Mike Stevens #2' was auctioned in the first Clapton Auction in 1999 - more info about #2 can be found down the bottom of the stevensguitars news archive)
Regarding lot 61 ( Crossroads Guitar Auction ) 24 June 2004
Michael Stevens: "That guitar is the prototype double-neck of the Robin Guitar Company. I built that for Dave Wintz along with 5 other guitars and 1 electric mando before he had his company up and running in Houston.
These instruments were the body of his first NAMM show appearance in 1982. They are Dave's designs and I built the protos from drawings and added all the details ( 60's or 50's ) so they could be copied overseas easily. We never mentioned I built them because of my reputation in Texas might confuse people as to whose or what they were. No harm now, they were Dave's ideas.
By the time this proto was built, Dave had the Ranger guitar in production, so I did use a company neck. The blonde Ranger guitar in the center of the enclosed color hand out from NAMM is my prototype. I have called Dave to check. I guess this is a bit different from Jimmy's story but should not make any difference, it is the guitar they played, and played."
HOT NEWS!!! Michael Stevens Comments On Two Instruments to be Sold in the Upcoming Eric Clapton Crossroads Auction!
Lot 62 Mike Stevens #2 was the 6th highest priced (US $107,000) and only non vintage guitar of the 6 being auctioned in the first Clapton Auction in 1999. The upcoming auction includes Mike Stevens #1
More Info at www.stratcollector.com/scn - check it out!
This news in more detail tomorrow! Stick around!
Check out page 209 of the brand new Stratocaster Chronicles: Celebrating 50 years of the Fender Strat by Tom Wheeler (with foreword by Eric Clapton).
The Stratocaster Chronicles is an official, authorized book/CD package celebrating the golden anniversary of the world's most famous guitar, and focuses on the people who brought it into the world, the designers and builders who refined it, and the players who have taken it from there.
THE STRATOCASTER CHRONICLES
Celebrating 50 Years of the Fender Strat
Author: Tom Wheeler
Publisher: Hal Leonard
Medium: Book & CD Package
Inventory # HL 00331056
Check out Tom's book at Hal Leonard Online
A while ago, Matte Henderson sent us an MP3 of a track of he was working on. Due to a huge workload (and numerous other excuses!) it got put in a big to-do pile (sorry Matte!). We're pleased to announce that Matte's work (as we'll call it here "theme from stevensguitars.com") can be heard on his page in the artists' section.
If you've got any problems playing the file, let the firstname.lastname@example.org know!
Check out Matt Tapp's Report from the 27th Annual Dallas Guitar Show
Michael's picture graces the cover of the 2004 Dallas Guitar Scrapbook Hotline, together with the phrase "Michael Stevens holding his ultra-cool model LJ"
This just in...
Michael Stevens will not be attending this years "Dallas Guitar Show " (from the 16th throught to the 18th of April) due to too much work in progress on the new shop.
Watch for some fun new pictures soon!
However, you will be able to see plenty of Stevens Guitars in Dallas - Check booth # 778, Emile's Fine Guitars - (rumor is, he has the Classic that was at George Gruhns) and also booth # 653 - Jimmy Wallace Guitars as always.
In other news, we are happy to say that Chris Maresh ( bass player with Eric Johnson - check our Artist section ) will be using the Dallas made "Sabre" guitar cord. ( www.sabrecable.com )
Stop by the Sabre booth (# 518) at the Guitar Show and talk to Matt Tapp. [Don't believe everthing you hear, unless of course, when you can really hear it! ]
Don Mock recently contacted Stevens Guitars - his main guitar is a Stevens LJ and he uses it on all his Warner Book CDs and online multimedia educational material on Guitaraxis.com.
Don plays the original LJ prototype created by Michael during his years at the Fender Custom Shop.
Soon, Don can be found on the Stevens Guitars artists page. Stay tuned!
Michael now ships each order with Sabre Cables. They're high-conductive, high-fidelity cables - a great companion to a high-end instrument.
Benefit for the Museum of The Big Bend
Joel Nelson and Michael will perform on the riverwalk of the "Lonesome Dove Western Bistro" in the Historic Stock Yards of Fort Worth, Texas.
Thursday March 25th, 2004 from 6:30 to 7:30.
After Dinner and a Live Auction, guests will dance to the music of "Asleep at the Wheel" reservations are very limited, $250 per person minimum reservation.
For reservation information call Dedie Leahy - 214 521-9577
The last ring put in place! Michael's new workshop is nears completion!. (Pics from late 2003)
Michael and poet Joel Nelson will be doing a Dinner Theatre show at the Holland Hotel in Alpine on Friday the 27th of Feb.
On the following weekend they will be performing at the 19th Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine March 5th and 6th.
On March 25 th they will team up again to play a benefit for the Museum of the Big Bend near the Stock Yards in Fort Worth along with Asleep at the Wheel and others, more details later.
We apologise for the delays in updates recently. We have had a few tech problems that have now been ironed out.
Work on the building progresses, more pics coming soon!
The final day of the Official Barn Raising! - Sunday, 30th November 2003
Happy New Year!
The Official Barn Raising! - Saturday, 29th November 2003
Breakfast before the big day
New construction shots!
Preparation day before the grand crew arrives - Friday, 28th November 2003
More pics coming soon!
The roof is up!!
Pics of the Official Barn Raising day are on the way and a video will follow later.
Watch for the new pics !!
The Official Barn Raising (shop raising) for Stevens Electrical Instruments is Saturday November 29th STOP Cowboy Tommy Vaughan with Chuckwagon, will be cooking STOP Late breakfast at 8:00 am (for the benefit of our civilized help) STOP Dinner at 12:00 STOP Supper at dark thirty, menus to be announced later STOP Then out come the Guitars and BEER !!!!! Pictures later for all to see that can not attend STOP
Needed: Work clothes, gloves, 9/16 box end wrench, air or battery ratchet driver if available and beer for the stash STOP
- Michael ( email@example.com )
New construction shots! Concrete getting poured
Progress shots of Michael's new workshop as at 14th November
A whole bunch of overdue news is coming in the next couple of days - sorry for the delay.
Check back real soon!
Matte recently sent us this from the September 1982 issue of Guitar Player - listed under the "It's NEW!" section.
Michael is back online - feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael will be without internet access for the next week.
Any business should be sent to Mark Pollock - email@example.com
I apologise for any inconvenience, please feel free to call me
- Michael Stevens (432) 294-1389
Check this out! - One-off strat-tele double neck (seen in the stevensguitars.com gallery) for sale.
Made by Michael in 1987, at Fender Custom Shop. Serial no. #0001
http://www1.neweb.ne.jp/wb/u-one/ - click on the top banner for pics. (Japanese site)
More construction pics of Michael's new workshop!
stevensguitars.com recently changed hosts. We apologise for any downtime or site access problems you may have experienced over the last couple of days. If you tried to send Michael e-mail and had it bounce back, please re-send it.
If you have any questions, please contact the firstname.lastname@example.org
This coming weekend (April 12), will see Michael Stevens teamed up once again with the Academy of Western Artists "Poet of the Year", Joel Nelson.
Joel and Michael are teamed to play a show at the "Oatmeal Community Center" Oatmeal, Texas.
Both men are recipients of the Heritage Award from the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering.
Barbeque, supper and performance is $15 per person.
Sat April 12th - serving begins approx. 5:30
Please call ahead for reservations 512 355-3492 - Sandy or Rufus Arrington
( Oatmeal is 3 miles south of Bertram on FM 243 - approx 50 miles N of Austin. Check your map )
Prices for Stevens Guitars models available here.
Construction progress pics of Michael's new workshop!
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Michael Stevens is featured in the book "Cowboy Guitars" by Steve Evans & Ron Middlebrooke (through Centerstream publishing).
Michael is credited as being the first recognized Cowboy Guitar collector, first showing at the 2nd Dallas Guitar Show in 1979. His collection is also featured, as well as photos by Alice Stevens.
Contact Centerstream or your favorite book store for a copy.
isbn # 1-57424-122-2
isbn # 1-57424-102-8
Flash back to the past. Michael Stevens at the 1979 Dallas Guitar Show.
The Dallas Guitar Show is on the 22nd & 23rd of March.
Come and see us at booth 124!
The Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering Heritage Award
Le Plank, Flat top LJ - Coming Soon!
The 17th annual Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering is (Alpine Texas) taking place on March 7, 8 and 9.
Michael Stevens is now taking orders for guitars, basses and mandolins as construction on the workshop is under construction.
Construction progress pics coming soon!
Keep watching stevensguitars.com - Interesting artist pics also coming very soon!
Check out http://www.maverick-music.com - 1989 & 1990 Fender Custom Shop Stevens LJs for sale!
Built by Michael Stevens for Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes.
Of special note is the unique L-CAT Smart Bridge and Trans-Performance tuning system fitted to the 1990 model LJ.
Michael Stevens is announcing the addition of Mark Pollock to "Stevens Electrical Instruments" as Business Manager. Pollock, producer of the world's oldest and largest guitar event, "The Dallas guitar Show" and former owner of "Charley's Guitar Shop", has recently relocated to Alpine, Texas and will handle sales, inquiries, and day to day business matters.
Stevens is a legendary guitar builder/repairman to many stars and collectors: Eric Clapton, Junior Brown, Eric Johnson, Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Wallace, Christopher Cross, James Burton and Danny Gatton just to name a few.
A new workshop is now under construction south of Alpine. Watch the website (www.stevensguitars.com) for photo updates and other news.
Direct all inquiries to:
Stevens Electrical Instruments
P.O. Box 1082
Alpine, Texas 79831
(432) 238-0536 (Michael)
(432) 940-2073 (Mark)
This coming weekend, (September 20, 21, 22) will see Michael Stevens teamed up with the Academy of Western Artists "Poet of the Year," Joel Nelson.
Mike and Joel will be performing at the Cowboy Poet Gathering in NaraVisa, New Mexico on Friday September 20 & Saturday September 21.
Sunday September 22 will find them performing at St James Hotel, Cimarron, New Mexico.
The Stevens Slant 5 Bass, recently seen at the Dallas Guitar Show has gone "Down Under"
(Check it out in the Slant 5 gallery )
[ click to enlarge the pictures ]
Mike Stevens will be signing copies of his book
Texas Tales: In Words and Music (co-written by Larry D. Hodge)
this coming weekend!
The Texas Tales book & CD are available from Amazon.com and directly from www.RepublicOfTexasPress.com
Junior Brown's guit-steel is featured in the Country Music Magazine
Michael Stevens has been working for the past few months as a consultant for Collings Guitars in Austin, Texas.
He is also in the process of selecting a new site for his factory.
At the moment, there is no production of guitars, basses or mandolins - but this situation will be remedied as soon as possible.
If you wish to contact Michael, you can do so here.
If you have any queries regarding the site, contact the Webmaster here.
Stevens LJ Model is featured on the cover of "The Dominant 7th Chord Book" by Douglas Scharnberg, and is available from email@example.com