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THE HAMILTONE

Stevie's Hamiltone guitar, a.k.a. "Main" or "the Couldn't Stand the Weather guitar," is easily the most recognizable of his guitars after Number One. Stevie appeared with "Main" on several magazine covers, and of course the CSTW video and countless stage appearances. From the day he received it from Jim Hamilton on April 29, 1984, it remained one of Stevie's primary stage guitars.

The Hamiltone was a gift from Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. It was first ordered in 1979, but Billy asked that the project be put on hold until some other guitars were made for him. It ended up being five years before Billy finally had Jim make Stevie's guitar. The original plan was for the neck inlay to read "Stevie Vaughan," but by 1984 Stevie had started using his full name.

Jim recalls that Stevie was so happy with the guitar that he took it straight from the case to the stage and played it that night at Springfest on the campus of the University of Buffalo, New York (see the photo in my book).

In response to inquiries as to whether Jim Hamilton has made all the replicas of Stevie's Hamiltone guitar which have been offered for sale in the past couple of years (particularly on eBay and at guitar shows), the answer is NO.  I do not know who currently has the legal right to use the Hamiltone name. The ones Jim made were accompanied by a certificate he personally signed, and he signed the back of some of the headstocks. Jim has told me he did not participate in the making of the other replicas of Stevie's Hamiltone. I have not inspected any of the other replicas so I cannot confirm a report of differences in accuracy, materials and quality. Potential buyers should educate themselves about any guitar before buying, particularly in this case where confusion in the marketplace is caused by the use of the Hamiltone name by someone other than Jim Hamilton. 

Here are some photos of the 20th anniversary replica of Main that Jim made. It was built just as Stevie's was originally delivered, though Stevie later made some slight changes including the knobs and pickups. See the specs below. 

Click on the thumbnails for larger images. All photos copyright Jim Hamilton.

hamtone-srv.jpg (49874 bytes) Jim Hamilton & Stevie Ray Vaughan - April 29, 1984

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26 1/8 scale
Jumbo frets
Ebony fingerboard
Book-matched curly maple top and back
3-piece laminated neck thru the body
Mother-of -Pearl Inlay fingerboard and Hamiltone on peghead
Vintage style trem bridge chrome
Schaller mini chrome tuners
"Hot rod" truss rod
Texas Special or Kent Armstrong pickups with cts pots
Creme pickguard and pu covers
Creme Binding on top,back,fingerbd and peghead
Bone nut
Red Mahogany sunburst poly/nitro finish