The only known photo of the guitar that resulted from the work that Stevie and Gordon Van Ekstrom started in 1984. April 5th, 1988. © Wayne Blagdon
April 5: Metro Center, Halifax, NS, Canada
By 1984, Stevie had mentioned his desire to build a custom guitar, or even mass produce the
guitars, in interviews. One of the persons who tried to help Stevie bring this dream to reality was
Swedish guitarist Gordon van Ekstrom.
“We’d been collaborating on a guitar,” Gordon recalls, “for quite a while. He was very interested
in making this guitar. I had a telephone book that I took a bunch of notes in on all the technical data;
he drew in that too. We were eating, breathing, crying, laughing guitars–24/7. Lenny thought we had
an affair [laughs]! We were just absolutely having a ball guitaring. We were up all hours of the day.”
As for the guitar design, a number of things were discussed, including having the pickups
formed into the shape of his initials. Gordon recalls that he talked with Seymour Duncan about
the idea, but it was not technically feasible. Stevie wanted a left-handed tremolo based on a
Fender but “incorporating some changes that would stabilize tuning somewhat.” They made a
template for the body and had one or two bodies cut, but Gordon lost contact with Stevie for a
while due to Stevie’s substance abuse.
At some point, someone cobbled a guitar together to see how it would sound, but you can tell
from the photo that the guitar is not finished, and not just in the sense that the wood was not
sealed. The pickguard and pickup assembly appears to be in a standard Stratocaster shape, which
doesn’t fit the custom body and was not what Stevie originally designed. Whether the guitar was
ever worked on or even played again is not known. The photographer recalls that Stevie only
played the guitar for one song that night.