“Big Jerry,” the 1961 Slab-board Stratocaster

Oct 21, 2021

Remember a couple months ago, when I put together “Big Jerry,” the 1961 Slab-board Stratocaster made from a neck I found in R.C. Allen’s attic (!) after I bought his shop contents, and a real Olympic white 1961 body I got from Jay Rosen? I had barely put the thing together when I was offered a really tempting trade: a refinished ash-body 1955 Strat. I took the ’55, but we both agreed we’d sleep on it for a month or two.

Well, good thing I didn’t get too emotionally bonded with the 1955 Strat, because my friend decided he’d rather have his ’55 back. I was bummed, of course, because financially the ’55 was worth more money, and I’ll probably never have the chance to own a real light-ash-body 50s Strat again. But…

I’m not gonna lie, I have an emotional tie to “Big Jerry.” As soon as I opened the box today, I was glad to have it back in my life. There’s some kind of weird life-force mojo juju with this one. The fact that I named it after my recently deceased buddy Big Jerry Douthett probably plays a part, and the fact that AJ Peat hooked me up with a batch of perfect original and relic’d parts to finish the guitar doesn’t hurt either.

But you know when a guitar is “alive”? Dang, this guitar is alive. You start playing it and you can’t put it down. The body resonates perfectly. The sustain is magic. The pickups sound incredible.

I’m bummed to not own a ’55 Strat. But I’m glad Big Jerry is back in the house. Sometimes, if something was meant to be, it just IS and you have to let it roll!