Why did John Mayer uses his iconic ‘BLK1’ Fender Strat for the first time in four years?

Mayer appears to have reunited with an old flame for the second time in as many weeks…

John Mayer

Credit: Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post via Getty Images

John Mayer and the PRS Silver Sky have become synonymous in recent years, but the guitarist turned back the clock this week by playing a Fender Strat on stage – and not just any Strat either. For the first time in over four years, Mayer broke out one of his most iconic instruments – ‘the Black One’ or BLK1.

Mayer was performing at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night (4th October) when the Strat made a return. The 2004 guitar is one of his most well-known models, and powered many of his biggest hits.

Mayer was a lifelong Fender devotee and signature artist until 2014, when he jumped ship to PRS – over the next four years they worked together on the Silver Sky, which arrived in 2018, and quickly supplanted the myriad Strats in Mayer’s touring arsenal, and he’s barely been pictured with a Fender guitar since.

“I get to call the guy whose name is on the guitar and we get to build stuff together,” Mayer said at the time. “That’s too cool…  The Silver Sky is my vision of what a reboot of the electric guitar should look and feel like.”

Interestingly this isn’t the first time Mayer has played a Strat recently – he also broke out another of his archive, a Jimi Hendrix Monterey Strat, at last week’s Crossroads Guitar Festival. He’s also been seen playing a possible prototype of a new signature Silver Sky model.

It’s extremely unlikely that any of is Mayer foreshadowing a return to Fender, of course, but we also know that he rarely does stuff like this for no reason – quite what the reason might be is anyone’s guess at this stage, but we’ll be keeping an eye on the situation.

Check out a clip of him playing Gravity on the Fender Strat below:

Meanwhile, Mayer recently reaffirmed that Stevie Ray Vaughan is his “all-time favourite guitar player inspiration”.

“I will still watch this guy on Instagram. I’ve seen him for years – you know, he sadly passed away many years [ago], but every time I see a clip on Instagram, I go like this, ‘Good God’,” he said.

“So, yeah, I repeatedly watch the same musician and go, ‘Come on, none of us are ever gonna hit it like that.’”

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