GMP
GMP Diecast's smaller replica of guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan's Fender Strat.

Eric Clapton wrote about his love for rock 'n' roll with his song "I've Got a Rock 'n' Roll Heart."

The chorus says, "I get off on '57 Chevys. I get off on screaming guitars. ..."

Although the song isn't a riff showcase like other Clapton gems like "Layla" and "Cocaine," the lyrics made his point.

While some artists can make rock and pop music without guitars — Ben Folds Five, for example — guitars are pretty much essential when it comes to most forms of rock music.

Through the years there have been great guitarists who literally changed the way rock music is played. Everyone from Chuck Berry to Jimi Hendrix to Eddie Van Halen to the aforementioned Clapton ... the list goes on.

There is one brilliant guitarist who is known throughout the rock and blues musicians circles but is somewhat underrated in the general public's mind — the late Stevie Ray Vaughan.

SRV, as I like to call him, died in a helicopter crash in 1990. But his music is alive and well. My favorite SRV tune, by the way, is his no-vocals version of Hendrix's "Little Wing." Vaughan didn't need to sing the lyrics. He just let his guitar go and flow. Even now, it brings tears to my eyes.

Anyway, I bring this up because GMP Diecast (famous for miniature cars) has released a replica of SRV's Fender Strat. It's a little smaller than Vaughan's actual ax. The officially licensed guitar is 1:3 scale and features a real wood neck, a contoured die-cast metal body, moving volume and tone controls and a flip-easy pickup switch.

It also has real steel strings and a whammy bar.

The finish is as close to the original wood finish as possible and comes with a wall mount, a display stand and a collector's box.

It is available for $99.95 and can be preordered at www.gmpdiecast.com/products.

IF THE MINI SRV STRAT is a little too costly for you, there is another way to enjoy looking at some cool vintage guitars.

Author David Schiller, who penned "The Little Zen Companion," has released a minibook called "Guitars: A Celebration of Pure Mojo" through Workman Publishing.

This handbook — it literally fits in the palm of your hand — is 520 pages about guitars. With full-color photos, thoughtful insights and brief artist biographies, this is the perfect gift for any guitar lover.

Pix of rare turn-of-the-century Martins to the current and somewhat abstract Teuffel Tesla models are just a couple of beauties featured in the book.

Artist profiles of Bob Dylan, Clapton, classical guitar greats John Williams (not the "Star Wars" composer) and Sharon Isbin give a little insight on their guitars and styles.

The classic Gibson Les Paul, the Fenders and the Kramers are all represented throughout these colorful pages.

So let us take a moment to honor the guitar. Without these versatile instruments, music in the modern world would not be what it is.

And, to me, that's a good thing.


E-mail: scott@desnews.com