Roy Buchanan Bluesmaster

Roy Buchanan Bluesmaster

Guitar Gavel Lick Of The Week with Stevie K - Faux Steel

Oh boy, how strong are your fingers? No pain, no gain! Steve calls this one "a hundred dollar lick" and you can see why. Amazing tone! Thank you Steve for sharing your time, treasure, and talents with us all.

When one of your first custom built guitars goes to Roy Buchanan you are probably on the right track. 

That was the story with brothers Roger & John Fritz. The two had a chance encounter with Buchanan in Nashville in the late 80s and it went so well they partnered with Buchanan to start Fritz Brothers Guitars.

Their first model? The Roy Buchanan Bluesmaster tele-style guitar.

To jumpstart sales, Buchanan sent his signature model to George Harrison. Harrison showed it to his neighbor, Gary Moore, and Moore ordered his own. Moore played it hard on his 1993 “Blues Alive”. 

In Roy’s words… “Father, Son, and Holy String”. In the video recorded a few months before his death, Roy talks in depth about his Fritz Brothers model. It’s a long video, rather informative, but the first 5 minutes offers plenty.

Buchanan also sent one to Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles and in a September 2004 Vintage Guitar magazine interview she described how it went down: “They contacted me and said Roy wanted me to have the guitar. He made the number one model for George Harrison. Mine came with a number two on it, and my name on the little engraved tag on the back. I was really honored. I have no idea how he knew about me or anything. But apparently he requested that I have that guitar. It’s an orange one. Vicki got a blue 12-string shortly after I got mine.”

Meanwhile, the death of Roy Buchanan in 1989 left a hole in the business and it essentially stopped after a few dozen models were produced. Roger moved to California in 1993 and the story kind of ended for a dozen years or so. 

During this time Roger started making Kay 162 hollow body bass replicas and that led to an introduction to the new license owner of Kay guitars in 2007.  

Fortunately that conversation was all good news as the owner wanted to reinvigorate the brand with USA custom shop Kay’s and more budget friendly imports. 

Kay Thin Twin reissue

The Fritz brothers were back on the map with brother John in tow and the two relocated to Fairhope, AL where production costs were less hostile than California. Plus their mom was there :-).

Along with the Kay models, Roger & John reintroduced the Roy Buchanan Bluesmaster.  

Like the original, Roy was aiming at getting a Strat, Tele, and Gibson sound all in one guitar.  The result is a Nashville style Tele with active EMG pickups staying true to the originals of the late 80s. 

Bluesmaster specs: alder body, maple neck with ebony fretboard, lower output EMG single coils (tele version neck and bridge, strat style middle), 7-way switch, push/pull tone pot, active midrange.


Thanks for reading Keith and so glad you enjoyed it! He can make a man shed a tear with those bends.


I got to see Roy Buchanan Live at Fitzgerald’s in Houston, Texas. It is a great memory for me. I was blown away by the performance. I have never heard “Down By The River” Like they did it. I cannot forget it. That’s a guitar worth having. (A man can dream can’t he?) Thanks so much for the article and bringing back a wonderful memory.


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