Tracking down Steve Vai's elusive "Crossroads" Jackson – the most famous guitar that was never heard

Jackson Steve Vai Crossroads guitar
(Image credit: Michael Mesker)

When I began writing for Guitar World in 2001, the job expectedly required a great deal of research, fact checking, etc. And the internet was really only a few years old. As I searched for details about various gear and artists, I frequently saw fans passionately arguing over the Jack Butler guitar.

I couldn’t believe how many divergent opinions were shared about who built it, what happened to it, the likely specs, which pickups were in it, etc.  Suffice to say, the online fervor rekindled my own passion for the instrument and began a mild-mannered pursuit that quickly morphed into a monstrous 20-year quest.  

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