In some photos from 1983-85 one can see a much heavier gauge tremolo bar on Number One. These were made by Stevie’s roadie’s father. Some were straight (as in the photos from the In Session recording with Albert King) and some were bent (as used at the El Mocambo in 1983). Approximately ten to twelve of these custom bars were made either to reduce the number of broken tremolo arms (Stevie still broke them), or merely because the threads in the left-hand trem block were stripped and retapped requiring the larger gauge.
In the photo above of some of Stevie’s whammy bars I have owned over the years, the three on the left are standard Fender-issue bars for comparison to the heavier gauge of the four custom bars. Note two of the stock bars are broken at the threads. The third bar is bent at the threads. The heavier bars weren’t easy to bend, but Stevie still found a way to break the fourth and seventh bars. The other two are unbroken custom bars. The seventh bar is the much more rare straight bar, as seen on Number One when Stevie played with Albert King for the In Session television show.
See if you can spot the custom bars in photos of Stevie on stage.