Eric Clapton Tries Out Guitars at Home and Talks About the Beatles, Cream, and His Musical Roots

“Brownie” Fender Stratocaster:

Eric Clapton recently allowed a camera crew into his London home for an intimate talk. The purpose was to demonstrate a new series of high-priced, limited-edition reproductions of some of his most famous guitars, which will soon go on sale to benefit his Crossroads Centre in Antigua. But as Rolling Stone noted in a recent online piece, the conversation went much deeper.

In the video above, Clapton tries out a replica of an early sunburst Fender Stratocaster, nicknamed “Brownie,” that he purchased in 1967 and played with Derek and the Dominoes. The original guitar, which had a heavily worn maple neck that Clapton attached to a Fender Telecaster body during his days with Blind Faith, was sold at auction in 1999 for $497,500. The replicas were made by the Fender Custom Shop and will sell for $15,000. In the video, Clapton plugs the guitar into a 1950s-era Fender “Tweed Twin” amplifier and tries it out, playing a few blues lines and reminiscing about his early Stratocaster-playing influences: Buddy Holly, Buddy Guy and Jimi Hendrix.

Martin 000-28 and 000-45:

Above, Clapton tries out a pair of acoustic guitars made in his honor by Martin & Co. He talks about his early infatuation with Martin guitars, which he developed after hearing other musicians talk about them and after seeing footage of Big Bill Broonzy playing the 000-28 model. Unlike the other “Crossroads Collection” guitars, the Martins were apparently not modeled after individual guitars Clapton once played, but were instead handmade to his specifications. The Crossroads model 000-28 will sell for $6,000 and the 000-48 will be offered in two editions made with different materials, one for $13,000 and the other for $50,000.

“Lucy” Gibson Les Paul:

Perhaps the most interesting of the three videos involves a guitar Clapton is not usually associated with: a Gibson Les Paul. The guitar is a reproduction of a heavily worn 1957 cherry-red guitar Clapton bought in about 1967, when he was touring America with Cream. He gave the guitar to George Harrison of the Beatles, who nicknamed it “Lucy” and played it on the White Album and Let it Be. When Clapton accepted Harrison’s request to play lead guitar on the recording of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” he played it on Lucy. In the video, Clapton reminisces about the Beatles session and talks about the amplifier he used during his days with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers and the ones he used afterwards. Harrison briefly loaned the original Lucy Les Paul back to Clapton, who played it during his famous Rainbow Concert in 1973, but the guitar still belongs to the Harrison estate. The Gibson-made replicas will sell for $15,000 each.

via Rolling Stone

Related Content:

A Young Eric Clapton Demonstrates the Elements of His Sound

Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood Join Forces at the Historic Blind Faith Concert in Hyde Park, 1969

by | Permalink | Comments (15) |

Support Open Culture

We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture’s educational mission, please consider making a donation. We accept PayPal, Venmo (@openculture), Patreon and Crypto! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (15)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • PACO says:

    Dear all, I have been an Eric fan for ever, started to play guitar 26 years ago so that is how long i have been following Eric.
    Those guitars look nice and for sure will sound good but I think that the prices are kind of crazy 15K for a Brownie which is just a replica and over all is a replica of a strat which Eric bought for 150 Pounds in 1967.
    The Lucy replica is marketed at $ 5000 which might be fine but for a Les Paul standard is not .
    The Martins are nice but 50k for the Brasilian wood one is totally insane.
    Everybody talks about a global crises and they put on the market Replicas at prices which are absolutely unheard of . Is like buying a fake Rolex at the price of a real one.
    All my respect to Eric but this time I don’t think this was right !

  • Chip Py says:

    Guitar Center is owned by Bain Capital. Not a good company by any means.

  • James Mossman says:

    Yes but read the dang story…”these high priced guitars… will go on sale to benefit the Crossroads center”.
    Why not extract every penny from those rich enough to purchase one of these guitars to benefit EC’s charities?

    Though if they are as playable as Eric says, it is a shame they might not fall into the hands of real players!

  • Ian Mills says:

    What a bloody shame that someone was taking pics with the noisiest camera in the world during Eric’s playing…

  • Cow Chip Py says:

    “Guitar Center is owned by Bain Capital. Not a good company by any means.”

    Bain Capital saved Guitar Center. They were 200 million dollars in debt and hundreds perhaps thousands of people would have lost their jobs if Bain hadn’t stepped up. Don’t believe everything the media tells you.

  • Mike Springer says:

    “Cow Chip”:
    I’m afraid you do not know what you are talking about. Guitar Center was in the black when Bain Capital bought the company in 2007. In the last full year before the buyout, 2006, Guitar Center posted a net profit of $76.7 million, according to Fortune magazine. So despite the $200 million in debt that you mention, the company was not operating in the red. Bain’s takeover (which occurred just as the recession was about to begin) was a leveraged buyout. Guitar Center is now buried under more than $1.5 billion in debt and is unable to keep up with the interest. Here’s a relevant passage from the July, 2012 issue of Music Trades magazine:

    Not withstanding solid operational performance, Guitar Center has been hobbled by a crushing $1.56 billion debt burden that was incurred in late 2007 when Bain Capital acquired the business for $2.2 billion. Since the acquisition, the company has consistently operated in the red, unable to cover the approximately $160 million in annual interest expense. The steady losses have triggered regular credit “downgrades” from the ratings agencies Standard & Poors and Moody’s. In the most recent downgrade, issued on May 8, Standard & Poor’s wrote, “We have downgraded Guitar Center’s liquidity profile to ‘less than adequate’ and revised our ratings outlook to negative from stable.”

  • Jim Mawer says:

    I agree, for replica guitars I think the purchase prices are way over the top! I can also understand that a “part of” that money goes to Eric’s “crossroads” charity, (how much though?)Still, it’d be nice to have the pleasure of owning one. A friend, the late Keef Hartley introduced me to Eric back in the late ’70s when he was recording with Phil collins (I think the album was “August”?) Happy days!

  • Cow Pie Pie says:

    Those damn evil capitalists. Let’s all just get stoned and play music man.

  • Eric says:

    Oooh, those sounds… and ow, those prices, charity or not. Yes, a good quality guitar can set you back – and yet if you listen to him, and many other top guitar players, they cut their teeth and made their signature sound (the same sound that makes people want “their” guitar) with pawn shop and secondhand specials.

  • Keith Gerrard (Mr G) says:

    Nice to see Eric still looking young.
    Last met him at Gingers firework party in 1975 I think.
    We planned to kidnap him and take him across the Sahara in 1976.
    Erics guitars are as big a legend as he is and no price is to great for even the replicas.
    He realy is genuine about the charity stuff he does.
    He should have a knighthood by now.

  • Brian McNevin says:

    It’s insane to pay those prices for any guitar. For a good factory made acoustic, you’re going to pay at least in the neighborhood of 2 grand. If you want a rosewood back and sides, which is probably what most people think sounds the best, you’ll pay a heck of a lot more. With an electric solid body guitar, if you know what you’re doing, you can order the parts, put one together, and have a good tech tweak the set up for you, and get something really fantastic for the total of about $1600 to $2200, which is going to be better than anything factory made. All you have to know is what neck radius, nut width, and pickups you refer, and do your research.

  • Alexis Wilson says:

    Eric is still young :) and i loved that way he tries out the guitar playing..

  • Jesse Petton says:

    Martin makes an amazing guitar and if you can afford to purchase one you will not be disappointed. I’ve owned my D-35 for over 30 years and the tone keeps getting sweeter. I’ve had the pleasure of playing 1940’s and I’ve sat and listened to 2 very good guitar players compare a 1946 to a 1955…and the 55 sounded better. Most guitar players, including myself, would do better paying for more guitar lessons. But there is a reason Martin is in such demand among professionals… it’s the sound.

  • Charlie Green says:

    It’s funny the way he doesn’t think “Lucy” is the right colour and then catches on and backtracks” Is it…I think it is. lol

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.