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.