Get One Step Closer to Slowhand's Magic Tone
In 2004, Eric Clapton's favorite stage instrument from the 1970s and 1980s, a custom Fender Strat known as "Blackie" for its distinctive color, went on the Christie's auction block. The iconic guitar sold for almost a million dollars, making it, at the time, the world's most expensive guitar. Clapton had assembled Blackie himself in the early 1970s from the best parts of three vintage '56 and '57 Strats that he had purchased for a hundred bucks each. After debuting onstage in 1973, it became his favorite guitar until 1985 -- the year Fender asked Clapton to design a custom Stratocaster that would be built to his own precise specifications.
Fender's First Artist Model
Clapton instructed Fender to build him a new version of Blackie, with a slightly softer and more comfortable version of the V-shaped neck profile from his favorite Martin acoustic, and pickups that could emulate the legendary "woman tone" he developed while playing with Cream. And so, in 1987, Fender introduced their first artist model -- which Clapton has played onstage ever since. Modifications have been made on the Clapton models over the years, but they're still made to Slowhand's own exact specifications. Contrary to what the graffiti says, Clapton may not actually be God, but he's the god of the Fender Custom Shop Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster.
The Stratocaster: A Legend in its Own Time
The 1950 release of the Fender Telecaster may have changed the world, but Leo Fender and his partner, George Fullerton, didn't stop looking for ways to improve their instruments. By day, they worked long hours in the shop, refining their designs, and at night, they'd haunt juke joints, dance halls and blues clubs to find out -- straight from the guitarists themselves -- exactly what players needed and wanted from their electric guitars. Released in 1954, the Stratocaster introduced several new features to Fender guitars, including a contoured body for more comfortable playing, a double cutaway to make the higher frets easier to reach, a third pickup between the bridge and the neck to make even more tones available, and a tremolo bar to make notes easier than ever to bend. The large, 8-screw pickguard allowed almost all of the Stratocaster's electronic components to be mounted on one metal plate, making them especially easy to service. By the time Buddy Holly appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show playing one, Strats were well on their way to becoming icons.
Built to Clapton's Exact Specifications
Eric Clapton first made a name for himself playing Gibson guitars, but in 1970, Steve Winwood helped convince him to turn to Strats. It was on his '56 Strat, which he nicknamed "Brownie" for its tobacco sunburst finish, that he played the famous licks on "Layla." But it was Blackie, the Frankenstein-like custom Strat made from vintage Strat parts, that became the template for the signature model he developed with Fender -- continuing Fender's tradition of making guitars the way guitarists wanted them. Only this time the design didn't come from a pool of suggestions from random guitarists -- they were from one guitarist; one some say was the greatest of them all. The Clapton model has all of the features you expect from any Strat -- a lightweight alder body, comfortable contoured design, sparkling tone, and stunning versatility. The three vintage noiseless pickups bring that searing vintage single-coil sound without that annoying hum, reproducing Eric's bright, clean tones with ease.
Let's just go ahead and state the obvious: even though Eric Clapton could probably make a guitar made from a cigar box and a rubber band sound amazing, you know that Clapton isn't going to go around playing a guitar that he doesn't think is perfect. He can play any kind of guitar he wants -- and the one he wants is available to you in this signature model. Clapton didn't simply sign his name to a nice guitar that Fender built; he works with the company to make sure every single Eric Clapton signature Strat is made to his own exact specifications. After all, he uses these guitars onstage and in the studio. And he's not the only one -- Pete Townshend of The Who has used the Clapton model exclusively for over 20 years.
Series: Custom Artist Series
Model Name: Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster
Body: Select Alder
Neck: 1-Piece Maple, Soft "V" Shape, (Satin Polyurethane Finish)
Fingerboard: Maple, 9.5 in. Radius (241mm)
No. of Frets: 22 Vintage Style Frets
Pickups: 3 Vintage Noiseless(TM) Pickups (Neck, Middle, Bridge)
- Tone 1. Master Tone Control,
- Tone 2. Master Active Mid Boost (0-25dB)
- Position 1. Bridge Pickup
- Position 2. Bridge and Middle Pickup
- Position 3. Middle Pickup
- Position 4. Middle and Neck Pickup
- Position 5. Neck Pickup
Bridge: "Blocked" American Vintage Synchronized Tremolo
Machine Heads: Fender(R)/Gotoh(R) Vintage Style Tuning Machines
Pickguard: 1-Ply White
Scale Length: 25.5 in. (648 mm)
Width at Nut: 1.650 in. (42 mm)
- Special Soft "V" Shape Neck,
- Blocked Tremolo,
- Active Mid-Boost Circuit,
- Eric Clapton's Signature on Headstock
Strings: Fender Super 250R, Nickel Plated Steel,
Gauges: (.010, .013, .017, .026, .036, .046), p/n 073-0250-006
Accessories Included: Vintage Tweed Case, Strap, Cable
Case: Vintage Tweed Case with Orange Interior