Cooperatively conceived by Eric and his friend, Japanese artist Hiroshi Fujiwara, the MARTIN 000-ECHF, known as the Bellezza Nera - The Beautiful Black - first appeared on stage during the opening show of the European 2004 Tour. The Bellezza Nera is in the tradition of the 000-42EC Signature Edition with its elegant headplate ornamentation of Martin's elaborate "alternative torch" inlay in mother of pearl, originally created on one of the first Martin 00-45s in 1902. Fine pattern herringbone encircles the top and the fingerboard, while bold pattern herringbone bordered in white bisects the back, the rosette features a center ring of Martin's traditional small mother of pearl slotted square inlays which remains the fingerboard's Martin's Style 45 snowflake inlays. Premium Solid tonewoods are featured throughout : the top is Italian alpine spruce, the back and sides are crafted from East Indian rosewood. 476 guitars were built in 2004. The Belleza Nera is an exceptional guitar for its quality a well as its unique polished black gloss finished body uncommon among Eric's acoustic guitars. A prototype, sold during the 2004 Christies Auction, has been built with a sober ornementaion, without the headplate torch and with diamond-shaped inlays on fingerboard. Both guitars were used during the "Me And Mr Johnson" sessions. The Bellezza can be seen on the album cover.
The Bellezza Bianca is, of course, the declension in white of the Bellezza Nera. This Martin provides the caracteristics of its sister with, however, some dissimilarities between the woods used, featuring a top crafted from bookmatched Engelmann spruce instead of Italian alpine spruce, the back and sides are made of solid Pacific big leaf flame maple. 410 Bellezza Bianca were built in 2006.
This long serving guitar was first seen on the back cover of "461 Ocean Boulevard" and was probably used on "Let it grow" and "Please be with me". It was Eric's main stage acoustic during the "comeback" tour of '74. Appart from occasional re-appearance , notably at the encore of the 1983 ARMS concerts, it did not see regular stage use again until the 1993 RAH Blues Shows when it was used side by side with the Unplugged '39 000-42. It had been said that this guitar is a pre-war 000-28 wich was converted to pre-war Style 45 by the inlay artist and Martin historian, Mike Longworth. Prior to Eric's ownership and was possibly a gift from Stephen Stills. Martin's Clapton signature model, 000-42EC is a replica of this Style 45 guitar despite its Style 42 designation.
This guitar, which was featured on the cover of the "Unplugged" album, became one of the potent symbols of the "post-unplugged area". Since its major public appearance at Bray studio in january '92, it had been Eric's main stage steel-string acoustic right up to the first leg of the "Pilgrim" US tour in 1998. This pre war 14 fret Martin is extremely rare and valuable vintage guitar, only 113 were made, with the finest wood and craftsmanship of Martin golden area.
This vintage D-28 was used for the solo acoustic première of "Broken hearted" at Montserrat Concert in september '97.