No introduction is needed for this one. This stratocaster used to be the Clapton's main guitar and trademark for almost 15 years. Originally bought as three 1950's stratocasters in Nashville during the Blind Faith tour of 1969, it was put together by Eric himself, possibly using a '57 neck on a '56 black body. First seen on stage during the Rainbow Concert in 1973, it has been nearly the exclusive guitar he used until the '85 world tour. From 1986 and August sessions, Eric switched to his own signature model prototypes.
Used for the "Reptile" Tour, this stratocaster was built by John Page from the Fender Custom Shop. It features the same specifications as the E.C. signature strat but the lace sensor pickups have been replaced by new Fender Noiseless Vintage.
The wonderful "artwork" came from Crash, a friend of Eric who is an artist and was lacquered by courtesy of the Custom Shop. The idea of this paint grew up in Eric's mind after seeing Todd Rundgren on Conan Obrien playing with a psyche SG which reminded his own "Cream area".
This guitar was used for the video clip of "Ain't Gonna Stand For It".
The name of the Crash 3 comes from the fact that it's the 3rd guitar owned by Eric, painted by the new-yorker artist Crash. This guitar which has made its first appearance for the charity concert One Generation 4 Another, on 2004 March 15th at Royal Albert Hall of London, is a Fender Clapton signature strat built, as usual for each stratocaster for Eric, by the Custom Shop. Intensely used during the 2004 european and american tour, visible on the Sessions For Robert J. video, the Crash 3 has been played on stage for the last time on 2004 July 22nd, before being sold for $321,100 during the second auction for the Crossroads Center. The logo of the Crossroads Center Festival that can be view on the video of this event is based on the design of this guitar.
The specifications of this one are the same as the "Rainbow" strat with the new Fender Vintage Noiseless pickups with a 21 db mid-boost. The color came from the Custom Shop with blue play of colors. Eric used this guitar on the "Reptile" Tour, he also used it during the "Ridin' With The King" session with B.B. King. It appeared for the fisrt time at the "Rock'n Roll Hall of Fame 2000" for "Further on up the road" with Robbie Robertson.
This is the same guitar as the Custom Shop #1. The Noiseless #2, with its Custom blue color, is as a matter of fact a relief-guitar for the shows and was only used once during the European tour.
Ordered by Eric as his version of a 50th Fender Anniversary Stratocaster and completed by Mark Kendrick of Fender custom shop who constructs all Clapton's new guitar. "Eric was looking for something that had an old world look, something that looked like it could be hang at the Louvre". Fender Custom Shop vice president John Page came up with the idea of trying a classic gold leaf, but it took to the Custom Shop artisan George Amicay three tries before they found just the right combination of finishes for the the two pieces alder body, contoures to feel like a mid '50's strat. This is strictly one-off EC signature stratocaster custom gold leaf finish coated with transparent laquer and 23k gold platted hardware. The pickups are usual Lace Sensor but the double isolation of the electric system give a really special tone that we can hear for exemple on the "Rock me baby" studio recording with BB King on the album "Deuce Wild". "The most difficult thing was trying to guess what Eric would like, says J.Page. But it appears that he was very pleased". It has been his favored guitar trought most of 1997 including The Legends european tour, the Montserrat benefit concert in RAH and the Far East sojourn. It has also been used as the main electric guitar during the Pilgrim sessions.
This Signature model is made of a highly figured flame maple neck that Mike Stevens built in 1988 and a black body by JW Black in 1990. The Steven's neck was originaly on a pewter signature model and when Eric moved on a new colour (black), the neck was taken of and put on a new black body. That was the main stage guitar from the 1990 RAH season until the 1993 Birmingham NEC concert.
During the recording of the Tribute to Jimi Hendrix "Stone free" in 1992, Eric wished to come back to a more "traditional" Fender tone. He asked the Custom shop to create a very special model based on a white Clapton signature strat (Lee Dickson used to call it "Whitey") but with the Texas special "plot pickups" (Cf SRV strat signature). That guitar had been probably used on several studio sessions but never on stage. Eric said that he prefered lace sensor pickups.