- Eric Clapton Stratocaster
Infobox Guitar model
period=1988 — Present
bridge=Blocked Synchronized Tremolo
pickups=(2001 - Present): 3
Vintage Noiseless single-coils(1988 - 2000): 3 Gold Lace Sensors
colors=Olympic White, Black, Pewter, Torino Red, Candy GreenCustom Shop versions: Mercedes Blue, Midnight Blue, Black, Gold Leaf
Custom Thinskin Nitro: Olympic White, PewterThe Eric Clapton Stratocaster is the signature model
electric guitarof English guitarist Eric Clapton, and was the first signature model guitarever released by Fender.
In 1981, Fender had informally discussed the idea of a signature model
Telecasterwith the legendary James Burton; however, this would not come to be until 1990. Jeff Beckhad also been offered a signature model Stratocaster, but he rejected the idea until 1991, when he opted for an Artist Series signature guitar based on the Fender Stratocaster Plus Series models of 1987.
Eric Clapton, though he had played Fender
Telecasters and Jazzmasters in his brief career with The Yardbirds, would attain " guitar god" status while playing models such as the Gibson Les Paul, Firebird, ES-335 and SG whilst a member of Cream. However, in 1970, for his landmark " Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs" with a new band, Derek and the Dominos, Clapton switched to a tobacco sunburst Stratocaster from 1956, nicknamed "Brownie". This was in part due to the influence of his former Blind Faithbandmate Steve Winwood. He later assembled the best parts of three mid-'50s Strats to create his favorite guitar, the famous " Blackie", a black Stratocaster which he played for many years. Both guitars would later sell for record prices at auction. When Blackie finally wore out, Eric and the Fender Custom Shop began to work on a signature model based on the artist's original guitar.
Clapton asked Fender for a V-shaped neck similar to his Martin acoustic guitar and what he called a "compressed" pickup sound, similar to that of a
humbucker, explaining everything else about the famous " woman tone" he had developed during the Cream period in the late '60s, a playing technique almost synonymous with various Gibson models such as the ES-335, Les Paul Standard, Explorer, Byrdland, SG and Firebird, all sporting a pair of humbucking pickups. Early prototypes made around 1986/87 featured 21 frets and locking strap buttons. Few of these prototypes had an active/passive toggle button. The final product (released in 1988) came with 22 frets and three Fender Gold Lace Sensorpickups powered by an active mid-boost circuit with 25dB of gain and TBX tone controls. These world famous pickups (made by AGI Lace Music Products since 1985) were used exclusively by Fender until 1996. Powerful active 25dB midrange boost and TBX tone circuits (first introduced in 1983 with the shortlived Elite Series instruments, which have been discontinued at the end of 1984) helped augment the tone of the sound delivered, opening up a greater tonal range Clapton desired. Also, the guitar had an interesting feature: a vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge blocked off to tremolo arms. This idea came about as Clapton shunned the tone of hardtail Stratocasters but never used the whammy bar. In 1991 Eric agreed to have his signature model with a rosewood fretboard as well to suit the needs of players disliking the feel of maple-neck models. However, only 94 of these shortlived guitars were made and their production finally ceased.
2001, reflecting the changes Clapton had made to his own guitar, the Lace Sensors were replaced with Fender Vintage Noiselesspickups, which were available as a standard equipment material on the Fender American Deluxe Seriesguitars manufactured between 1998and 2003. The Custom Shop version (introduced in 2004) is available in Midnight Blue, Mercedes Blue, Black and Gold Leaf with gold-plated hardware (also available in two new "Thinskin Nitro" finishes, Olympic White and Pewter).
Since their introduction in 2004, Custom Shop Clapton Stratocasters use a standard tone control instead of a TBX tone circuit.
Construction and design variations
Several variations of the Clapton Strat were made by the Fender Custom Shop throughout the years, including fancy versions with ash bodies, quilted or maple tops, abalone dot position inlays, matching headstocks, gold hardware and white pearloid pickguards, made by Senior Master Builder J. W. Black. Many of these guitars were sold for charity auctions for the
Crossroads Centreof Antigua, the drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation facility founded on the small, idyllic Caribbean island in 1998. They include the Gold Leaf Stratocaster of 1996(used during the Legends and Montserrat concerts in 1997) and the Crashocasters (signature model Stratocasters hand-painted by New York-based street artist John Matos, better known as Crash), used by Clapton from 2001to 2004[citenews|url=http://www.zuitar.com/guitar/100211-Crash_Stratocaster.html|title=Crash Stratocaster|publisher=Zuitar.com|accessdate=2008-08-12] .
The Gold Leaf Stratocaster
The original Gold Leaf guitar was built by Fender Master Builder Mark Kendrick as a custom order for Eric Clapton at the time of the 50th Anniversary of the firm in 1996 and was
Slowhand's main instrument of choice during the Legends period in 1997. The Gold Leaf Stratocaster was later sold by Christies for US $455,000. The Fender Custom Shopreissued the Gold Leaf Clapton Stratocaster after 8 years of absence as a limited-edition run of 50 pieces. Each guitar was built to Eric's exacting specifications, with Fender's Vintage Noiselesspickups and a standard tone control instead of the TBX tone circuit actually found on the original 1996 model. [citenews|url=http://www.zuitar.com/guitar/100212-Eric_Clapton_Gold_Leaf_Stratocaster.html|title=Eric Clapton Gold Leaf Stratocaster|publisher=Zuitar.com|accessdate=2008-08-12]
Japanese guitar manufacturer
Bacchus Custom Guitarshad popularized Clapton's Gold Leaf guitars with the BST-GL series since late 1998. These guitars were basically nearly close reproductions of the original Gold Leaf Stratocaster (using genuine USA electronics, Gold Fender Lace Sensorpickups and hardware), except for the "Bacchus Custom Guitars" decal on the headstock rather than the "Fender" spaghetti logo found on Clapton's gold-finished signature model. Since 2005the Japanese guitar company stopped using its own decal on the guitar's headstock, after few customers requested to have the Fender logo put on for reasons of authenticity. [http://www.guitarsjapan.com/2005_Bacchus_BST-GL_Stratocaster.html]
Limited Edition Crossroads Signature Guitar and Amp Set
Fender introduced a matching set of limited-edition Crossroads instruments, which consisted of an Eric Clapton Crossroads Signature Stratocaster (better known as the "Sun Strat" and produced in a limited run of 100 instruments globally) and a Crossroads '57 Twin-Amp (produced in a limited run of 50 pieces). Each guitar is crafted to Clapton's exacting specifications and bear a unique "Crossroads Antigua" smiling sun graphic designed and originally hand-drawn by Eric Clapton himself. [citenews|url=http://www.zuitar.com/guitar/102364-Eric_Clapton_Crossroads_Stratocaste.html|title=Eric Clapton Crossroads Stratocaster|publisher=Zuitar.com|accessdate=2008-08-12]
The commemorative Crossroads '57 Twin-Amps are modeled after the original '57 Twin. This limited-edition amplifier features a custom engraved commemorative "Crossroads 2007" badge autographed by Eric and his "Crossroads Antigua" graphic is artistically embedded on the grill cloth.
The latest copy of the Stratocaster was made to Clapton's current exacting specifications. Bearing in mind the number of changes he makes with regards to neck dimensions,
Slowhandfans purchasing this will be getting an exact replica as used at the Crossroads Guitar Festival2007.
* [http://www.guitarsjapan.com/2005_Bacchus_BST-GL_Stratocaster.html http://www.guitarsjapan.com/2005_Bacchus_BST-GL_Stratocaster.html]
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