Eric Clapton and the Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster

Eric Clapton with his famous Stratocaster "Blackie."

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Eric Clapton - the original electric guitar "god."

The list of guitarists who play the Fender Stratocaster guitar is very very long. Wikipedia's page about the Stratocaster shows a picture of Buddy Holly playing one in the late 50's. Probably there were big names playing the guitar earlier than that; but to cut to the chase, Hendrix made the guitar iconic, then lots of others decided it best fit them and their styles of playing too. Eric Clapton is just maybe the guy who's spent more time playing a Stratocaster than anyone else, as he's never stopped recording and playing music since about the time he started; and since he's switched to the Stratocaster, he almost plays it exclusively.

Eric Clapton is a man so associated with the electric guitar at one time he was being referred to as "god," and so he's THE original guitar god; the phrase was even coined after him. "Clapton is god" predates Hendrix being known of at all. He'd also risen to fame and prominence before fellow countrymen like Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. While some refer to Clapton with euphemisms more sedate and sane such as "lord of the Les Paul, the sultan of the SG, the sovereign of the Stratocaster," Eric prefers to be called by his name, he's so famous and known internationally, and has been for so long he has no real need for the adulation, he mostly just seems to want to play his guitar. Mostly when he does play guitar, and he does so often, he is playing a Fender Stratocaster.

Eric Clapton with "Blackie." Blackie the Fender Stratocaster is now retired, Eric Clapton, is not.

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Eric Clapton on the creation of "Blackie" his famous Fender Stratocaster

Blackie the Stratocaster is one of the world's most famous musical instruments, and easily one of the most famous guitars. It's right up there with Eddie Van Halen's Frankenstrat, and like that guitar, this one is also truly a frankenstrat as well. Blackie was built from parts of three guitars. but wasn't actually even Eric's first Strat, "Brownie" was. Clapton describes it as follows:

My first Strat was Brownie, and I played it for years and years, a wonderful guitar. Then I was in Nashville at a store called Sho-Bud, as I recall, and they had a whole rack of old '50s Strats in the back, going second-hand. They were so out of fashion you could pick up a perfectly genuine Strat for two hundred or three hundred dollars — even less! So I bought all of them. I gave one to Steve Winwood, one to George Harrison, and one to Pete Townshend, and kept a few for myself. I liked the idea of a black body, but the black one I had was in bad condition, so I took apart the ones I kept and assembled different pieces to make Blackie, which is a hybrid, a mongrel.

Eric Clapton "Forever Man," with Blackie the Fender Stratocaster

The conclusion of the masses and of Eric Clapton is his Strat has a terrific sound. He wore the thing out completely, and has had to acquire others to replace it with. You too can own an identical Fender Stratocaster to the ones Eric Clapton owns and plays.

According to some lists Eric has so far sold 79 million albums. He's an estimated net worthof two hundred and fifty million dollars, and isn't the slightest bit shy of giving back to the world where he's become such a big star. Eric is a very charitable man. He's also seemingly in great physical health, and very likely, lord willing, to continue recording and touring for years to come.

As with pretty much every guitarist, Eric owns a LOT of guitars. In his career he's played a lot of guitars. Facts are some of his most famous guitar playing was NOT done originally with a Fender Stratocaster; but after some time Eric settled on the instrument as his primary electric guitar. This, of course, doesn't mean the instrument was "better" than others, it means Eric liked it better for reasons of his own, and when a person finds the instrument that really feels right to them, they tend to play a lot better, and who can argue with Eric Clapton's playing?

Eric Clapton with one of his many Fender Stratocaster guitars

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The Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster

The Fender Stratocaster is a guitar so well known and loved, so famous, it has its own Wikipedia page, and a fairly extensive one. Well, the Eric Clapton Fender Stratocaster is also that notable, and has its own page as well. All as it should be.

According to the story we've Steve Winwood to thank for influencing Eric to use the Stratocaster. Quite obviously, Eric Clapton was rather well known as a master electric blues rock guitarist prior to this, and in fact, a lot of his most famous guitar solos were performed before he ever picked up the Stratocaster. If you're a younger sort like myself, and you've seen Clapton live a couple times, but only within the last 20 years, you most likely heard Eric perform a lot of his classic songs, and do his current interpretations of those timeless guitar solos, but you saw and heard him play them on a Fender Stratocaster, as the Strat is just a very very versatile instrument, fit for playing many a kind of music. Eric was never interested in having another Strat made until his famous Blackie was deemed completely worn out.

The Fender Eric Clapton signature Strat is readily available, but is unlike the standard Strats or other signature model Stratocasters in a lot of ways, these guitars are tailored to fit Eric Clapton, and Eric Clapton alone. One shouldn't make the mistake of thinking that simply because the love the sound of Clapton so much the guitar will fit them. Your hands aren't shaped the same as Eric Clapton's are, and you can't play just like him either. We're all unique; but if the guitar feels right to you, then by all means, it is the guitar for you! The Eric Clapton Stratocaster has a neck designed just for Eric and his comfort in playing. One should always play many guitars to see how they feel in your hands before purchasing, and the pickups in the guitar are quite different from other custom Stratocaster guitars as well, this guitar won't sound much like the Stevie Ray Vaughan Strat, or the Jeff Beck Strat; it's an Eric Clapton Strat, and they only truly are similar in a frontal photo appearance sort of way. The Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster is not cheap, and neither is it inexpensive, it's a professional's or serious amateur's instrument, and that's what it will cost you, but you put your blood, sweat, and tears into the thing, you will get joy in return for it.This guitar is available in more colors than just black; but were I buying one, I'm going for the black one! Specifications are:

  • Color:Black.
  • Body Type:Solidbody electric.
  • Finish:Polyurethane.
  • Neck Wood:Maple.
  • Neck Shape:Soft "V" shape with 9.5-inch radius.
  • Body Wood:Solid alder.
  • Machine Heads:Fender / Gotoh vintage style tuners.
  • Fingerboard:Maple.
  • No. of Frets:22.
  • Position Markers: Dot inlays.
  • Pickups:Three Vintage Noiseless Strat pickups.
  • Controls:Master volume, one master TBX tone, one active mid-range boost control.
  • Bridge/Tailpiece: "Blocked" vintage style synchronized tremolo.
  • Pickup Switching:Five-position blade switch.
  • Hardware:: Chrome.
  • Case:: Vintage Tweed Case included
  • Scale Length: 25.5 inches.

Eric Clapton - Cocaine (Live) My pick of the BEST of Clapton, and with Blackie the Stratocaster, live, 1977

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Comments 4 comments

alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 2 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

Nicely done Wes.

The latest two of his albums (of five) I bought are RIDING WITH THE KING, (EC and BBK) and MONEY AND CIGARETTES. Pretty funky stuff. I latched on to EC back in the early 70's, post-Cream days aft he'd started with Derek and the Dominoes and had just scraped through some dangerous times at the brink. Then I started working backwards to his days with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, on to Cream and then D&TD.

I've got his autobiography, written with Chistopher Simon Sykes, that I've still only scratched the surface of since I bought it in 2008 (publ. 2007 - the cover shows him looking askance at the camera, as if asking the reader 'How come you haven't finished it yet?' - all in good time, Eric, all in good time. He's had a few years' start on me)


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 2 years ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

I'd been to some small concerts before I saw Clapton. I have no clue what got into my dad, he's not truly even a fan of that music, he's a guy who listens to things more like Buddy Holly and Elvis. Well, I was in high school and just all of a sudden dad wanted to take me to see Eric at Reunion Arena in Dallas. It was the tour for "The Journeyman,"...and boyhowdy, hew was playing LOUD. Great show - I'll always be grateful Dad took me to see that.


cat on a soapbox profile image

cat on a soapbox 18 months ago from Los Angeles

I've been a Clapton fan since his first solo album w/ Delaney, Bonnie, & Friends, and my husband is a diehard Yardbird's fan with a great collection of their vintage vinyls. I really enjoyed learning about Eric's Blackie strat and the important considerations that would make a guitar a good fit for a musician. I'm looking forward to reading your other hubs about acclaimed guitarists and their guitars. Very interesting!


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 11 months ago from Kaufman, Texas Author

Thanks Cat! He's got lots of music I've yet to explore. I've seen him live twice, and hope to see him again someday. He seems to be in great shape, and of course, I hope he lives forever!

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