Eric Clapton: what kind of guitar does he play?


Eric Clapton: what kind of guitar does he play?

Eric Clapton does not play one specific type of guitar. He uses a wide variety of both electric and acoustic guitars depending on the song being performed or recorded.

Today, Eric Clapton is best associated with the Fender Stratocaster electric guitar (he endorses a signature model) and Martin Acoustic Guitars (five models have been issued over the years). In concert, he primarily plays his signature model Fender Stratocaster. From 2001 thru 2004, he played several different "Graffiti Stratocasters" which were painted for him by some of the world’s leading Graffiti artists. After that, he returned primarily to solid guitar stratocasters, some in custom colors like Ferrari Grigio Silvertone.

For some electric numbers, Eric may play a Gibson L-5.

A Gibson Chet Atkins acoustic and a custom Martin acoustic were used on Clapton’s November – December 2003 Japan Tour. The custom Martin acoustic was designed by Eric’s friend, Hiroshi Fujiwara. Fujiwara is a well-known designer, musician and DJ. Black with pearl inlays, both men’s initials (EC HF) are inscribed near the bottom of the fretboard. This guitar, named the “Bellezza Nera” by Clapton, has been made available by Martin Guitars as a limited edition. The only difference is that the men’s initials have been replaced with the words “Bellezza Nera”. Its body size is based on Eric’s favorite Martin model: the 14-fret 000.

Eric uses resonator guitars (also called dobros) on occasion. According to Lee Dickson, Eric’s guitar technician, he plays an old resonator guitar that was purchased many years ago. It is a composite of two separate resonator guitars. The neck is a Dobro (a brand of resonator guitars) and Eric had the neck fitted to the body. The body type is unknown.

In the 1970s and 1980s Eric endorsed and used Guild Acoustic Guitars.

During the early part of his career, Clapton primarily played a Gibson Les Paul. Clapton’s popularizing of that model caused Gibson to put it back in production in 1968 (it had been discontinued in 1960).

Extensive information and photographs (including several that were never-before-published) of many of EC’s guitars can be found in the 2008 Tour Programme, which is available at all 2008 Summer Concerts. The bulk of the programme is given over to a historical overview of Eric Clapton’s guitars from 1963 to the present day.

Where’s Eric!
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