Five Spot: Guitar Aficionado Reviews the New Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Collection

April 17th, 2013

The following is an excerpt from the new May/June 2013 issue of Guitar Aficionado magazine.

Five Spot: Guitar Aficionado reviews every guitar in the new and historic Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Collection.

By Chris Gill

Fender, Gibson and Martin have each previously offered Eric Clapton model guitars, but the introduction of the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Collection this March was historic because it was the first time that these three companies have joined forces to release Clapton models at the same time. The Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Collection consists of five different guitars inspired by various instruments that Clapton used during defining moments of his career.

From Fender’s Custom Shop comes an accurate replica of his 1956 Fender Stratocaster nicknamed Brownie, while Gibson presents a replica of the cherry-red 1957 Gibson Les Paul known as Lucy, which also belonged to George Harrison. Martin’s offerings consist of three new models: the 000-28EC “Crossroads” Madagascar Rosewood and two 000-45EC “Crossroads” models, available with either Madagascar or Brazilian rosewood back and sides.

Production of all five models is very limited. The “Brownie” Stratocaster and “Lucy” Les Paul are each limited to 100 guitars worldwide. The Martin 000-28EC is limited to 150 guitars, and the company is producing only 55 000-45EC models with Madagascar rosewood back and sides and just 18 000-45EC models with Brazilian rosewood back and sides. Guitar Center is the exclusive retailer in the United States for these instruments, which started shipping on March 21, 2013.

The release of the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Collection comes during a very busy and guitar-oriented period for Clapton. His latest album, Old Sock, came out in mid March, and on April 12 and 13 he hosted his fourth Crossroads Guitar Festival, which took place this year at Madison Square Garden.

In March, Genesis Publications started shipping the limited-edition book Six String Stories—The Crossroads Guitars, which features Clapton’s accounts of the various guitars he sold in auction to benefit his Crossroads Centre addiction recovery facility. Proceeds raised by the sale of the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Collection will also benefit the Crossroads Centre.

Considering that Clapton played extremely influential roles in the popularity of the Fender Stratocaster, the Gibson Les Paul Standard, and Martin 000-size steel-string flattop acoustics, it’s appropriate that the world’s three biggest guitar companies have joined forces to support a cause that means so much to him. The respect for his cause and contributions is reflected in the meticulous attention to detail and craftsmanship in each of these special guitars, which represent Fender, Gibson, and Martin’s finest recent work, making the guitars desirable for any discriminating player, even without the Clapton association.

Fender Custom Shop Eric Clapton “Brownie” Tribute Stratocaster

The 1956 two-color sunburst Fender Stratocaster known as Brownie was Clapton’s first Strat, purchased on May 7, 1967, from London’s Sound City music shop. This guitar became Clapton’s main instrument in the early Seventies when he first appeared onstage with it while playing with Delaney and Bonnie, and since then, a Stratocaster has remained Clapton’s favorite solidbody electric guitar. Clapton also used Brownie to record several songs on the Derek and the Dominos album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, including the title track, and it was seen next to Clapton in the portrait photo that appeared on the cover of his first solo album. In June 1999, he sold Brownie in auction for nearly $500,000.

For the rest of this story, plus features on Neil Giraldo and his guitars, Ed Helms of ‘The Office’ and ‘The Hangover Part III,’ Steve Martin, plus Hollywood’s 25 Funniest Guitar Moments, check out the May/June 2013 issue (The Comedy Issue) of Guitar Aficionado, which is available now at the Guitar Aficionado Online Store.

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