date_range 1981

Eric Clapton’s 1954 Fender Stratocaster

According to the info Eric gave to Christie’s, he used this guitar from around mid-70s. The earliest photo that we’ve been able to dig up of Clapton with the guitar is from late 1981 [Eric Clapton performs on stage at the Forum on October 15th 1981 in Copenhagen, Denmark].

However, again based on the info from Christie’s, the guitar was used from at least 1979 to 1983 as Eric’s main slide guitar, primarily for the song “Tulsa Time”. It can be seen in this exact scenario on the ARMS Charity Concert filmed on September 20th 1983 at the Royal Albert Hall, London. It can be also seen on a photo showing a collection of Clapton’s tour guitars taken in late 1985 backstage at Yoyogi Olympic Pool, Tokyo [Eric Clapton’s guitars – GettyImages].

At this point in our research, we don’t know whether Eric ever picked up the guitar again since that time, but it did remain in his possession until 1999. It was sold that year on auction through Christie’s, in order to raise funds for The Crossroads Centre, a drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation center in Antigua. [Lot 103, A 1954 Fender Stratocaster, Christie’s] The guitar fetched $211,500, although Eric seems to remember differently in his autobiography.

A 1954 Sunburst Stratocaster that had accompanied me on numerous tours, including the Behind the Sun tour, went for $190,00o. [Eric Clapton: The Autobigraphy]

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