Eric Clapton’s 1958 Gibson Les Paul Standard Darkburst
This was one of Eric’s main touring guitars during the Cream farewell tour. It seems however that the guitar was used rarely in comparison to the Firebird which was Clapton main guitar from the summer of 1968 and until the end of the tour. Based on the photos, the Les Paul was used at least a few times, including the gig at the Denver Coliseum on October 6th, and at The Spectrum, Philadelphia, on November 1st (for photos please visit On the Road to Dreams 1968 – AngelFire.com)
Moving forward, Eric used this guitar on the Blind Faith’s Scandinavian Tour in June 1969 [Blind Faith’s Concert Performances – AngelFire], while on North American tour he alternated between the Telecaster, Firebird, and the ES-335. The reason why this is the last time we see the guitar was Eric’s encounter with Paul Kossoff.
Gone to Paul Kossoff
Although the origins of the guitar are unknown, its fate is somewhat well documented. Sometime during the Blind Faith North American tour, Clapton gave this guitar to Paul Kossoff, who played in the band Free and supported Blind Faith alongside Taste and Delaney & Bonnie. In exchange, Eric received a Les Paul Custom, although this guitar is somewhat of a mystery (you can read a bit about here – The Paul Kossoff Custom)
Clapton/Kossoff Darkburst Auction
The guitar appeared on the auction at Christie’s in 2000, eventually being sold for a shy of $70,000. The listing revealed that the guitar was indeed a 1958 model with the Serial No. 8 2453, and it was accompanied by a typescript note from Eric Clapton, stating:
I recognize this as the guitar that I had given to Paul Kossoff while on tour with Blind Faith 1968/9. I acquired this guitar while I was with Cream and used it until I exchanged it with Paul… [Eric Clapton/Paul Kossoff/Cream/Blind Faith/Free – Christie’s]
The rest of the typescript is unfortunately not available on Christie’s website, but based on what we know it likely notes that the guitar was exchanged for Kossoff’s Les Paul Custom.