Eric Clapton’s 1966 Martin 000-28/45 ‘The Longworth’
Eric acquired this guitar sometime in 1970, during the Derek and the Dominos US tour. It was bought at George Gruhn’s shop, around the time the band was filming for the Johnny Cash tv show. According to Eric, the filming was done in 1970 – but that particular episode didn’t air until January 6, 1971.
I bought it from GTR and it had been upgraded already…I bought that when I was doing the Johnny Cash show in 1970…It’s a great guitar…a star guitar.Eric Clapton – Christie’s
Converted to a 45
As noted by Eric in the above quote, the guitar was already modified when he purchased it. It styled pearl inlays around the soundhole and the body, and the headstock featured a 000-45 style Martin logo, also done in pearl. The neck and the headstock were also bound in plastic.
All of these features obviously are not present on a stock 000-28 guitar, but they are on a 000-45. This means that the guitar is a conversion – someone took a 28 Martin and upgraded it himself
That “someone” was legendary Mike Longworth, a Chattanooga, Tennessee-based guitar repairer who specialized in doing inlay work. Mike was also working closely with Martin, who regularly sent him their D-45 guitar for inlay work. At some point, Martin hired even Mike to come to the factory to and train their inlay artists.
So, since Mike was known for working with Martin, someone with a 000-28 likely sent him the guitar and asked for conversion. The guitar somehow ended up in George Gruhn’s shop, and Eric was the one to buy it.
One interesting thing to point out – according to the info released by Christie’s the label inside the guitar reads: “work performed OOO-28-45 No 67 April 11, 1976/Mike Longworth, length of back 19 7/16 in. (49.4 cm.)“. This obviously cannot be correct, since the guitar was already modified in 1970. So it may be that Mike signed the guitar after the fact, or that he performed some additional modifications in 1976.
The guitar came into the spotlight with the release of the 461 Ocean Blvd album in 1974. The album cover art showed the house where the whole album was recorded, and some of the images in the booklet showed Eric sitting with this exact guitar. [GOLDEN BEACH, FL – APRIL 1974: Eric Clapton poses for a portrait at his rented home at 461 Ocean Blvd in April 1974 in Golden Beach, Florida. (Photo by David Gahr/Getty Images)]
So after he recorded most of the album with this guitar, Eric also took it on tour, when it was used extensively.
I used this ALL through the ’70s on stage, from the time that I was doing 461, and taking that [461 Ocean Boulevard] material on stage, it’s incredibly well used.Eric Clapton – Christie’s
From that point on, this Martin was used as Eric’s main until around 1977, when he switched to a 1974 Martin 000-28 nicknamed “Rodeo Man”. The 000-28/45 remained in Eric’s possession but was only used on odd occasions.
It can be seen during the ARMS Concert at the Royal Albert Hall on September 20, 1983, and, more famously, at the Unplugged gig filmed in 1992. For this occasion, the guitar was played by Andy Fairweather Low.
1966 Martin 000-28/45 ‘The Longworth’ was sold through Crossroads auction in 2004, among many of Eric’s guitars. The final price was $186,700. It is unknown who currently owns it.
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