Eric Clapton’s 1974 Martin 000-28 “Rodeo Man”

Eric purchased this guitar sometime in the mid-1970s, and it directly replaced his 000-28/45 conversion Martin as his main acoustic guitar. He was first seen using it around early 1977. Allegedly, he used the guitar to write and record some of the songs from the 1977 album Slowhand, including Wonderful Tonight.

Eric Clapton playing a 1974 Martin 000-28
Eric Clapton Live in 1977

The Bridge

From the photos, it is apparent that Eric’s 000-28 had a custom bridge or a bridge that was heavily modified. At first, in the 70s, the bridge had some kind of a pickup in front of it, with the wire being completely visible.

At that point, the bridge also had two inlays on each end, which are not something seen on a stock 000-28 model made in that period. More importantly, the guitar had a three-piece saddle, for better intonation. It is unknown who did this modification, and Eric never seemed to have talked about it.

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The pickup looks like it was simply glued to the body, and the wire was taped over with some electrical tape to keep it in place. At this point, the model of the pickup is unknown, so if you happen to know anything leave a comment below.


The guitar was auctioned in 1999 and ended up selling for $173,000. Some interesting things were pointed out in the auction – for example, that the guitar had a sticker on it reading “Rodeo Man”, from which the guitar got its nickname.


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