Eric Clapton’s 1977 Juan Alvarez Classical Guitar

Most notably, Eric used this guitar for the recording of Tears in Heaven (1991). The guitar was also played during the MTV Unplugged concert in 1992, during which Clapton used it on the intro track, as well as on Tears in Heaver, Circus Left Town, and Lonely Stranger.

The guitar was also seen in the music video for the song “Tears in Heaven”. The shots of Eric playing the guitar were recorded at Bray Studios during the rehearsals for the 1991 George Harrison Japan tour.

The guitar features a rosewood back and sides, cedar top, and cedar neck with ebony fingerboard. This is, of course, a hand-made instrument, made by one of the most respected classical guitar luthiers of the 20th century – Juan Alvarez. Since Alvarez’s death in 2001, the production was taken over by his son, Juan Miguel.

Eric’s 1977 Juan Alvarez on Auction

This guitar was one of the many sold through Eric’s Crossroads Guitar Auction organized in 2004. Based on the info shared by the auction house, Eric gave the guitar to the fashion designer Georgio Armani in 1996, writing “For Giorgio and everyone at ‘El Gadir’ – my love Eric C. 96” on top of the body.

Georgio was kind enough to donate the guitar for the cause, which was to aid the Crossroads Centre – a substance-abuse rehabilitation center located on the Caribbean island of Antigua. In the end, it fetched $253,900, making it one of the highest-priced guitars sold at the auction.

Eric’s Juan Alvarez classical guitar. Photo credit: Christie’s


GroundGuitar counts on your criticism and feedback. In case you notice anything wrong with the information posted on this page, or you have knowledge of something that you would like to share, be sure to leave a comment below.

In case you want to talk to me directly and privately, please use the Contact Form and I will get back to you as soon as possible. (Dan)

Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Beth Ritzert
Beth Ritzert
2 years ago

Can you tell me which model of the 1977 Alvarez guitar Eric played? Thank you.

It is in pristine shape and was hardly ever played
It is in pristine shape and was hardly ever played
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan Kopilovic

Thank you. The reason why I was wondering is that I just purchased a 1977 Alverez model 5006. It is in pristine shape and was hardly ever played. I’m just wondering if it’s a good guitar because I am just learning to play.

Dan Dunagan
Dan Dunagan
3 years ago

Great guitar my dad bought me one in Madrid in 1977. Beautiful sound