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 probably Lonely Stranger.

The three songs were played in the order listed here, so it would make sense that the guitar was used on all three. However, the guitar used on Lonely Stranger seems to have a lighter colored top, so there is a chance that this was a different guitar – but it likely wasn’t.

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.

As far as anything related to the guitar itself – there’s doesn’t seem to be any info online about the specs, or the materials used in the build. 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

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Dan Dunagan
Dan Dunagan
11 months ago

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