Eric Clapton’s 1962 Fender Telecaster/Stratocaster Custom

This guitar first appeared in the late Cream days, more precisely during the band’s guest appearance on the Danish movie “Det var en lørdag aften” (It Was a Saturday Evening), filmed on February 5th and 6th, 1968 in Copenhagen. At this time the Telecaster was fitted with a late 60s Stratocaster neck with rosewood fretboard and a large headstock.

Most of the people, however, associate this guitar with the Blind Faith era – or more precisely the first gig that the band ever played together.

Blind Faith at Hyde Park

On June 7, 1969, Blind Faith had their debut concert in front of more than 100,000 people at Hyde Park in London. Eric was seen playing what to most people was a completely unknown guitar – a sunburst Telecaster with a maple Stratocaster neck. This, of course, was the same guitar he was seen wielding on a few rare occasions with the Cream, although the old rosewood neck was now gone.

The maple neck that was fitted on the Telecaster now sported the small 50s style headstock, in comparison to a large late 60s style on the rosewood neck. It also showed some pretty extensive wear on the headstock, meaning that it likely came from an older guitar.

I had probably two or three Strats, and I never liked the Tele neck. And I thought it would be unusual and might have people guessing what kind of guitar it was because of the head.

Eric Clapton: Blues Power

Brownie’s Neck?

The common agreement is that the neck that was fitted on the Telecaster is, in fact, the same one that was seen on the Brownie – the 1956 Fender Stratocaster that Eric most famously used on the 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. There are a couple of angles from which one can approach the issue at hand (which is that of confirming or debunking this theory), one of which is to directly compare the wear on the fretboard.

From this approach, another issue arises – finding good photos of both guitars from which one can safely draw conclusions. Preferably both photos should be taken around the same time, as wear would obviously become much more extensive over the years, even though Eric is known for having somewhat of a “lighter” touch.

Eric Clapton playing the Telecaster during the 1969 concert at Hyde Park.
Eric Clapton played the Telecaster during the 1969 concert at Hyde Park.

The photos above are stills from the 1969 concert at Hyde Park, which show Eric playing his 1962 Telecaster fitted with a Stratocaster neck. A good photo of the Brownie, the Stratocaster from which the neck originates based on the theory, is available on page 8 in the booklet of Eric Clapton 2CD Deluxe Set released in 2006. We are unfortunately not allowed to show the photo directly on this page due to copyright, but you can see it yourself online over at – Eric Clapton © Barry Feinstein.

If you compare this photo and stills from the 1969 concert at Hyde Park, then the conclusion must be that it is the same neck. We, in fact, invite you to do the comparison yourself, and in case you end up with a different conclusion, came and tell us how you got there by leaving a comment below.

The Telecaster on Tour

Although Eric started the Blind Faith era wielding this exact guitar, it was somewhat less used on the tour dates. The guitar was only spotted on one occasion (more research is needed on the subject) – in mid-June 1969 in Helsinki – which was during the band’s Scandinavian tour. [Recollections: Blind Faith in Helsinki –]


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
1 year ago

It isn’t the same neck: 1. Brownie’s neck has the cigarette burn on the headstock behind the 6th tuner; 2. The maple Strat neck on the Tele has considerable fretboard wear marks in the upper register that are not present on Brownie’s neck.

2 years ago

What a brilliantly and intricately researched site this is. I’m not particularly interested in all of Clapton’s detail and yet I have found it fascinating and spent hours here! Well done.

Just one observation that may be more a function of the picture quality than the truth: the end of the neck SEEMS to look as though it has been squared off to fit the Tele’s pocket in the Tele photo but still looks rounded in the Strat one.

Last edited 2 years ago by NEILL DODD
1 year ago
Reply to  Dan Kopilovic

Clapton has used Telecasters his whole career. The Fender Telecaster is a staple for Eric Clapton. He played a Fender Telecaster his first 3 professional years as a musician. Before Yardbirds, with Yardbirds and for 6 months with John Mayal. It was used again in 1969 with Blinde Faith. It was used heavily on tour in the seventiees and eightees. The Fender Telecaster has been on every Eric Clapton album for at least a song or Two. So he uses them even today recording. He was in The book about Fender Telecasters. Clapton had 3 pages in that book and a picture of The Fender Telecaster he got in 1967 with a Humbucker. Its a butter scotch Telecaster. He did 2 tours in the seventiees with the Telecaster as his main guitar. Japan 1975 and US 1976.
Eric Clapton Said in the book about Fender Telecasters that the Fender Telecaster was in his DNA. Also he got his nick name ” Slow hand ” from a Fender Telecaster. It was When he changed strings on his Fender Telecaster he got the nick name.
He wanted a Telecaster because of his big hero Muddy Waters.

1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew

In fact Clapton did not really start using the Stratocaster as his main guitar untill 1974. Then you have the 2 tours 75 and 76 Where the Telecaster was his main guitar. But as late as 1987 he used Telecasters for live shows. Not as main guitar though. Look for the cover of Live in Rome 1987 and you See him use the Telecaster on Stage.