Eric Clapton’s 1962 Fender Telecaster/Stratocaster Custom

access_time First seen circa 1968

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.

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 playing 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 MorrisonHotelGallery.com – 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 of 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 – AngelFire.com]

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Continue browsing, or go subdirectory_arrow_leftBack to Eric Clapton Gear Page
access_time 1968

1964 Gibson ES-335TDC

According to Eric, he acquired this guitar sometime in 1964. However, according to the photographic evidence, and based on the info from Eric himself, the guitar wasn’t used almost at all (more on this later) during the Yardbirds era, even though – as said, Clapton claimed that he did own the guitar as early as 1964. Date of Purchase Theories The first theory is largely based on Eric’s claim that he […]

access_time 1967

1964 Gibson SG Standard ”The Fool”

Clapton acquired this guitar presumably sometime in 1967, likely purchasing it himself. It first appeared at Cream’s debut US concert on March 25th, 1967 at the RKO theater on 58th Street, Manhattan, New York. By that time the guitar already featured the custom body paint done by Simon Posthuma and Marijke Koger, who later went on to form a design collective called The Fool. They had also painted John Lennon’s Rolls-Royce in lurid psychedelic […]

access_time 1968

1963/65 Gibson Reverse Firebird 1

Clapton purchased this Gibson Firebird most likely on the afternoon of April 13th, 1968, on the second day of the three-day gig at the Philadelphia’s Electric Factory. This is based on two things. First, the Cream concert tour expense ledger used by the band’s tour manager Bob Adcock reads “Musical equipment” – $905.50″ on April 13th [Cream 1968 Summer and “Farewell” Tours Original Signed Expense Ledger]. Please note that depending on the source, you’ll find […]

access_time 1967

1956 Fender Stratocaster "Brownie"

Clapton purchased the maple neck Stratocaster at London’s Sound City on May 7, 1967 [Eric Clapton“Brownie” Tribute Stratocaster, Fender Custom Shop]. At that time, Eric was using the Fool SG practically exclusively, and the Strat itself didn’t see much stage-light until around three years later, although its neck had a history of its own on another guitar prior to that. One the page regarding the 1962 Fender Telecaster/Stratocaster Custom, we’ve mentioned […]

access_time 1962

1960s Kay Jazz II

Eric used this guitar prior to joining the Yardbirds circa 1962, while he was playing in his first band called “The Rooster”. According to Eric, he received this guitar as a gift from his grandmother: The Kay was the guitar that my grandmother bought me on the “hire-purchase” scheme. That got me into the band, and then we started making money, I found I had nothing else to spend it on […]

access_time 1973

1950s Fender Stratocaster “Blackie”

Eric assembled this guitar in 1970 using parts from four different 1950s Stratocasters that he bought from George Gruhn, and from additional parts that were purchased at the Sho-Bud guitar shop in Nashville. Eric Clapton first visited my shop in 1970 when Derek & the Dominos performed on The Johnny Cash Show. He assembled his famous “Blackie” Stratocaster using components from the four Stratocasters he bought from me and parts […]

access_time 1966

1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard "Beano Burst"

Eric used this guitar during the John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers era, although it is likely not the only Les Paul he owned at that time. In his autobiography [Clapton: The Autobiography] Eric mentions buying a couple of guitars prior heading to Greece in 1966 and leaving one Les Paul behind after he bailed out and left the Juniors (a Greek band he had a short stint with). This could possibly mean that the […]

access_time 1966

1959/60 Gibson Les Paul Standard "Summers Burst"

This is the guitar that Eric used as his main with the Cream from around July 1966 to mid-1967. He purchased this guitar from Andy Summers (who later went on the form The Police) after his own Les Paul was stolen sometime in mid-1966. The two guitars were originally purchased from the same store, Summers being the first of the two to buy one. About the time that we share […]

access_time 1964

1963 Fender Telecaster

This was Eric’s main recording and gigging guitar during the Yardbirds era. The guitar allegedly belonged to the Yardbirds management, and after Eric had left the band, Jeff Beck who took over his role, played the same guitar for some time prior to acquiring a Fender Esquire (more on Jeff Beck’s Gear Page). (Jeff Beck:) We were on the road constantly and I didn’t even have my own guitar. I [initially] used Eric’s red […]

access_time 1968

1957 Gibson Les Paul “Lucy”

Clapton purchased this guitar at Dan Amstrong’s Guitar shop in New York at an unknown date. The previous owner, Rick Derringer, had sold the guitar to the shop sometime in 1966 or 1967 (no credible source mentions any dates related to this), after he had it repainted in Gibson’s Kalamazoo factory (no dates mentioned either) [Million Dollar Les Paul, Tony Bacon, pp. 66–68.] Lucy with Eric Eric himself seems to […]

Interested in other artists? Check out GroundGuitar's subdirectory_arrow_rightGear Page