Eric Clapton’s Martin D-45

access_time First seen circa 1970

Eric was first seen with this guitar backstage at the dressing room of Lyceum Ballroom, London, on June 14th, 1970. This was the debut concert of his new band – Derek and the Dominos, but interestingly – the band had no official name prior to the gig. It was billed simply as “Eric Clapton and Friends”, but a discussion that ensued backstage prior to the gig led to a new name – albeit not the one that they were introduced under –

On a Sunday night in June, we tried the band out in front of an audience at a charity concert at the Lyceum in the Strand, in aid of Dr. Spock’s Civil Liberties Legal Defense Fund. In the excitement of just forming the group, one thing had slipped our minds, and that was, right up to the last minute before we were to go onstage, we had no name for ourselves. Ashton, Gardiner, and Dyke were the opening act, and Tony Ashton always used to call me Del and suggested that we should be Del and the Dominos. When he did finally announce us, without any mention of our real names, it was as Derek and the Dominos, and the name just stuck. Our set consisted of songs from our Delaney days, like “Blues Power” and “Bottle of Red Wine,” a couple of blues numbers, “Crossroads” and “Spoonful,” and, because Dave Mason had joined us for this one show, a Traffic song, “Feelin’ Alright.” [Clapton: The Autobiography]

Although we can’t say for sure but based on the photos taken at the show – the whole gig at the Lyceum Ballroom seemed to have been an acoustic set. This means that this Martin is actually somewhat special, since it was right there with Eric backstage at when the Derek and the Dominos band was conceived, and it was used for the entirety of their debut concert.
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access_time 1992

1939 Martin 000-42

This is the guitar that Clapton played on MTV Unplugged on January 16, 1992. He played it throughout most of the show – which was highlighted by an acoustic version of “Layla”. Although there doesn’t seem to be any photos of Eric using the guitar prior to the 1992 show, it most possible that he acquired the 000-42 all the way back in 1970. This is according to an interview from 1976 […]

access_time 2004

Martin 000-ECHF Bellezza Nera

During the 2003 Japan Tour, Eric used a custom-made guitar, designed as a collaboration between him and Hiroshi Fujiwara – a Japanese musician and designer. The model styled a completely clean black finish, snowflake inlays, and both men’s initials (EC and HF) were inscribed near the bottom of the fretboard. Only eight of these guitars were initially manufactured, but around a year later, Martin released a production model based on […]

access_time 1971

1970s Dobro/Regal Resonator Custom

Eric used this guitar most famously during the MTV Unplugged show recorded in 1992. It can be heard on two of the slide tunes he played that night – “Running on Faith” and “Walkin’ Blues”. The guitar was ordered by Clapton as a custom build from Randy Wood and it was finished sometime in 1970 or 1971. Here’s what Randy remembers about it – quoted from an email that he was […]

access_time 1988

1988 Guild Songbird Amber

Clapton was seen playing this guitar on the concert played at Shoreline Amphitheatre, San Francisco, USA, on September 21st, 1988. He used it for the song “Can’t Find My Way Home”, and both him and Mark Knopfler who joined him on stage, used the exact same model that night. [Clapton / Knopfler – Can’t Find My Way Home – YouTube] The guitar was one of the many that were auctioned by Clapton in 2011, […]

access_time 1991

1977 Juan Alvarez

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 […]

access_time 1969

1969 Zemaitis 12-string

This guitar was built for Eric by Tony Zemaitis in early 1969, apparently with direct input from Clapton on the design. Not much is known about it aside from what was revealed when the guitar was auctioned in 2004, selling for $253,900. Embed from Getty Images According to info shared by the auction house, the guitar was used on the Blind Faith album, but it is not shared on which […]

access_time 2014

Martin OM-ECHF Navy Blues

This guitar came out in 2014 as a special limited edition by Martin, in collaboration with Eric and Hiroshi Fujiwara – a Japanese musician and designer. The guitar is basically an OM (longer scale) version of the Martin 000-ECHF Bellezza Nera, which Eric used since around 2003. It features east Indian rosewood back and sides, spruce top, and dark navy blue finish.

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