The best Rock and Roll stories have a formula; one part rock star, one part machine, a fateful moment, sometimes a love story and a famous supporting cast. This is the story of one man and his quest to create the greatest guitar. It’s 1970 and, growing tired with the guitars he’s ammased, Eric Clapton began seeking out his new muse.
It was in the Sho-Bud music store in Tennessee that Clapton a rack of fenders on sale for $ 100 each. Inspired and flush he bought six guitars that would go on to change music history. After giving away three as gifts to his friends and fellow musicians George Harrison, Pete Townshend and Steve Winwood, he began experimenting with the remaining three.
He dismantled them, harvesting the maple V nack from one, the pick ups from another and the black lacquered body from another. What Clapton constructed would be played on his most prolific records, appear at LIVE AID in ’85 and eventually be sold for a record breaking $ 959,500. It was designed to be the ultimate instrument and didn’t fall short of expectation.
Since then, the affectionately named Blackie has become an iconic and integral part of music history. It was featured in the 1990 Honda ad where Clapton was filmed recording the Bad Love solo. The last appearance was at the Albert Hall in 1991. In 2004, The Guitar Centre bought the original for a record breaking $ 959,500; the replicas sold out within seven hours.
For guitarists, Clapton fans and even the DIY enthusiast, the Blackie represents a seminal moment in the history of the guitar and the ingenuity of one man. In 2010 Clapton was reunited with his beloved original for an exclusive photoshoot for the Guitar Centre’s Guide magazine. Despite playing hundreds of guitars over his life, it is still the Blackie that holds his heart.
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