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One of the world's most influential electric guitars, the Fender Stratocaster® guitar once owned by Eric Clapton and affectionately known as BLACKIE®, will be recreated and made available to the public this November from Fender's renowned Custom Shop.

Guitar Center, Inc. is now the owner of the original guitar after paying $959,500 at a 2004 Christie's auction that benefited the Crossroads Centre, Antigua—a charity founded by Clapton and which remains close to his heart. Guitar Center has commissioned the Fender Custom Shop to reproduce this truly iconic piece of rock 'n' roll history, and it is the exclusive United States distributor of the instrument.

BLACKIE®, a mid-1950s Fender Stratocaster guitar pieced together by Clapton himself from numerous individual guitars, was Clapton's main instrument throughout the 1970s and '80s. Clapton's albums 461 Ocean Boulevard, Slowhand, No Reason To Cry, and Just One Night, among others, were all recorded with BLACKIE®. And in addition to memorable solo tours, Clapton and BLACKIE® shared the stage with the likes of Pete Townshend, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters and The Band.

This historic addition to the Custom Shop Tribute Series will replicate BLACKIE® down to the smallest of details—from the worn-to-the-wood body, to the neck re-shaped by Eric's hand as he played a thousand heartfelt solos, to the unmistakable cigarette burns on the headstock.

All of the 185 guitars offered for sale in the United States will be available exclusively through Guitar Center. Guitar Center stores throughout America will introduce the guitar on "Black Friday"—November 24, 2006. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $24,000, with a portion of the proceeds to go to the Crossroads Centre, Antigua.

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