At this year’s Crossroads Festival, which features some of the world’s top guitar talent, Clapton will introduce the new Eric Clapton Crossroads Series of guitars, created through an extraordinary collaboration between the guitarist and Fender, Gibson and Martin Guitars.
Clapton worked closely with Fender and Gibson to re-create two iconic models from rock and roll history: the Fender Stratocaster known as “Brownie” and the Gibson Les Paul known as “Lucy.” Also included in the Crossroads Series are three guitars from Martin’s 000 line, which have been slightly re-worked for the occasion.
Best known as the "Layla Stratocaster" and famously featured on the back cover of the Derek and the Dominos album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, "Brownie" was the first Strat ever owned by Eric Clapton. Examining Fender's recreation of this legendary guitar, Clapton recalls the history of his very first Stratocaster. "Brownie takes me back to a state of mind," he says. “It all comes back to me...doing the Johnny Cash show with Carl Perkins, man...touring in a quartet that was quieter, funky, very, very strong-all of it hinged on the toughness of this guitar."
Owned by Eric Clapton and then given to his friend George Harrison, this 1957 Les Paul Goldtop -refinished in cherry red and better known as "Lucy"-is one of the most historically important electric guitars in the world. Lucy was played extensively by George Harrison over the last two years of The Beatles, including landmark recordings on the White Album, Let It Be and Abbey Road. Clapton also wielded the cherry red Les Paul on his historic "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" solo-at George's invitation.
To honor the remarkable acoustic career of Eric Clapton-a career that rivals his acclaimed electric guitar prowess-C.F. Martin & Company honors Clapton with three brand new 000-sized signature acoustic guitars.
"[Many] say that I attained fame through the electric guitar, but my early fame was with an acoustic guitar," he says, recalling his introduction to the world of music. "Small scale-in local pubs and things like that-I began acoustically and developed a small repertoire of songs that were popular amongst the folk clientele of that time. Then I got asked to play in a rock band, and I kind of had to learn to play electric guitar, somehow compromising what I knew I wanted to do with the repertoire of the band-like The Yardbirds and The Roosters-so I was trying to play Chicago blues, and listening to Freddie King and B.B. and all those guys, and still holding on to the acoustic. And what happened in these later years with ‘Unplugged’ was that I really just saw that as a tremendous opportunity to go back to my roots, and play those songs that I used to play in pubs.”