Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Eric Clapton's Blackie

Blackie was the affectionate nickname given by Eric Clapton to his favorite Fender Stratocaster guitar.

In 1970, Eric Clapton, largely due to the influence of Jimi Hendrix and of Blind Faith bandmate Steve Winwood, switched from using Gibson guitars and began to use Stratocasters. His first, nicknamed "Brownie", due to its sunburst brown finish, was used on his albums Eric Clapton and Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.

In the same year, Clapton found the Sho-Bud guitar shop in Nashville, Tennessee. He bought six vintage guitars, all Fender Strats, for a hundred dollars each. After giving one each to George Harrison, Pete Townshend, and Steve Winwood, he took the best parts of the remaining three guitars (built c. 1956 and 1957) and assembled "Blackie", so named for its black finish.

It was first played live January 13, 1973 at the Rainbow Concert. Clapton would play Blackie for many years on and off stage (such as in his guest appearance in The Last Waltz); finally, after a tour concert in Hartford in 1985, it was retired due to issues with the neck. In 1987 the Eric Clapton Stratocaster was released according to Clapton's specifications; he began playing his new signature guitar shortly after.

One of the last known occasions when Blackie was seen by the public was for a 1990 television commercial for the Japanese automobile firm Honda when, at the specific request of the company, Clapton used Blackie to record a new guitar solo on Bad Love in New York and was filmed for the commercial doing so. Blackie was also brought out on stage for one number during the Royal Albert Hall shows in 1991.

Related post:

Eric Clapton's Blackie Stratocaster Specs

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