Legendary guitarist Eric Clapton has teamed up with Guitar Center to offer a selection of five super cool and exclusive limited-run instruments from Fender, Gibson, Martin, as well as a selection of signature guitar straps from Ernie Ball. The collection will be available to purchase starting March 21, 2013 and proceeds from all sales will benefit Clapton's Crossroads Centre in Antigua, which the drug and alcohol treatment facility Clapton founded in 1997.
The Fender Custom Shop has created a "Brownie" Tribute model Stratocaster - a replica of Clapton's first Strat, which was a 1956 two-tone sunburst model with a maple neck that he purchased second hand in 1967 from Sound City in London. He played it frequently during his early days with Cream, Delaney and Bonnie, Derek and The Dominos, and at the start of his solo career. The guitar is pictured on the cover of the 1970 Derek and The Dominos album, "Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs", as well as on Clapton's first solo album, which was released the same year. It is best recognized as the guitar heard on "Layla".
Brownie was one of the highlight instruments offered for sale at the 2004 Crossroads auction held at Christie's in New York City and was purchased by the Experience Music Project. It was generously loaned to Fender in order to painstakingly recreate all of the guitar's intricate details and heavy wear to make the replicas as dead-on accurate as possible from the larger soft V shape of the neck, weight of the body, to the electronics, even matching the offset pattern of the finish, along with recreating each and every nick, scratch, and even the cigarette burn on the headstock.
A total of 100 Brownie Tribute models will be offered (50 for the US and 50 worldwide) at $14,999 MSRP. Each guitar will be built by Todd Krause, the Custom Shop Master Builder who is responsible for crafting Clapton's own personal instruments. Each Brownie model includes a stenciled black Tolex Fender case, numbered certificate of authenticity hand-signed by Clapton, a 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition of "Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs", a special Fender story and photo booklet, and a Crossroads Antigua brochure.
By Lisa Sharken