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 aco... Read More
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. And I don't think-you know, a lot of people that became acquainted with me and what I did as a rock guitar player probably had no idea that that was really the beginning of it all for me."
Early on, Clapton fell in love with the renowned guitars from Martin. "Going back to the early days, the [acoustic] that had the seal of approval from the master musicians was Martin. I had to get my hands on one." He recalls, "I remember I was with a mate of mine ... and someone said, 'You ought to have a look at this [Martin].' And we were outside, and they opened this, you know, proper hard case-I carried my guitar around in a sort of sack. They had a case, and they opened it up, and there was this dreadnought in there. And it was like a big light shone out of the case. It was so precious and significant. And we were allowed-I can't remember whose it was-but I felt that neck-the triangulated neck-and I thought, 'This is [fantastic].'"
The feel of the triangulated neck stayed with Clapton and influenced his taste in acoustics as years went on, as did the feel and scale of the 000-28. "I like really basic guitars," says Clapton, casually playing his new Martin 000-28EC. "I traveled through the '70s with a 000-28, and I loved it. It got battered-I tend to think that you can actually treat them with less reverence, or ... they become tools if they're basic." He continues, "The guitar has to be friendly. I think they fit better. The 000 fits. I'd always thought the dreadnought was a stand-up bluegrass guitar, or folk guitar. When I play a dreadnought, it slips off my leg," he laughs. "[The 000] is, to me, a big parlor guitar. It's for home entertainment. It travels really well, the balance is perfect, the sound works well in smaller spaces and it's excellent for recording."
Drawing from the legendary acoustics of Clapton's present and past (including the famed 000-42 on which he did his Grammy Award-winning work on Unplugged), Martin has created three exquisite models for the Eric Clapton Crossroads Collection, built to the master's own specifications: the 000-28EC "Crossroads" Madagascar Rosewood and the more ornate 000-45EC "Crossroads" Madagascar Rosewood and 000-45EC Brazilian Rosewood models, all of which have been hand-signed by Slowhand himself on the soundhole label.
"And it's always been-I hate to say it-but it's been my experience that the proper guitars, and therefore the most expensive guitars, are always going to be the easiest ones to play. Because they're just made for playing. The motive behind the making of the guitar is 100% right. [These Crossroads guitars] are great. They're beautiful.They're perfect-absolutely perfect. Fantastic figuring, colors are great, the top wood is beautiful and the grain on the backs is fantastic. And they are unique to one another. The '28 has got a rounder bottom, but the '45 is bright and a bit louder. I would pay the extra for the '45 if it was me," he laughs.