#5 – Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” Fender Stratocaster
Eric Clapton with his famous “Blackie” Fender Stratocaster
In 1970, Eric Clapton made the switch from Gibson guitars to the Fender Stratocaster due to what some people say was the influence of Jimi Hendrix and Clapton’s bandmate Steve Winwood.
Not long after the switch, Clapton came across the Sho-Bud Guitar Shop in Nashville, Tennessee where he found and purchased six 1950’s Fender Stratocasters.
Clapton gifted three of the guitars, giving one each to George Harrison, Steve Winwood and Pete Townshend. Taking the best parts from the remaining three, Clapton had the Nashville-area luthier Ted Newman build him the guitar now affectionately known as “Blackie.”
He toured and recorded with the guitar for nearly two decades, having to ultimately “retire” Blackie due to wear and tear, particularly on the neck.
Blackie was sold at a Christie’s auction in 2004 for a then-record amount of $959,000, which was used to benefit Clapton’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation center he helped cofound called the Crossroads Center.
The winner of the auction was actually Guitar Center, the well known guitar and musical instrument store chain.