Sometimes you might not know what you want and then you’ll play it and it’s like you’ve never heard something like that before.
That first sound is very inspiring; a lot of songs are born out of that.
When I go into a pawn shop there might be something that looks good or fits a description of what I’m after, but if the guitar doesn’t feel good when I pick it up, I put it down again. It was traumatic.‘I had a Telecaster in The Yardbirds from day one (inset on stage in Brighton in 1964).
Collectors have different philosophies about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. I watched the 1999 Christie’s sale from a rehearsal, live on someone’s laptop, and Brownie (Clapton’s 1956 Fender Stratocaster) got a standing ovation. I used light-gauge strings, with a very thin first string, which made it easier to bend the notes, and it was not uncommon, during frenetic bits of playing, for me to break at least one string.
Plugged in, the electro-acoustic sound is highly credible, with plenty of control to thin mids and tame crispy highs.
The image is always a big part, even if it’s a period in time.
When I was on tour with the Dominos, I went into Sho-Bud in Nashville, which had a stack of second-hand Strats in the back of the shop. ‘Tony Zemaitis completed this, a custom 12-string, that Eric envisioned in 1969 and he first played it while he was in Blind Faith.
Clapton briefly loaned the guitar, nicknamed Ivan The Terrible, to George Harrison, who apparently used it on the recording of My Sweet Lord.‘I was involved in a very, very, stormy relationship at the time.
During one of our big rows, I took the guitar and I demolished it.
I took it by the neck and I banged it against the wall until there was nothing left.