What is the history of Eric Clapton's
Fender Stratocaster called "Blackie"?
“Blackie” is probably the most famous guitar in
She was put together by Eric Clapton from
three different Stratocasters.
Eric has called Blackie a “remarkable guitar” and
“a part of me.”
In 1970, he bought six "Strats" for $100 each at
the Sho-Bud guitar shop in Nashville, Tennessee.
He took them back to England and gave one to
George Harrison, one to Steve Winwood and
one to Pete Townshend.
From the remaining three,(built c. 1956 and 1957)
he took the best components and assembled Blackie,
so named for her black finish.
She 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,
She 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 model shortly after.
Blackie's last public appearance was during
the 1991 Royal Albert Hall shows when
She was brought out for one number.
Lee Dickson, Clapton's guitar technician of more than
20 years has said,
"Blackie is still around and 100% playable,
contrary to all rumors otherwise.
It's the nature of those old Fenders that the neck can
eventually loosen in the neck pocket,
even with the bolts tightened.
It had been refretted a couple of times and
there was a lot of wear on the edge of the neck,
which made it difficult to get E string vibrato easily.
We tossed around the idea to have a new neck made for it,
but eventually the decision was made to just retire Blackie."
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