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Steven Lister

So why did Clapton pass on the tone, SGs & LPs that made him God?

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Hey Guys!

 

Sorry to resuscitate such an old thread, but I thought the initial question was a really good one, and I stumbled across something that would seem to confirm what "Charlie" said in his post:

 

Another reason' date=' that Eric has admitted "might" have influenced his switch to Strats, was Hendrix's influence!

He was completely blown away, the first time he saw Jimi play, and also Jeff Beck was an influence, in that

direction, if less so, than Hendrix. EC says it wasn't really a deliberate decision because it was the guitar that

Jimi played, but he's admitted it could have been subconscious, in that regard. But, I think he's like most of us,

with "Guitars!" We love to switch around, and explore all kinds of tonal possibilities. He still uses LP's, 335's

and L-5's as well as his old blonde Byrdland. Anyway...just some thoughts..[/quote']

 

This is what Pete Townshend said:

 

"With Jimi, I didn't have any envy. I never had any sense that I could ever come close. I remember feeling quite sorry for Eric, who thought that he might actually be able to emulate Jimi. I also felt sorry that he should think that he needed to. Because I thought Eric was wonderful anyway. Perhaps I make assumptions here that I shouldn't, but it's true."

 

From the way it looks to me, Clapton really could have been influenced by Hendrix' choice of guitars.

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Here is a recent quote from David Gilmour taken from Guitar Player magazine

 

"In my view, you can recognize guitar players who play a strat more readily than you can those who play Gibsons..."

 

 

He did go on to say that "it is nice to play something else occasionally, like my goldtop Les Paul with those old single-coil P-90s.

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Maybe another question is: "Would the fans have called EC 'God,' anyway...no matter what he played, at that time?!" I suspect "Yes!" It was his playing, that was the inspiration, not the guitar! Tone, of course is always part of the equation, but what EC did then, would have been praised likewise, LP, Strat or whatever...IMHO. It was his prowess, soul, feeling...not the actual guitar, that people responded to. Certainly, in my case. The first time I ever heard him play, in the Yardbirds, he was using a Telecaster, and doing a very good job with it, too. Then "Beano" came out, and the rest...as they say, is history. And even the "God" reference has to be kept in the context of the time. Younger players (sometimes) forget that, I think. But, the talent, and all indications of that, were there well before the "God" references. And, contrary to some, I've always felt he steadily improved, as a player. Musical direction might have wandered a bit..(good or bad, is subjective), but he's always kept close to his "blues" roots, no matter what he's done.

 

CB

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Eric Clapton has become a boring, old man. I find Guitar players who only use 1 guitar for their stuff boring! Pete Townshend has also startet to become boring!

 

For me: Everyone who has an endorsement deal with Fender is just plain boring! Need money? Play some concerts with your vintage stuff!

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Saw clapton at the crossroads 2007 thing in Chicago. Every bit as good as I could imagine. Jeff Beck went on right before Clapton, and as always when seeing Beck the guy was unreal. Stole the show imo.. I have seen who I think of as the big three live, Clapton, Page and Beck. I have not been disappointed in any of them yet. Funniest quote in this whole thread was the slide comment about Layla.... I thought everyone knew Allman was the slide guy on that song....

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Saw clapton at the crossroads 2007 thing in Chicago. Every bit as good as I could imagine. Jeff Beck went on right before Clapton' date=' and as always when seeing Beck the guy was unreal. Stole the show imo.. I have seen who I think of as the big three live, Clapton, Page and Beck. I have not been disappointed in any of them yet. Funniest quote in this whole thread was the slide comment about Layla.... I thought everyone knew Allman was the slide guy on that song.... [/quote']I've seen Beck several times, I wish I had quit seeeing him after the original Blow By Blow Concert, that was his peak.

 

All the concerts I've seen in the last 20 years of him suck. I'll never bother again. He's lost me, he was so noisy last time, about 4 years ago I walked out.

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Eric Clapton has become a boring' date=' old man. I find Guitar players who only use 1 guitar for their stuff boring! Pete Townshend has also startet to become boring!

 

For me: Everyone who has an endorsement deal with Fender is just plain boring! Need money? Play some concerts with your vintage stuff![/quote']

 

However, Mr. Clapton does not just use one guitar. He has used several strats over the years! To be a bit more serious, as others have pointed out, he may pretty much use a strat in concert but when he is recording he uses the guitar he feels fits the need. He has had plenty to use from, even after auctioning off several to support the Crossroads rehab center. I have a lot of respect for someone who has pulled himself back from addiction several times - heroin, alcohol, cocaine - not to mention personal grief - and can still, in his later years, be able to host Crossroads festivals that not only benefit a charity but feature guitarists young and old, of all stripes.

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It's pretty obvious. Even though Clapton is a guitar player' date=' he let himself become a pop musician and the guitar took a back seat. I wonder if he even gave a second thought about how his guitar sounded in all the post Cream releases. [b']He probably went with a strat because they are lighter and easy to tolerate[/b]. All a matter of convenience.

 

Not that he can't play, I've seen him even recently tear it up live(although his tone sucked), but those types of showings are few and far between and hardly found on any of his newer recordings. His heyday was over right after it begun.

 

Lighter Strats are the Alder models. Hang a Swamp Ash Strat around your neck and it's a heavy as a Paul. The back and right side top beveled cutaway design of the Strat also makes it a comfortable guitar to play. I wish that Gibson and Epi would do some ergonomic design on the LP body for that reason.

 

I have gravitated toward the Les Paul as my main guitar, but occasionally I will break out the Strat and take it out to the gig. Invariably, when I do, I'm impressed once again with the tone I can get out of the '79 Strat. This is with the stock single coils. I have toyed with the idea of installing a neck and bridge humbucker and doing the wiring to be able to use them in humbucker and single coil mode using the out of phase mode to retain the original tone. I really think that if I did that, I would have just about every sound I'd need.

 

Through a good amp, the Strat doesn't sound thin. Clapton got stuck, as lots of Strat players do, on the position 2 bridge/middle chime tone in the later years. I got into that tone as one of my choices, also. I think that the out of phase noise cancelling that you get in position 2 drives that. The buzz goes away and the chime tone is addictive.

 

Years ago, in my first studio session, the engineer asked everyone to play a little to allow him to set some levels on the instruments. He remarked that my Strat sounded a little thin. Next thing I know he has dialed in some compression and a little overdrive and suddenly my little Strat sounded like a million dollars! This engineer is the guy from Capricorn, Paul Hornsby, who produced all the Marshall Tucker, Wet Willy, and Allman Bros work at Capricorn. He has the Grapevine Studio now and has been out on his own for a couple of decades.

 

I said that to reinforce the fact that EQ and amplification play an important role in tone and interest. I will admit that Clapton's tone on "Lay Down Sally" was a little thin, but it didn't have to be. The Woman Tone is attainable on a standard Strat if you dial in the right parameters in the amplifier chain.

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What I find interesting in some professional artists is that, in candid interviews, the following seems to happen:

 

- Those works where the artist feels he was at his artistic best, the public only recognized this work as "average"

 

- Those works where the public feels that the artist was at his best, the artist will often shrug it off with statements like "I've done much better in other projects" or "I had a bad day when I did that".

 

The public and the artist always seem to have different points of view. This is so "ironic".

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LOL... yeah' date=' Jeff Beck sucks....well, to each their own I guess. [/quote']

 

yeah no-kidding..... We should all suck so bad...LOL

 

BTW listen to Tal Wilkenfeld on bass..... she's oustanding

 

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Lighter Strats are the Alder models. Hang a Swamp Ash Strat around your neck and it's a heavy as a Paul. The back and right side top beveled cutaway design of the Strat also makes it a comfortable guitar to play. I wish that Gibson and Epi would do some ergonomic design on the LP body for that reason.

 

 

 

 

My '05 Custom Shop Mary Kay in swamp ash weighs seven pounds two ounces..my '06 Custom Shop 50's Vintage Player in alder weighs eight pound four ounces...guess you had that wrong huh?

 

The guys like Clapton and Beck (sorry G, I still like him) and Eric Johnson and Pete Townshend and even Jimmy Page have gone to the Strat because it's a much larger palette of tonal colors than the boring old Les Paul through a Marshall that was passe' about 1980

 

Mr.Nelson

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He's been replaced by the guitar gods Satch' date=' Vai, Malmsteen and Zakk Wylde.

:-k [/quote']

 

Zakk Wylde..inspiration to trailer trash kids everywhere...and the 80's called so Satch, Vai and Malmsteen had to go..

 

Mr.Nelson

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I read, recently...that on his last tour, EC told (Lee Dickson), his guitar tech, that the next night, he wanted to use a Gibson, a Les Paul, or a 335, etc...that he wasn't satisfied, with his tone, that night..and didn't know if it was the guitar or the amp or the combination...or, if he was "tired" and/or just needed a change, etc. So...he goes through stages, just like the rest of us, I think.

Sometimes, whatever you use, sounds great, other times...something's just "off," for whatever reason... I know I have those times, myself, and I'm no "Clapton," that's for sure! LOL!

 

CB

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The guys like Clapton and Beck and Eric Johnson and Pete Townshend and even Jimmy Page have gone to the Strat because it's a much larger palette of tonal colors than the boring old Les Paul through a Marshall that was passe' about 1980.

 

Then I’m blind and deaf b/c it’s the Strat’s palette of colors that leave me tonal-ly unsatisfied. (and I play one for those selective niches where it does the job better than an LP)

 

Why is it then that the vast majority of the “boring” material put out by those players' date=' is the work done after tossing their LPs and strapping on a Strat?

Perhaps it’s the musician that stalemated – not the LP/Marshall tone that made them famous?

--- And therein, as they say, lies the rub of my inquiry as to all of your opinions on this very issue -- resulting in some enlightening comments so far.

 

Hit every BLUE NOTE baaaby..., I'm going to play on:-"

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Then I’m blind and deaf b/c it’s the Strat’s palette of colors that leave me tonal-ly unsatisfied. (and I play one for those selective niches where it does the job better than an LP)

 

Why is it then that the vast majority of the “boring” material put out by those players' date=' is the work done after tossing their LPs and strapping on a Strat?

Perhaps it’s the musician that stalemated – not the LP/Marshall tone that made them famous?

--- And therein, as they say, lies the rub of my inquiry as to all of your opinions on this very issue -- resulting in some enlightening comments so far.

 

Hit every BLUE NOTE baaaby..., I'm going to play on:-"

 

That is of course your opinion and you are entitled to it..After forty years in this game including doing the "Blooze" thing for years with my Epiphone Riviera through a Super Reverb and the rock thing with a Les Paul through a Marshall I now find those sounds boring (though I still love the sound of my Riviera) so I can only imagine how a consummate professional would feel about doing what's he's already done and has now past ...what made Clapton famous was a lot of things...Les Paul Through a JTM 45 ES-335 through a Showman and a Marshall Super Lead...Fender Stratocaster through a Dual Showman.. Fender Stratocaster through Bassman..Fender Stratocaster through Paul Riveras..Stratocasters through custom Bassmans and Twins...Clapton's sound has changed a lot over the years and maybe he's grown out of that very cliche sound...which isn't a pure blues sound by any stretch...maybe for the red neck rock bands of the 80's who thought they were blues bands but tell me...what does Buddy Guy play? What did Muddy Waters play (still a Fender)? SRV? Earl King...Hound Dog Taylor.You mentioned Hubert Sumlin as an influence...and what does he play?.(go to his web site and see what he's posed with)..for being such a blues guy you really don't seem to have a clue about what these guys play to get their tone.and Clapton still uses his ES-335 when the situation calls for it but don't say someone turned their back on tone because they grew beyond it and you're still back there....that's just silly and uninformed..

 

Mr.Nelson

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Although I agree that LP's are better...

 

A guitarist like Clapton will be amazing no matter what guitar he plays. Cause it's the person behind the guitar that really makes the difference.

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Although he uses a Strat most of the time you'll also see him using a 335 on stage and occasionally a LP. He's not 100% Strat.

 

Anyone who wants to know how Clapton earned the "god" label back in the 60s needs to listen to a few Keith Richards / George Harrison solos from 1965, to get a feel for what the vibe was at the time. Then play the J Mayall / E Clapton bluesbreakers album and listen to the solos on that. To the average English teenager who hadn't heard Freddie King or Buddy Guy at the time the tone and phrasing must have been electrifying. Some credit to the producer for capturing it. That album was ECs' peak (imho) and only the Layla album comes close.....although his playing as a guest on Carl Perkins' late 1980s DVD is red hot. If you haven't seen it, track it down; EC on top form, George Harrison playing immaculate classic r'n'r lead, and Ringo on drums....great stuff.

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