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Steven Lister

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

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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' date=' 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. [/quote']

 

Well...don't limit it, to "English Teenagers," most (White) American teens, had never heard much

(if any) "blues," to speak of. Especially in the more rural areas, of the country. That Bluesbreaker's album

was somewhat of an epiphany, for us, too. Oh, we'd heard a bit of the blues, in the Stones, Animals, and Yardbirds...

as well as the blues and gospel roots, of "Motown" music. But we'd never heard that kind of soloing! "God" is a bit much...but, I understood the sentiment! He certainly was "inspiring!" And, you can still see that "fire," more often than not, when he plays...at least when I've seen him.

 

CB

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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.

Guitar Magazine Interviewer in 2007: "What kind of guitar are you using these days?"

Hubert Sumlin: "A ’56 Gibson Les Paul."

Like most guitarists (especially poor blues guys) over the years Hubert has played the best instrument he could put his hands on at the time -- he started out playing a Kay. But he prefers LPs and uses them most often. So Nelson' date=' since your [u']only clue[/u] came from a quick glance at his web site photo (which says nothing about his preferences or usage history), here's a little crow for your dinner. Enjoy.

crow-pot-pie.jpg

 

To put into perspective my comments about EC's modern guitar/tone choices, ask this question: Would EC have attained the same notoriety for anything post Derick & The Dominoes? Or put yet another way -- for 40 years now he's played the (what was that again? oh yeah, "multi-color tone palette") strat, but he hasn't found the magic spark that we all refer to when we say that EC influenced us as players.

 

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

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Guitar Magazine Interviewer in 2007: "What kind of guitar are you using these days?"

Hubert Sumlin: "A ’56 Gibson Les Paul."

Like most guitarists (especially poor blues guys) over the years Hubert has played the best instrument he could put his hands on at the time -- he started out playing a Kay. But he prefers LPs and uses them most often. So Nelson' date=' since your [u']only clue[/u] came from a quick glance at his web site photo (which says nothing about his preferences or usage history), here's a little crow for your dinner. Enjoy.

crow-pot-pie.jpg

 

To put into perspective my comments about EC's modern guitar/tone choices, ask this question: Would EC have attained the same notoriety for anything post Derick & The Dominoes? Or put yet another way -- for 40 years now he's played the (what was that again? oh yeah, "multi-color tone palette") strat, but he hasn't found the magic spark that we all refer to when we say that EC influenced us as players.

 

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

 

http://www.hubertsumlinblues.com/

 

These days it looks like even he's gone to a Strat..and Steven, in June of 1983 at the Premier Club in Sterling Heights, Michigan I sat with Hubert Sumlin and a local DJ (now deceased) named Famous Coachman at a B.B. King Concert...I've met the man.., I've talked to the man...and I'll discuss blues with you from Son House to Robert Cray..but I doubt you have much to add to the conversation...and in spite of your folksy attempt at Bluesdom, it doesn't seem you really know anything..and that's your opinion about Clapton and I'm not surprised that you have it since I'll bet your rig is is an Epiphone Les Paul and a solid state Marshall..yeah, baby! play those blue notes and whistle on..."The Tone Man" has arrived LOL...and that "Les Paul" pictured on his site looks suspiciously like a double cut McCarty PRS...if you believe everything someone says in an interview you're not going to come away knowing very much..

 

 

and as for Eric Clapton..his audience since the days of Mayall and Cream and the Les Paul has increased twenty-fold..if you knew anything about Clapton you'd know that the Les Paul and SG played a very small role in his career...he's used Strats and Telecasters and Firebirds and ES-335s and actually he originally wanted a Fender Jazzmaster but ended up with the Strat instead...oh...and Clapton? yep met him too a few times lol:

 

 

Now that I know that you've seen it I'm taking it down because my ex-wife might not appreciate her picture plastered over the Internet in a guitar forum...

 

Mr.Nelson

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Well, I guess I'm so far "gone," that I don't see that?! I think he's evolved, changed (good or bad, which is subjective),

and he does continue to inspire me, and has...all along the way. He was SO influential, early on, because he played

a firey style, that most "White" folk, had never (or rarely) heard! English or American! So, that "shock and awe," along with

everyone that jumped on the "Blues-Blues Rock" band wagon, eventually paled...like anything does, when it's done

so much/often. So...He changed direction, still keeping his blues roots, close at hand, and some folks didn't like, and still don't, where he went. Same thing happened to Dylan, when he went "Electric!" His die hard "Folk" fans went ballistic, and were quick to show him their disfavor. Yet both men have given us some outstanding music, over the years...not just at the beginning, but all along. Some people don't care for the changes, that's fine, and absolutely your choice/right, not to. But, when I hear people saying he "peaked" with "Beano," I have to respectfully disagree....and I LOVE that album as much as any he's ever done. But, his playing is still amazing, inspirational, and his singing is better than it's ever been...IMHO (as always). I'm just glad we still have him around, doing what he does.

But, as always...just my feelings, here.

 

CB

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still more ...come-uppence ...put-downs... from Mr.Nelson

 

Unlike you, some of us on the forum have not seen/done/know everything, so we come here to pose questions and to listen..., even if it means we have to tollerate your snide attitude.

 

Funny thing though, while I fully support your right to keep posting anything you want to say, your attitude shows that you prefer to dictate your opinion as the "official version" that everyone else must adopt. Not a very musicianlike thing to do, brother.

 

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

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Unlike you' date=' some of us on the forum have not seen/done/know everything, so we come here to pose questions and to listen..., even if it means we have to tollerate your snide attitude.

 

Funny thing though, while I fully support your right to keep posting anything you want to say, your attitude shows that you prefer to dictate your opinion as the "official version" that everyone else must adopt. Not a very musicianlike thing to do, brother.

 

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

 

On the contrary...I think it's you who's imposing their opinion that Clapton because he doesn't use the same equipment that he used forty years ago is less for it...When I state opinions I state them as opinions...when I state something I have found to be factual then I state it as a fact...fact Clapton has a larger audience and has recorded a lot more material using a Strat than he ever had playing a les Paul...the entire thread was based upon your opinion that you attempted to portray as fact so in this case...pot...kettle...black...and you like to come across as some kind of blues expert and I'm just telling you that you're not the only one...thing is, I've also moved off in a lot of different directions since those days...so yeah, somebody like Clapton who's accomplished a hell of a lot more than I have has that prerogative too..

 

Mr.Nelson

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Unlike you' date=' some of us on the forum have not seen/done/know everything, so we come here to pose questions and to listen..., even if it means we have to tollerate your snide attitude.

 

Funny thing though, while I fully support your right to keep posting anything you want to say, your attitude shows that you prefer to dictate your opinion as the "official version" that everyone else must adopt. Not a very musicianlike thing to do, brother.

 

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

 

and no, I'm not putting you down ..I'm chuckling because you attempt to come across as so bluesy and folksy...and I don't think you even understand what that whistling emoticon even means lol..

 

 

Mr.Nelson

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Not trying to pick the scab off an old sore...

 

But I was watching this on youtube earlier, while trying to work this song out.

 

Can't say that his tone seems too shabby to me, and it certainly sounds nicer (to my ears) than Robbie Robertson playing a Strat alongside him in this clip.

 

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Good question. Could the change have something to do with a paid endorsement for Fender? There really doesn't seem to be any (other) good reason for him to abandon Gibson that I can think of...

 

What I've always wondered is how Clapton attained the status of "God". I'm not saying he's not a great guitar player, but when one compares his work to that of a Jimmy Page, Tony Iommi, Mark Knopfler, Steve Howe, Pete Townshend, David Gilmour, Jimi Hendrix, etc., etc., it really doesn't seem to hold up. Every one of these guys has written more great guitar songs than "God'.

 

well lets face it - Strats are way better for versatililty than Gibsons (and I am a big Gibson fan) and he wasn't the only person to dump Gibsons (jeff beck, jimmy page studio work telecaster, pete green etc etc). Clapton sounds much better playing Strats - to me his Gibson phase was just that a, very small phase in his musical life. I never cared for the flat compressed humbucker sound Clapton had during Cream etc it was just boring. He became much much better when he switched to a strat in the 70's and thank god for that.

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And yet, there IS something about his LP, SG, and 335 tone, through those Marshalls...that's quite compelling!

But, yeah...I like what he does with a "Strat," too! They're great guitars, played by some really great players!

They are "less forgiving" than a Gibson, in some ways. Somewhat less sustain, and a much more piercing high, than the Gibby's...

which means any mistakes you make, are more noticable. LOL! But, Players like EC, don't make that many mistakes,

or, if they do, they're really experienced, in how to mask them! ;>) "Once, it's a mistake...2 or 3 times, it's on purpose!" LOL!

 

CB

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I don't care so much about the guitars EC plays, but I do think his material has been steadily taken a dive-from Layla onwards. I find I have to pick and choose tunes post Layla, where I like everything EVERYTHING he did prior to that. Obviously that is a subjective opinion.

 

Also, IMO he's got the same problem Santana has today- he's let his tone go sterile.

 

The reason his 70's strat tone used to have such balls isn't the kind of strat, but the Dallas Rangemaster frequency booster that he was still using then-and prior to. Or so I have read.

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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' date=' 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[/quote']

 

My new Squire Telecaster in Alder feels like it weighs about 4.5 pounds. I haven't weighed it, but it feels way too light after playing the LP. The 79 Strat in Swamp Ash, OTOH, weighs out at about the same as the gibson LP. I haven't weighed it in years, but did weigh the Gibson LP and the Strat at the same time and they were about the same at the time.

 

I guess that the Squire Tele is just suffering from being made of that cheap, undernourished Chinese Alder, huh? Seriously, the Strat body is a pretty hefty piece of work. Alder and Ash can be about the same density at 30-33 lbs/ cubic ft. Ash can be up to 41 lbs/cubic ft. depending on the species. The best ash tone woods are considered to be the lighter open pore varieties.

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Sometimes I wonder if Clapton found that the Strat sound opened up new opportunities in his listening audience. His music went from heavy rock to a combination of rock/blues/country and his popularity soared. I know Clapton fans who have their musical roots in outlaw country. Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings fans who also buy Clapton CD's are an interesting lot. These are the ones who want to hear "Cocaine" and "Lay Down Sally" followed by "Don't it make my Brown Eyes Blue?".

 

And then, the unplugged album opened up yet another group of fans. I think that you have to play what people will pay to hear you play if you want to be a crossover musician. Clapton has done this, partly due to his own interests and partly due to his producers' market savvy.

 

I know local musicians who start out say that they are strictly a metal band. Then, a few years later you find them playing a cross section of music. Money talks.

 

I found that out early on when we auditioned for a local VFW for a summer gig. The club owner told us that he liked us but we'd never go over without a piano player in his club. We hired a piano player with a portable Wurlitzer piano who also owned a B3. We hauled that B3 up and down stairs for years and he made a tremendous contribution to our sound.

 

"I you wanna play in Texas, you gotta have a fiddle in the band".

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