Fender, Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster, 1988


Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster
Serial Number: 
SE 800238
3 Gold Lace Sensors
This guitar is from the Signature Series made at the Corona Plant (Fender), USA in the Year 1988.
The Story Behind


About the Guitar (from Wikipedia):

The Eric Clapton Stratocaster is the signature model electric guitar of English guitarist Eric Clapton, and was the first signature model guitar ever released by Fender.

In 1985, Dan Smith approached Clapton to discuss a plan to create a signature guitar built to his own specifications and market it under his name. Clapton told them to make an exact copy of Blackie, his favorite stage guitar at the time. Clapton's personal preference for the neck shape was the soft "V" of the early Martins. Fender made up a neck and put it on an Elite Stratocaster body. In the meantime, another prototype has been made with a softer V neck that Clapton liked even more. Among the Elite's features was a 12dB MDX mid-boost circuit (designed by James Demeter and John Carruthers) which makes the single-coils to sound like a humbucker. Clapton liked the boost (which he called a "compressor") and told Fender to keep it, but wanted more "compression", prompting Fender to replace the "Elite" pickups with Gold Lace Sensor pickups and an updated MDX circuit that had been tweaked up to 25dB boost in the midrange at around 500 Hz.

Clapton asked Fender for a V-shaped neck similar to his Martin acoustic guitar and what he called a "compressed" pickup sound, similar to that of a humbucker, explaining everything else about the famous "woman tone" he had developed during his stint with Cream in the late '60s, a playing technique almost synonymous with various Gibson models such as the ES-335, Les Paul Standard, Explorer, Byrdland, SG and Firebird, all sporting a pair ofhumbucking pickups. The first early prototypes made around 1986/87 featured a 21-fret neck, a 21dB mid-boost circuit, an active/passive toggle switch (which has been deleted on the final release) and Schaller locking strap buttons. The final product (released in 1988) is essentially a vintage 1957 reissue Stratocaster featuring a deeply contoured select alder body, a 1-piece soft "V"-shaped maple neck fitted with 22 vintage-style frets, flat 9,5" radius and BiFlex truss-rod system, a "blocked" original American Vintage synchronized tremolo, Gotoh/Kluson tuning machines, 1-ply white pickguard and three Fender GoldLace Sensor pickups powered by an active MDX mid-boost circuit with 25dB of gain and TBX tone controls, which helped augment the tone of the sound delivered, opening up a wider tonal range Clapton desired.

One of the unique features of this guitar (and perhaps the most interesting) was the inclusion of an original vintage synchronized tremolo bridge blocked off to tremolo arms by a small piece of wood wedged into the bridge cavity. This idea came about as Clapton liked the tone and tuning stability of hardtail Stratocasters and had no use for the whammy bar. 

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