The ultimate blues and rock musician, 16 time Grammy winner, and the only artist to ever be inducted into the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame three times, Clapton originally purchased the now famous Gibson ES 335 guitar in 1964 and used it throughout his illustrious career for the ensuing 40 years. The Clapton 335 has gone on to become one of most famous guitars in rock music history, and was purchased by Guitar Center at a charity auction in June of 2004 for a record price of $847,500.
Guitar Center subsequently loaned the original instrument to Gibson Custom so that it could be meticulously measured and recreated by Gibson's expert luthiers in preparation for the limited edition "Crossroads" model, which has been approved by Clapton himself. The processes used to faithfully reproduce the guitar include digitizing the neck with a laser beam to ensure dimensional accuracy, aging the finish to simulate 40 years of loving use, replicating the Hare Krishna sticker given to Eric by George Harrison, and stenciling the "distressed" case with the "CREAM" logo - as per the original. All of the guitars will be signed by Clapton.
Guitar Center has purchased the first 175 of the 250 replicas now in production at Gibson Custom in Nashville, Tennessee, the balance of 75 replicas are destined for export markets.
"We are honored to be involved with Eric Clapton and Gibson in the recreation of this legendary guitar, and anticipate that the first guitars will be offered for sale directly from Guitar Center stores in late July 2005," said Keith Brawley, Vice President of Guitar and Amplifier Merchandising, Guitar Center.
"It is the extraordinary history and music of this amazing musician that led us to want to create the Eric Clapton Crossroads 335 Gibson Custom guitar," said Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO Gibson Guitar. "We are pleased that Guitar Center recognizes Clapton's contributions to the world over his brilliant career. We know the attention we have spent on each and every model will stand the test of time with anyone who adds this magnificent guitar to their collection."
For more information, visit www.gibson.com.