A 1954 sunburst Fender Stratocaster once owned and played extensively by Eric Clapton is headed to the auction block.
Sporting a maple neck with skunk stripe routing, a 21-fret fingerboard with dot inlays, three pickups, three rotary controls, a five-way selector switch, a tailpiece with adjustable saddles, and a white pickguard, the hardtail Strat was Slowhand's main slide guitar for the stage and studio from 1979-1985.
According to Gotta Have Rock and Roll – the auction house offering up the historic guitar – Clapton acquired the Strat in 1978 or 1979, and used it to play the opening songs, “Tulsa Time” and “Early in the Morning,” in each show on his 1979 tour.
The letters “TG” – the initials of Tadeo Garcia, the Fender employee who shaped the guitar's neck – are inscribed on the neck-butt, while the digits 9-54 indicate the month and year (September 1954) the neck was completed.
The guitar comes with a signed typescript letter from Lee Dickson, Clapton's longtime tech, which states that Clapton used the guitar exclusively for slide, that it was the only tremolo-less Strat in Clapton's collection, and that he particularly loved it because it was from 1954. Dickson also recalls bringing the Strat on tour along with Clapton's legendary "Brownie" and "Blackie" Strats.
The guitar also comes with a strap and a tweed rectangular hard-shell case with red plush lining.
The auction for the guitar opens Wednesday, November 25, with the opening bid set at a cool $1,000,000.
For more info on the guitar, stop by gottahaverockandroll.com.
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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.