Eric Clapton's Fender guitar is on the block at a New Jersey auction house specializing in musical instruments and other collectables. The bidding officially began Nov. 25 and ends Friday night, says auction house Gotta Have Rock and Roll in Franklin Lakes. The minimum opening bid, which hadn’t yet been placed as of Tuesday, is set at a cool $1 million.
Referring to Clapton’s long association with Fender’s revolutionary six-string, Gotta Have Rock and Roll writes: “His deep connection to the Stratocaster, which began early in his career, continued with this this ‘non-tremolo’ model 1954 sunburst Stratocaster that he used both on stage and in the studio for slide work circa 1979-1985.”
The guitar for sale lacks a tremolo arm, a signature feature of pioneering luthier Leo Fender’s Stratocaster, which debuted 66 years ago. The tremolo, or whammy bar, lets standard players bend notes or whole chords, but is redundant for a slide player, whose technique involves gliding from one note into the next, akin to a bend.
“It appears that Clapton first used it on stage circa 1979-1980 to play his opening numbers ‘Tulsa Time’ and ‘Early in the Morning’ in the set list for his 1979 tour,” the auction house continued. “Clapton needed a guitar set-up for slide playing for both of these songs, and for both the guitar was tuned in open G, one of his favorite tunings for playing slide.”
Gotta Have Rock and Roll estimates the 66-year-old guitar will command a price somewhere between $1.5 million and $2 million.