A 1983 Strings & Things in Memphis Custom 'St Blues/Bluesmaster', Serial No. 01012,
Lot 55
A 1982 Strings & Things in Memphis Custom 'St Blues/Bluesmaster', Serial No. 01012,
Sold for US$ 24,400 inc. premium
Lot Details
A 1982 Strings & Things in Memphis Custom 'St Blues/Bluesmaster',
Serial No. 01012,
in black finish, with gold-plated metal parts, alder body, white side strip, maple neck with skunk-stripe routing, twenty-one fret maple fingerboard with dot inlays, strings-though-body construction, bridge baseplate with six adjustable saddles, two humbucking pickups, two rotary controls, selector switch and white pickguard; and a black rectangular hardshell case with blue plush lining containing Strings & Things Custom printed order form inscribed with various details including Eric Clapton and the date 2/19/83; with two handwritten labels with various inscriptions including CUSTOM 'BLUESMASTER', Black, MEMPHIS


  • Tom Keckler, a guitar technician at Strings & Things in Memphis, who had been one of Schecter's early builders, began building original guitars based on his modified Telecaster nicknamed 'Tele Paul'. In 1983, his company began marketing them as Bluesmaster Series under the brand name Custom. In 1984, the brand name was changed to St Blues.

    Eric Clapton played a concert at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis on 17 February 1983. Charles Lawing of Strings & Things went to see Clapton backstage to show him a pair of Bluesmaster guitars, and recalls:
    "After waiting back stage for an extremely long time, I decided to call it quits and go home. When exiting the rear door of the venue and rounding a parked tour bus, I physically run into Clapton. I introduced myself and asked Eric if he would like to see some guitars. Eric replied "I've heard about your store and would love to come by and see your guitars and your store." He asked if he could meet me in the morning at 8:00 am. I said of course.

    At 8:00am the next morning, Clapton showed up in a taxi by himself. When Clapton first walked in the door his eye went to one of the Tele-Paul's (Bluesmaster) and said, (What is this?). I pulled it down and handed it to Clapton and he immediately fell in love with it.

    When we asked Clapton what he thought of our guitars he asked if he could take one to play in St Louis that night. If he liked it he said he would come back to Memphis and buy a couple of them. He left with the guitar and returned the next day excited about owning one of them. He purchased two. We then talked to him about how we would like to build an Eric Clapton model of Bluesmaster, to be designed by him. He asked if we would build a three single coil pickup assembly, like his preferred Stratocaster setup. We said, of course we would build you two guitars.

    According to Brian Halley of St. Blues Guitar Workshop, this guitar was the instrument that Clapton borrowed and took to St. Louis on the morning of 18 February 1983, played in concert at Kiel Auditorium that night and purchased the following day, 19 February. Clapton was photographed playing this guitar in concert.

    Photo: Clapton at The Kiel Municipal Auditorium in St Louis, Missouri on 18 February 1983 playing this guitar which he had borrowed that morning to try out in concert. Photograph courtesy of Paul Natkin
  1. Stephanie Connell
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