Strings & Things Memphis Custom, Serial No. 01412,
Lot 56
A 1983 Strings & Things in Memphis Custom 'St Blues/Bluesmaster', Serial No. 01412,
Sold for US$ 18,300 inc. premium
Lot Details
A 1983 Strings & Things in Memphis Custom 'St Blues/Bluesmaster',
Serial No. 01412,
the neckplate engraved Strings & Things SER. 01412, Custom Made For ERIC CLAPTON, in sunburst finish, gold-plated metal parts, bound ash body with single cutaway, maple neck with skunk-stripe routing, twenty-one fret maple fingerboard with dot inlays, strings-though-body construction, bridge baseplate with six adjustable saddles, Slant Six coil tapped single-coil pickups with two push-pull/rotary controls, selector switch and cream pickguard; and a black rectangular hardshell case with blue plush lining and handwritten label


  • In an interview with Dan Forte for Guitar Player magazine in 1985, Clapton commented:
    "Strings & Things from Memphis tried to get me interested in a fairly revolutionary-looking guitar, the St. Blues. I tried it, and I liked it, and I played it on stage liked, it a lot. But, while I was doing that, I was thinking, "Well, Blackie's back there. If I get into this new guitar too deeply, it's tricky, because then I won't be able to go back to Blackie. And what will happen to that?" This all happens in my head while I'm actually playing [laughs]. I can be miles away thinking about this stuff, and suddenly I shut down and say, "This is enough. No more. Nice new guitar. Sorry. You're very nice, but ..."

    Clapton visited Strings & Things in Memphis and purchased this and its companion in Lot 55 on 19 February 1983, on which occasion a discussion took place about building an Eric Clapton model. Clapton took with him the guitar in Lot 55 but left this guitar with the company to be modified and shipped to him at a later date. When the guitar was shipped, the personalized neckplate was added. After some correspondence with Clapton discussing the specs of the Eric Clapton model, in which Clapton's idea of three pickups was replaced with two pickups. Two prototypes of the Eric Clapton model were completed and shipped to him in England in April 1983. According to Charles Lawing's statement:
    "[Eric] called and said he loved the guitars and how great they were... We got geared up to promote the Eric Clapton guitar at the next trade show when we received a letter from Eric's manager Roger Forrester letting us know that Eric was going to sign with The Fender Guitar Company... We were told that Clapton wanted us to keep one of his Eric Clapton prototype model guitars and sent back to us serial #00002...."

    The returned prototype pictured in the advertisement is currently exhibited at the Smithsonian Rock and Soul Museum in Memphis.

    Photo: a) Eric Clapton during his return visit to Strings & Things in Memphis on 19 February 1983 when he purchased this guitar and Lot 55 and discussed the development of an Eric Clapton Model; Photographs courtesy of St Blues Guitar Workshop, Memphis.
    Photo: b) an advertisement for Strings & Things Custom Eric Clapton Model from May 1983. Photographs courtesy of St Blues Guitar Workshop, Memphis.
  1. Stephanie Connell
    Specialist - Entertainment Memorabilia
    Montpelier Street
    London, SW7 1HH
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 20 7393 3844
    FaxFax: +44 20 7393 3873
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