A pair of 1997 Fender Twin Amps, Serial Nos. ECT 2 and 3,3
Lot 93W
A pair of 1997 Fender Twin Amps, Serial Nos. ECT2 and 3,3
Sold for US$ 42,700 inc. premium
Lot Details
A pair of 1997 Fender Twin Amps,
Serial Nos. ECT2 and 3,
top control style open-back cabinets with tweed covering, metal plate with Fender Twin Amp, brown grille cloth, leather handles, chrome-plated chassis with five black 'chicken head' style rotary controls, two toggle switches, four jack inputs, red jewel pilot lamps, fuse holder; ECT2: handwritten inscription inside cabinet Built by John Suhr for Eric Clapton 5/97 in red and ECT2 in black, three 12AY7 and one 12AX7 pre-amp valves, two Ruby 6L6GCSTR and two Mesa STR415 6L6GC power amp valves, 1972 blue Fender ceramic speakers, with annotations Tim Myer 3-97 on both speakers; ECT3: handwritten inscription inside cabinet Built by John Suhr for Eric Clapton 6/97, four 12AX7 pre-amp valves, two Philips 6L6WBG power amp valves, Jensen C12N ceramic speakers; both amps are with 120V US plugs; and a custom-built flight case that transports the two amps together (3)

Footnotes

  • These amps ECT2 and ECT3 were the second and the third of the four amplifiers custom built for Clapton by John Suhr at Fender Custom Shop and were completed in May and June 1997, respectively. Del Breckenfeld, Fender's director of artists relations, commented in 1997:

    "Eric had what he considered to be the Holy Grail of amps [the 1957 Twin Amp in Lot 92]. But since he only had one he was afraid of damaging it on tour... Our mission was to clone that amp, which was a quite difficult task. We first analysed Eric's vintage amp to the specs then we searched for old parts. After all that, it still didn't sound right. At that point, John Page suggested old pinewood. We found some that came from an old church's floor and that made the difference. We nailed it and we built a total of three. We built them and then subjected them to the acid test... Eric's ear. He loved them and declared them to be the exact replicas and gave one to BB King as a gift."

    They were the main stage amps on the 1997 Legends tour of European Jazz Festival, the Pilgrim tour with a twenty-piece orchestra and a ten-piece band in 1998/99 and the first part of the 2001 Reptile tour when he began using the second generation Signature guitars with Vintage Noiseless pickups.

    Clapton's guitar technician stated in his interview with Tonequest Report, September 2001:

    "The last few years, [Clapton]'s been using these custom-built Fender Twins.... It took over three years for them to round up the original transformers, speakers, and some other parts for the amps, but they can never be identical due to the nature of the old parts."

    In actual use, they were set up by Clapton's amp technician to mirror the two vintage tweed Twins, one being the 1957 Twin in Lot 92, the other vintage Twin Amp (not included in this sale), and hence ECT2 is run with four 6L6GS valves and 1970s Fender label ceramic speakers while ECT3 is run with two 6L6GS valves only and with reissue Jensen C-12N speakers. Clapton is retaining the serial number ECT1.

    Photo: a) Clapton using these amps at his nine-piece band/ twenty-piece orchestra show promoting Pilgrim, Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas, 22 May 1998. Photograph courtesy of Shinichiro Yoshino
    Photo: b) One of the John Suhr replica amps on stage on BB King's left while he's playing Everyday I Have the Blues with Clapton and Bonnie Raitt during the encore at Earls Court, 16 October 1998. Photograph courtesy of Linda Wneck
    Photo: c) Clapton using these amps on stage with Sheryl Crow at the Crossroads Benefit Concert, Madison Square Garden, 25 July 1999. Photograph courtesy of Gene Shaw

    Further background information about this lot is available by using the condition report facility at www.bonhams.com or by contacting the department.
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