A 1954 sunburst Fender Stratocaster owned by Eric Clapton is heading off to auction. This hardtail Strat was used as a slide guitar and tuned to open G. With bidding starting at a cool $1 million, you can expect ”Slowhand”, as it is known, to be pretty expensive when it finally sells.
Eric Clapton’s 1954 Fender Stratocaster ”Slowhand”
Eric Clapton’s 1954 Fender Stratocaster, bearing the serial number 7431 and affectionately nicknamed “Slowhand“, is off to be auctioned. This hardtail Stratocaster has “T-G-54″ written under the neck-butt in pencil, which stands for Tadeo Gomez, the Fender employee who shaped the guitar’s neck back in the golden years of the company.
In itself, Slowhand is already a rare guitar, as non-tremolo Stratocasters weren’t exactly available in large numbers back in 1954. Now factor in the Eric Clapton association, and that it was played on tracks like Tulsa Time and Early In The Morning where it handled slide duties, and you end up with a highly celebrated piece of rock and roll/blues guitar history.
Starting at $1 Million
The auction starts at $1 million, and I expect that it will go for a fair bit more, as it has perfect provenance and is well documented. Fans of Clapton, with the money, will want it for sure. The guitar has been upgraded with a 5-way switch (original ’54 Strats only had 3-way switches), as Clapton is well-known for favouring the in-between 2 and 4 positions.
Case candy includes a signed letter of authenticity from Clapton’s guitar tech Lee Dickson, and his handwriting is on a sticky-tape label on the case that reads “54 S/Burst Fender Strat #7431“. The sale will also include a signed gold edition of the Slowhand album and a strap. So you have the full package here.
Gotta Have Rock And Roll
The Slowhand ’54 Stratocaster auction is being held by Gotta Have Rock and Roll and opens on 25 November. The guitar is expected to fetch between $1.5 million and $2 million, but could well go for more. Will it break the record set by David Gilmour’s Black Strat? We’ll just have to wait and see.