Built to EC’s specifications, the signature model is based on a ’57 Reissue with a solid alder body with a 6 screw vintage tremolo bridge, single ply pickguard, 5 way blade switch.
The timbers for the Artist range are the very best. On the Eric Clapton model we find a top grade alder body that's been curved and contoured in all the right ways, and polyurethane finished to unfaltering standards. The neck is all maple and this time the finish is satin, for drag-free playability.
While Mr Clapton chooses vintage style medium fretwire, as a serious string bender he likes his fingerboards a little flatter than the 7.25-inch radius of early Fenders. This guitar's 9.5-inch radius is more Gibson-like and allows for the sort of fluid finger work that we expect from EC. The neck is shaped into a soft 'V' for that final element of luxury.
Hardware is traditional, with vintage-style tuners and the classic vibrato system. But as Eric doesn't use his vibrato bar, the bridge remains screwed down, with a block of wood wedged inside to prevent any movement. The tremolo arm is included if you wish to unblock the trem..
On a plain white pickguard sit a trio of Fender's Vintage Noiseless pickups, which replace the Lace Sensors of the older Clapton model. These are organic and natural sounding - ideal for sweet blues and as a basis for more overdriven excursions.
Eric's equal liking for humbucking and single-coil tones led to Fender developing an ingenious boost control that cranks up the mids by as much as 25dB. Eric has always run things from the guitar's volume pots, and so this rotary is used to dial in the exact amount of boost required. The middle of the three controls is the master tone, featuring Fender's TBX system; a centre-notched pot that allows both treble cut and boost.
The guitar is resonant and open sounding when played acoustically. Plugged in and the Clapton is livelier than an old Strat, but less glassy than the Lace Sensor-equipped model of old. It seems most at home with the TBX control at its centre detent position - things get a little too scary with it cranked right up, but nicely 'woman tone'-ish when backed off.
Super clarity is the order of the day on all the expected Strat tones, but winding up the mid boost control offers an extraordinary level of extra gain, with the mids fattening out well and the amp's front end getting a serious fright.
We’ve sold quite a few of these EC Strats over the past five years, and they all have their own subtleties and generally show a little wear and tear. But this EC Signature Blackie is in super condition. There’s hardly a mark on it. And it’s been played in and set up nicely.
There is some very light wear on the pick guard but that is pretty much the only sign of use. Top is extremely clean – no dents or dings. The neck is pristine – no issues & very little fret wear. Action is set slinky low with 10-46 strings. Weight is 8.0 lbs
This is a super versatile guitar with plenty of tonal and volume options. It can sound like a classic vintage Strat, albeit with no pickup buzz or grounding issues. Or wind up the active mid-boot and TBX controls and it will move from smooth overdrive to snarling beast at your discretion.
Comes in original Fender tweed case in excellent condition.