Eric Clapton's "Brownie" Stratocaster is significant for two main reasons. One, it was his first Stratocaster, and as such represents his move away from the Gibson guitars of his 1960s stints with John Mayall, Cream and Blind Faith, et al., and toward a longtime close association with Stratocasters that continues today. Two, it's the guitar he played on his eponymous 1970 solo debut album and on what is widely considered his most famous album and highest musical achievement, Derek and the Dominos album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, also from 1970.
Brownie, which was sold at auction in 1999 and currently resides at the Experience Music Project museum in Seattle, is a 1956 Stratocaster (serial number 12073) with a two-color sunburst finish and maple fingerboard. Clapton bought it secondhand for £150 on May 7, 1967, at Sound City in London, just before Cream recorded second album Disraeli Gears.
The Fender Custom Shop now introduces a faithful recreation of Clapton’s first Stratocaster, meticulously crafted after extensive examination of and research on the real Brownie. All but indistinguishable from the original, the Fender Custom Shop Eric Clapton "Brownie" Tribute Stratocaster takes you back to that pivotal period in Clapton’s life and career, with features including a three-piece alder body with off-center seam and nitrocellulose lacquer finish in color-matched two-tone sunburst, and a one-piece plain-grain maple neck with custom large "soft V" profile.
The guitar also has a 7.25”-radius fingerboard with 21 vintage-style frets, custom-shielded ’56 Stratocaster pickups with five-way switching, a single-ply parchment pickguard, a vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge, and nickel hardware. This finish and hardware are worn to mirror the original guitar exactly, down to the smallest nicks, scratches, dings, cigarette burns and more.
The guitar comes in a special black textured vinyl Derek and the Dominos "Fragile" case that also contains several special extras, including a numbered certificate of authenticity hand-signed by Clapton, the 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition box set of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, a Fender Custom Shop story and photo album booklet, and a Crossroads Antigua brochure.