Eric Clapton’s Slowhand Strat is heading to auction with a starting price of $1 million

The guitar is a rare example of a 1954 Stratocaster with a hardtail bridge.

Eric Clapton’s 1954 sunburst Fender Stratocaster, nicknamed Slowhand, is to go up for auction – expected to fetch between $1.5 million-$2 million, and with an eye-watering starting bid of $1 million.

The guitar is a rare Stratocaster variation that has a hardtail bridge rather than a vibrato system. On its neck are the initials TG – Tadeo Gomez, the Fender employee who created the neck. Also marked on the neck heel are the digits 9-54, indicating a manufacturing date of September 1954, at least for the neck.

Its construction consists of a maple neck with skunk stripe routing, a 21-fret maple fingerboard – and the standard Stratocaster electronics arrangement of three single-coils, with a master volume control, two tone controls and a five-way blade switch, all fitted into a white pickguard.


Clapton acquired it in the late 1970s, and used it extensively over the following five years. It was his main slide guitar, used both on stage and in the studio. On his 1979 tour it was used to play both Tulsa Time and Early In The Morning – tuned to open G, and with the action set for slide playing.

The prospective buyer will receive, along with the guitar, extensive documentation. This includes a signed typescript letter from Lee Dickson, Clapton’s guitar technician from 1979 to the present day. The details in this letter explain how Clapton used it exclusively for slide, and that it was the only non-tremolo Strat that Clapton had. Alongside this, there’s a Certificate signed by Eric Clapton from the Christie’s auction A Selection of Eric Clapton’s Guitars, held on June 24, 1999, in aid of the Crossroads Centre in Antigua.

For more information, you can head to the auction page here.

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