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“It’s missing in guitar today… it can be distasteful, honestly”: The big difference between Eric Clapton and modern guitarists according to Scott Holiday

“Clapton epitomises this idea to me,” says the Rival Sons guitarist.

Scott Holiday of Rival Sons and Eric Clapton

Image: Steve Jennings / Samir Hussein / Getty Images

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Like many of his contemporaries in the realm of blues rock, Rival Sons’ Scott Holiday finds his guitar hero in ‘Slowhand’ Eric Clapton. Describing the bluesman as an “an ever-present force” in his own playing, Holiday explains how Clapton embodies the very quality that’s “missing” in other modern guitarists of today.

“There were English guys playing blues in the ’60s, but I think we can all fairly agreeably come to the same conclusion that Clapton is the quintessential white guy playing the blues, who brought so much attention to it,” Holiday explains in chat with Total Guitar.

“Clapton was predominantly a fan of Muddy [Waters], B.B. King and Howlin’ Wolf, or Robert Johnson, Buddy Guy and Hubert Sumlin. These were his guys and I think it’s fair to say that not as many people would have come to them without him.”

“For me, he’s responsible for a large part of that, kind of like The Rolling Stones,” says the musician. “But, even before the Stones, Clapton was an authentic player. He was better at it than all those guys early on – and he was louder. I think this is where ‘Clapton is God’ begins. He creates a big wave. It’s not just going to be these hipsters playing blues; it becomes cool.”

More importantly, Holiday reckons, was the way Clapton “played with a stately kind of authority” from a very young age.

“It’s missing in guitar today. It seems like every great guitar player has to play very, very fast. And even if they play a slow line, they then have to play very, very fast around that line and show every bell and whistle under the sun,” he says, adding that the obsession “can be distasteful, honestly”.

“A lot of guitar players don’t share that sentiment, but that’s my feeling. Clapton epitomises this idea to me.”

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