You may know it as "Brownie" or the "Layla" Strat. This was the first Strat that Clapton ever owned. And Fender Custom Shop's Todd Krause has hand built a limited run of 100 identical replicas of the 2-tone brown sunburst Strat.
The Fender Custom Shop Eric Clapton "Brownie" Tribute Stratocaster is built to the exact specs of the 1956 guitar. The same style three-piece alder body with a nitrocellulose lacquer finish, the same large V shaped maple neck with 7.25" radius maple fingerboard and vintage frets.
The Custom Shop has recreated the original shielded '56 pickups and electronics. They used vintage style nickel hardware on the 6-point tremolo bridge and tuners. Then they wore it down and scratched it up to accurately replicate the 50-some years of play that is evident in the original guitar.
There was clearly no detail too small in this process. If you're lucky enough to get your hands on one of these, you'll see the tiniest dings and dents up and down the neck and body. There are tiny metal filings stuck to the pole pieces on the pickups. There are cigarette burns on the headstock.
The saddles and screws have gunk in them. Fender couldn't tell me what the gunk was, but I can only assume that they took a time machine back to 1970 and mixed together all of the substances you could find dropped on the floor of a tour bus.
It looked and felt that real. Of course, it goes without saying that the wear on fingerboard is there, that the paint on the back of the body is worn down to the wood, and there are plenty of obvious things Fender has done to make this look authentic. But what's really impressive is how much attention was paid to the little things. The cracks in the tone knobs, the gentle polishing that the strap buttons receive through hundreds of gigs.
Each "Brownie" Strat comes with a certificate of authenticity, signed by Eric Clapton, a DVD featuring interviews with Clapton, a 40th anniversary deluxe box set of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, an authentic vinyl Fender guitar case and a Fender Custom Shop photo book.
50 guitars will be made available in the United States exclusively through Guitar Center, and 50 additional will be available internationally beginning March 21st. They will retail for $14,999 and a significant amount of the proceeds will go directly to the Crossroads Centre.
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