Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster Review - Thank You, Slowhand!

By R. S. Rasnick

Unless you've lived in a closet for the past 15 years, you know that Fender has had no dearth of Artist-inspired instruments. One of their earliest offerings is still one of their best, the Eric Clapton model Stratocaster. Though it's had a few refinements over the years, its versatility and quality remain extremely high.

Chances are, you likely already know the features of a standard "non-Artist" Stratocaster, so you're probably questioning what makes the Clapton Stratocaster distinct. Let's look at the particulars, briefly.

To start, there's the electronics. Throughout his broad career, Eric Clapton has used a variety of instruments, including a Gibson Les Paul, a Gibson SG, a Gibson ES-335, and, of course, a Fender Stratocaster. So it goes without saying that Slowhand needs a guitar that can cover a lot of sonic territory.

The Clapton Strat obliges. To begin, it has an active 25db mid-boost (battery powered by 9V), which can take the Strat into pseudo Les Paul territory.

The mid-boost adds enough versatility, but that's not all the Clapton Strat offers. You've also got quality Fender Noiseless pickups and a master TBX tone control. The Clapton Stratocaster might just be the most versatile guitar you ever play. Seriously.

Aside from the sounds, the Clapton model has a comfortable playability that few guitars achieve. We can thank the V-shaped neck and 9.5" fingerboard radius for that. The back of the neck is incredibly smooth and lends itself to easy bends and fast runs with no effort.

We simply can't extol the tones and playability of the Clapton Strat enough. You'd be hard pressed to ever discover a guitar with the range of tones and ease of play as this one.

However, we could still think of some room for improvement, though the propositions are minor. We think locking tuners would be a wonderful addition, since it's such a "modern" guitar in all other respects.

We also wish that the vibrato unit wasn't blocked. However, that's Clapton's preference, so we don't think it'll change any time soon.

Aside from these minor suggestions, we think the Eric Clapton model Stratocaster represents the best of Fender's current offerings. We recommend it without reserve. - 31840

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