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1964, ES-335 TDC

1964, ES-335 TDC
The headstock inlayed Gibson and stamped on the reverse 67473, labelled Style L-5-CES/Gibson ES 335TDC/Number 67473 is hereby/GUARANTEED/against faulty workmanship and materials./Union Made Gibson INC/KALAMAZOO MICHIGAN,/U.S.A., length of back 18½ in. (47 cm.); and original Lifton hardshell case, stencilled on the lid in white CREAM DELICATE HANDLE WITH CARE DELICATE ELECTRONIC INSTRUMENT HANDLE WITH CARE EC G ES, with adhesive tape inscribed by Lee Dickson Auction (SADLY!)/Gibson Cherry Red-Cream/'64-335- #67473

Purchased by Eric Clapton in 1964, he has used this ES-335 throughout his career from The Yardbirds, with Cream, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Blind Faith, and throughout his solo career. Fellow Yardbird Chris Dreja was photographed playing Clapton's 335 more often than Clapton himself at that time. With Cream, Clapton was more frequently pictured with various Gibson Les Pauls, and the famous psychedelic Gibson SG, painted by The Fool. However, he appears to have started using this ES-335 alongside a Gibson Firebird I during Cream's farewell tour in the autumn of 1968, which culminated in two concerts at the Royal Albert Hall on November 26th, 1968. In the second concert of the day, Clapton played this ES-335 whilst he used the Firebird in the first concert. In December 1968, Clapton went on to cut Badge and other tracks with this guitar at IBC Studios in London, released later on the Goodbye album.

Clapton used this ES-335 extensively with Blind Faith in recording sessions at Morgan and Olympic Studios, and on stage during the Scandinavian and US Tours that followed. An inside cover photo of No Reason To Cry suggests that this ES-335 was present at the Shangri La Studio sessions in the spring of 1976. Clapton said in a 1989 interview that this guitar was also used on his 1989 rendition of Ray Charles' Hard Times released on the Journeyman album. According to Lee Dickson, this guitar was taken to practically all Clapton's recording sessions throughout his 25 year tenure with Clapton since 1979.

In the autumn of 1994, this Cherry Red ES-335 returned to the stage as one of the key guitars used on the Nothing But Blues Tour when Clapton played on it the Freddy King numbers Someday After A While, I'm Tore Down and Have You Ever Loved A Woman. Clapton can be seen playing this guitar at Filmore West on the 8th and 9th of November, 1994, in the footage of a documentary film of the Nothing But Blues Tour, directed by Martin Scorsese.

This ES-335 remained as a stage guitar, largely reserved for Freddy King numbers, until the summer of 1996. Again, it was captured in concert footage that year when Clapton used it on various TV shows, most notably the VH-1 Duets programme with Dr. John at Roseland, New York on the 9th May, 1996. It was used at the Prince's Trust concert in London's Hyde Park on the 29th June, 1996, subsequently released on video as Eric Clapton - Live in Hyde Park, where it features on the cover.
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Notice Regarding the Sale of Material from Endangered Species. Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country

Lot Essay

EC: I think this is the star of the show. This is the second electric guitar I bought ..I had a pinky red Telecaster, and then this. The first one, which was bought for me by my grandparents, was a Kay...with a double cutaway, that I'd seen Alexis Korner had a huge...plastic embossed headstock. It was an outrageous guitar and in a very short time it became...unplayable...I bought this brand new...either from Denmark Street or..Charing Cross Road..

KK: Was the purchase of this guitar influenced by ..Chicago Blues players?

EC:..There wasn't a [great] deal of footage or still photos or album covers that I could refer to [that showed examples of this model], and the people that I was Freddy King...played a Les that time...But I did see a...Freddy King instrumental album and he was playing one of these [on the cover]. I think it was really acceptable [to me] on every front. It was a Rock guitar, a Blues guitar...the real thing... Even in those days I may have had reservations about Fenders, in that they were solid, whereas this one's semi-acoustic..What...I love about Fenders now, I would probably have held in a little bit of contempt in those days, in that they didn't have any purfling down the side of the neck, and so on. This guitar has got all the finish you would ever want, and all...the credibility a guitar needed at that time, and the fact that Alexis Korner and I played those Kays, was [because] couldn't get [these Gibsons] in England - you didn't see them. You got copies....German guitars [like] Hagstroms, Hofner... I...went and bought [this] guitar [as soon as I saw it] with the first money I managed to save up [by] playing with the Yardbirds ... I've had it ever since. That [guitar] has been played... regularly over the years. It gets on has never really changed. It's never got old, it's never worn down. It's never lost anything...I'd play that now.

LD: The only thing that's been done to this guitar is a little fretwork...a few years ago...a little light dressing...also one volume part has been changed...[Eric] changed the machine heads [early on]...put Grovers on it...Whenever this guitar comes out...when you pull that case out...and put the guitar on the rack...crews that are helping us...they always ask to have their picture taken with the case [which has CREAM stencilled on it]...

EC: It's worked really hard...It went everywhere.

LD: It's a nice sounding guitar...It was played a lot on the Blues Tour as well. We had two 335s, a 1960s tobacco sunburst, which went in the auction last time [Lot 46 in 1999] ...They were only a couple of years apart but they were such extraordinarily different sounding guitars...
LD to EC: know one of the best things I ever heard you play on this guitar...just one of those magical moments, was with Dr. John, St. James' Infirmary, at that little place in New York [May 9th, 1996, Roseland, New York], it was one of those nights where it just was... like liquid..

KK to EC: There's a point in time when the 100 watt amp is introduced...the driving high volume, and you're playing SGs and Les [which] really lend themselves to that type of amp. But your playing this [335] also. How do you make that choice...will I take the Les Paul or this one - is it particular music?

EC: ..In those days..I was less of a collector.. I didn't have the... money or facilities ...I wasn't really sure where I was living half the time, and it would have been cumbersome to have had more than two or three guitars. So guitars like the Les Paul of this, would have been...the focus of my work for a long period of time. ...It wouldn't have [occurred to me to think]...'Oh, for this song I'll use that', I wouldn't have thought like that at all. I just was very focused on a guitar and would play that exclusively for a year, two years and ...then for some reason I'd go somewhere else...

CW: When you've come back to this guitar more recently, is there a specific reason you've had for picking it up?

EC: Nostalgia. Anything that's been that long in my life and is still functional...There aren't too many things that can command that kind of respect. There's no cars that I've had that long for instance. There's no other tools in my life that have been as long serving.

CW: Have you used it in every genesis of your career? John Mayall etc.
EC: Yes.

CW: Are there any songs that you particularly associate with this guitar?

EC: Badge...most of the Blind Faith songs.

CW: Is that when George Harrison would have given you that sticker [Hare Krishner sticker on back of the headstock] to put on, around the Badge period?

EC: Maybe...although I think it was a little later actually, Bangladesh time, around that time [George Harrison's Concert For Bangladesh August 1st, 1971]...I was using a Gibson Byrdland at Bangladesh...this also went on The Rolling Stones Circus [Rock 'N' Roll Circus, 11th December 1968] ...if you want to go into its full provenance - that was the Crossroads guitar..

MF: ...It's come in a full circle.

ES: Yes.

KK: It's amazing it's survived in this condition..


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