Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 105

Eric Clapton: Steve Proctor/Wikimedia Commons. Jimmy Page: Andrew Smith/Wikimedia Commons. Jeff Beck: Chris Hakkens/Wikimedia Commons.

3
2

Eric Clapton

The sole person inducted to the Rock and Roll
Hall of Fame three times did so only with help
from the guitar. The masses know him best for
"Tears In Heaven," from his 1991 Unplugged
album, but the VG faithful know him as the
guy who emerged in the mid 1960s with the
first version of the Yardbirds, "graduated" from
its pop leanings to undertake serious blues
with John Mayall, explored new boundaries
of rock/fusion/improvisation with Cream,
purposely receded to side man role with Blind
Faith and Delaney & Bonnie, dipped his toes
in "supergroup" waters with Derek and the
Dominos, then re-tooled for a solo career.
Fans and followers enjoy a debate over which
phase included his best playing and/or guitar
tones, but all have been supremely influential,
constantly and consistently referenced by three
generations of players who've followed.
More than any other player, EC's evolving
tastes in guitars helped shape his identity over
time. As a young man in the Yardbirds, he was
unsettled, employing a Fender's Telecaster and
Jazzmaster models, a Gibson ES-335, and a
Gretsch 6120. With Mayall, he was loyal to a
1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard. In Cream, he
played the Standard until it was stolen, then
switched to the famous SG "Fool" followed
by a Firebird and the 335. By late '69, he was
dabbling with Stratocasters, and the following
year used parts from a handful of them to create
Blackie and Brownie - primary instruments
through his early solo years. The '80s saw him
adopt modern versions (with Fender offering a signature model beginning in '88), his
acoustic work in the early '90s involved mostly
a Martin 000 (from which Martin also derived
a signature model), and for his blues-revival
period of the mid '90s employed many guitars,
most notably two vintage 335s.

Jimmy Page

I

nspired by Elvis Presley records and the
guitar licks of Scotty
Moore and James Burton,
he joined neighborhood
kids playing skiffle before
being recruited (at age
15) by singer Neil Chris-

tian to join his band, the
Crusaders. Recurring
mononucleosis forced
him away from touring,
so he enrolled in art
school. While a student,
he frequented London's
Marquee Club, guitar

in-hand, where jams led
to extensive session work
for Decca, Columbia, and
Immediate Records. For
years, he played as many
as 15 sessions per week
and contributed to songs
by The Who, John Mayall,
The Kinks, Jet Harris,
Nico, Jackie DeShannon,
and many others; lore surrounding his work at the
time goes that he played
on at least half of the pop
songs released in the U.K.
from 1963 to '65, some
say perhaps 90 percent.
In 1966, Page jumped
aboard the Yardbirds
after the departure of
Paul Samwell-Smith, and
guided its drift to a heavyblues sound, after which it
dissolved and he gathered
the players that would
become Led Zeppelin.
In that band, Page
helped craft the era's
most popular hard rock,
along the way devising
several of its most influential licks, songs, solos, and
albums. His style, influenced by American blues
and folk, led to Zeppelin
creating a catalog that
mixed those forms and
influenced players ranging
from Johnny Ramone to
Brian May to Steve Vai.

Almost as famously, Clapton has sold many
of his best-known guitars to raise millions of
dollars for the Crossroads Center rehabilitation facility.

4

Jeff Beck

From his first days with guitar in-hand,
Jeff Beck began to mold an unparalleled style.
Influenced by Les Paul's "How High the Moon,"
along with Steve Cropper on Stax songs, Cliff
Gallup with Gene Vincent, Chet Atkins, and
B.B. King, he immediately displayed a penchant
for playing a variety of styles - and restlessness,
as he rolled through several bands including
the Yardbirds.
Beck's 1971 Jeff Beck Group album, Rough
and Ready, featured six (of its seven) songs
written or co-written by Beck. The album

December 2016

105

VINTAGE GUITAR


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open

Contents
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - IFC
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 1
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 2
Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - 3
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Vintage Guitar - December 2016 - Open - Contents
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