I spent some time recently in an airport listening to a bunch of idiots talking about guitars.
Now, as a musician, you just kinda hear “familiar words in the distance” and then you home in on the conversation.
The debate (over beers in the VIP lounge) was as to whether or not a Fender Eric Clapton Brownie Tribute Stratocaster was worth selling a Custom Harley to acquire.
Apparently one of the participants of the conversation stumbled onto a guy who’d bought one and the guy was looking to flip it for a big profit.
I never understood paying thousands of dollars for a COPY of a classic guitar. It just doesn’t make any sense.
Speaking strictly about guitars and not artist/rock gawds… I understand the “bond” we get from seeing that same iconic axe over and over again singing to our souls, but…
… let’s be real, huh?
First, it’s a very expensive COPY. Different body wood (different trees, grown in different conditions), different neck (same “difference” thing) wood, different electronics reassembled and all trying to work together to be “similar”.
Any luthier worth a crap will tell you that you really NEVER know what a custom guitar is going to sound like until you assemble and string it. I guarantee you that ALL of those expensive copies sound a little bit different and very few of them, if any at all, actually sound like “Brownie”.
I’d rather find that same guitar (a real one) or something real close and then tweak it a bit, rather than spend thousands on a fake with 40 hours of “aging” thrown in ala dremel.
You want a “relic’d” guitar? Buy a new one and then PLAY it. Go earn your scars, like the rest of us. Having a beat to hell guitar, fresh out of a Custom Shop case doesn’t make you a guitarist… it makes you a collector of a copy of an incredible piece of Rock History. I doubt very seriously that out of the hundred of these axes that were built, more than ten are actually being played.
And let’s not forget that you’re going to be substantially poorer – tens of thousands of dollars poorer after you pay for your “Brownie”.
But even more than that, should you decide to play that beautiful copy… how in the world do you make a guitar like that your own?
While it’s quite playable, these aren’t guitars that you PLAY. These are guitars aimed at collectors who will hang them on the wall under very expensive lighting.
You want to get into that tone range? Save your money and then get one of Fender’s Master Builders to build you “the axe of a lifetime”. You’ll get killer tone and you’ll save thousands of dollars.
I have a modded ’57RI MIJ Sunburst Strat that I travel with that looks and sounds pretty damned close to the tones that we all love about Eric’s “Brownie”. The difference?
About $13,500.00 US.
And unless you can inject yourself with Clapton’s soul and cut off his fingers and graft them onto your hands, you’re NEVER going to sound like him.
“Excuse me, do you have any Grey Poupon?”
Gimme a break.