Hi! This is Dan Courtenay for About.com. We're here at Chelsea Guitars here in Manhattan and what we're talking about is 'How does Eric Clapton get his tone?'Personally, I think the greatest guitar tone and my whole business is predicated on this is the sound he got with Cream. Specifically using a guitar like this: a Gibson 335 through a Marshall. Before Eric, people played Les Pauls and Gibsons and Marshall Amplifiers, but no one put them together like that. Nobody was able to play with such expressiveness and such a melodic sense.His sound, and I hate to this but - 90% of it is his hands and Eric Clapton. To me you don't want to just listen to Eric, you want to listen to the guys that Eric listened to: so you want to listen to Albert King, and Freddy King especially and B.B. King... you want to listen to the guys that he listened to. Those guys played little amps and because they were playing in a loud room with people screaming and yelling and dancing, they put them on '10' and when they played the guitar distorted. Now here Eric has this powerful amplifier, much more powerful than the blues guys had.He started using volume and he started using it in a very specific way: speakers were distorting. Now the whole point of this is that Eric wanted them to distort, he wanted that sound because he was emulating the blues guys in America. He learned that playing really loud he could get sustain.Now I'm not really loud right now, but it will give you an idea if I just bend a note. So the way Eric gets his tone is he usually plays through the back pickup: so this switch here throws me into the back pickup and that's the lead tone that sounds sort of like this - say for 'Crossroads'. He does something really cool and he's become famous for it and it's called the 'Woman' tone. So he puts the guitar pickups in the center. Now if you look down here you'll see Volume, Tone - for the front - Volume, Tone. So what he does is lower the Tone control of let's say the first one, down to '3.' The other one maybe down to '7'. Each guitar is different so it's a little difficult to say, but the sound becomes very 'boopy'. So it has no high end on it at all but it's really (plays)... And it's a really unique sound - it's in 'Sunshine of Your Love', the song 'Sunshine of Your Love'... (plays).That's just a little information about Eric Clapton's sound and if you'd like to get some more you can reference this URL on About.com.
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