I was 17 in 1967. My friend Dave Carpender, later guitarist for The Greg Kihn Band, turned me on to John Mayall’s Beano album. Clapton was just ridiculous on that record. Cream was fantastic. I love their first album Fresh Cream.

Clapton’s Sunburst was stolen, and he got his iconic SG painted by “The Fool,” some Dutch hippie artists.

Fast forward to the early ‘80s. I am at Todd Rundgren’s home studio in upstate New York, delivering a Fairchild 670. I’m waiting by myself in the studio for the engineer to show up. Leaning against an amp is Clapton’s SG, now owned by Todd.

Of course, I cannot resist inspecting and playing it. And this is what I find:


  • It’s a ’65-‘67 SG, which features the very unpopular 1-9/16” wide nut. Basically, it’s a piece of dreck the day it came from Gibson.
  • The paint job just sucks: looks like a 5th grader did it.
  • It plays like crap; totally unacceptable truss rod adjustment and ultrahigh action.


I was shocked; so much for that icon … it later got sold for an obscene amount. I certainly hope the new owner changed the strings!