February 6, 2013
Eric Clapton, Guitar Center, Fender, Gibson and Martin Guitar partnered to create a guitar collection aimed at affluent consumers that will benefit the musician's treatment facility through sales and is priced at $15,000-$50,000.
The Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Collection comprises five limited-edition guitars that each signify points in his career. The guitars will release Mar. 21 exclusively at Guitar Center locations in North America and on its Web site and will eventually be available worldwide.
“When Clapton decided to launch another Crossroads Guitar Festival to benefit his Crossroads Centre, he also wanted to create some limited-edition products, true to his legacy,” said Michael Doyle, vice president of guitars at Guitar Center, New York.
“Clapton then approached Guitar Center to collaborate on, and to become the retail partner, behind a collection of guitars from the brands he is most associated with – Fender, Gibson and Martin,” he said.
Guitar Center decided to partner with the musician since it has co-sponsored four of his Crossroads Guitar Festivals and a longtime supporter of the Crossroads Centre charity.
Mr. Clapton’s Crossroads Centre, Antigua, provides treatment and education to chemically-dependent persons. Treatment is offered through residential care, family and aftercare programs.
Some of the proceeds from the sale of the Crossroads Guitar Collection guitars will be donated to the treatment center.
The models in the collection are a Fender Custom Shop Eric Clapton “Brownie” Tribute Stratocaster guitar for $14,999, Gibson Harrison-Clapton “Lucy” Les Paul for $14,999, Eric Clapton Signature Martin 000-28 for $5,999 and two Eric Clapton Signature Martin 000-45 models for $12,999 and $49,999.
The collection also includes Eric Clapton “Crossroads” guitar straps by musician and inventor Ernie Ball.
The Brownie, also known as the “Layla Stratocaster,” was the first Strat purchased by Mr. Clapton in May 1967. The original model was sold for $497,500 to the Experience Music Project at his first guitar auction in June 1999.
Mr. Clapton, Guitar Center, Experience Music Project and Fender’s Custom Shop began to create the Brownie replica in summer 2012.
There are 50 Brownie replicas available for purchase in the United States and 50 available worldwide.
Eric Clapton playing Brownie
The next model in the collection is the Gibson Harrison-Clapton “Lucy” Les Paul. The original guitar was gifted to Beatles guitarist George Harrison and played by Mr. Clapton on the Beatles song, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”
The guitar is currently owned by the Harrison estate, but was examined by Gibson Custom in 2012 for the collection replica. There will be 100 replicas available for purchase - 50 in the U.S. and 50 available worldwide.
Eric Clapton Playing Lucy
The remaining guitars in the collection are the Martin Eric Clapton “Crossroads” Signature Guitars. These include the Martin 000-28EC “Crossroads” Madagascar Rosewood, Martin 000-45EC “Crossroads” Madagascar Rosewood and Martin 000-45EC “Crossroads” Brazilian Rosewood.
Mr. Clapton worked with Martin Guitar to replicate the instruments that are made to his personal specifications.
There are 75 of the 000-28EC Madagascar Rosewood models available in the U.S. and 75 worldwide. Also, there are 30 000-45EC Madagascar Rosewood models available in the U.S. and 55 worldwide.
There will be 12 of the 000-45EC Brazilian Rosewood models available in the U.S. and 18 worldwide.
Guitar Center will market the Eric Clapton Crossroads Collection to the target audience of affluent music-lovers via multiple channels.
The collection will be featured in the Guitar Center Buyers Guide that is mailed to 600,000 consumers. It will feature Mr. Clapton on the cover and a feature on the collection inside.
There will also be a Crossroads Tour marketing program that involves partners Fender, Gibson and Martin.
In addition, a section of Guitar Center’s Web site that can be reached via www.guitarcenter.com/clapton showcases the collection.
The guitar retailer is also in the midst of a publicity campaign to target influential luxury, lifestyle, entertainment and music outlets.
There is a social media push as well.
One of the social elements is a video series of exclusive interviews with Eric Clapton speaking about the Crossroads Collection.
“The primary goal of creating the Eric Clapton Crossroads Collection is to raise funds for the Eric Clapton Crossroads Centre in Antigua, which is a rehabilitation facility, and a significant portion of the proceeds from the sale of these instruments will go to benefit the Crossroads Centre,” Mr. Doyle said.
Tricia Carr, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York