A new in-depth look at Eric Clapton in the '60s, '70s and '80s – only in the new Guitar World

february 2024
(Image credit: Future)

Yes, eagle-eyed readers, you guessed it: This month, Guitar World is traveling through the mists of time to explore the first three decades of Eric Clapton's storied career.

It turns out Clapton hasn't been featured on a GW cover since I interviewed him in 2016 – yet, 60-ish years after joining the Yardbirds, Slowhand is still generating headlines.

His latest Crossroads Guitar Festival was one of the biggest guitar events of 2023, and in November, his famed Cream-era 1964 Gibson SG Standard – better known as “The Fool” – sold for $1.27 million. That makes it not only the most expensive Clapton guitar ever sold at auction (remember that Blackie sold for a tidy sum a few years ago), but also one of the most expensive guitars sold at auction – ever.

Our E.C. coverage looks a bit like this...

THE SIXTIES: How Eric Clapton literally invented the modern electric guitar sound, helped create what just might be the first-ever "rock" album and forever changed how we all play electric guitar. [By David Sinclair]

THE SEVENTIES: GW marches, album by album – including the sometimes-forgotten stuff like There's One in Every Crowd and No Reason to Cry – through Clapton's most misunderstood decade. This one includes "interlude" interviews with Chuck Kirkpatrick, Albhy Galuten and Danny Flowers. [By Bill DeMain]

THE EIGHTIES: How Clapton boarded a train with Another Ticket and disembarked eight years later as a fully-fledged Journeyman! Featuring interviews with Steve Lukather (who played on Behind the Sun), Phil Palmer (who played on Journeyman) and Albert Lee, who was a vital part of Clapton's band in the pre-Behind the Sun era. [By Andrew Daly]

Meanwhile, legendary producer/engineer Eddie Kramer discusses the recording of Derek and the Dominos' only official live album, In Concert, Chris Gill tells the story of Blackie, Clapton's main Strat through 1985, Jeff Perrin transcribes Clapton's Bad Love, and we also hear from Peter Frampton, Joe Bonamassa and Martin Barre.

This issue – aka the devilishly good-looking February 2024 issue of Guitar World – is available right here, right now.

February 2024

(Image credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images)

This issue also features...

* Jazz great George Benson discusses the influence of Eric Clapton, the time he met Hendrix, how Frampton changed the course of his career and what Paul McCartney made of his Beatles tribute.

* Joe Bonamassa talks turn-of-the-century career struggles, the lean-and-mean blues-covers album that changed his fate in 2003 – and its big-budget 2023 sequel, Blues Deluxe Vol. 2

* Activity guitarist and Trap Door Electronics head honcho Travis Johnson thrives in that hard-to-find world where electronics and synths peacefully coexist with heavily effected guitars.

We have new interviews with founding Stiff Little Fingers guitarist Jake Burns (who discusses 1979’s Inflammable Material), plus former Autograph great Steve Lynch, U.K. upstarts Squid, Nashville studio legend Brent Mason, Sonia Anubis, Yvette Young and DieHumane’s Rick Hunolt.

Meanwhile, longtime GW columnist Joe Bonamassa discusses the finer points of his 1962/63 Gibson Les Paul/SG with Bigsby, Andy Aledort shows you more about how to emulate vocals on guitar, Josh Smith explains how to use repetition as a phrasing device and Andy Timmons shows you how to play Ghost of You.

This month's transcriptions are Clapton's Bad Love, I Want My Crown by Eric Gales (with Joe Bonamassa) and Jailbait by Thin Lizzy.

We have reviews of the Fender Highway Series Dreadnought and Parlor models, the UAFX OX Stomp Dynamic Speaker Emulator, the Jackson American Series Virtuoso, the Eventide Riptide and the Donner HUSH-X solidbody guitar.

In Power Tools, Chris Gill explores the history and mystery of the Gretsch 6120 Chet Atkins/Nashville model.

You can buy new issues of Guitar World at Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Hudson News, Books a Million and other stores – and online from Magazines Direct. And, while you're at it, why not save on every issue by subscribing?

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.