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This guitar was the main instrument for Eric Clapton's MTV Unplugged appearance, one of the pivotal moments in his career. The picture of Clapton playing this guitar which appeared on the c.d. cover for the multi-million seller Unplugged album, has became one of the most enduring images of recent music history. Clapton used it to play the acoustic version of: Layla, Before You Accuse Me and Old Love, as well as early versions of My Father's Eyes and Lonely Stranger.
The guitar first appeared on stage at the first of the Blues only seasons at the Royal Albert Hall in February/March 1993, used in the opening acoustic segments of the show for pre-war Blues covers such as Alabama Women, How Long Blues and Four Until Late. It went on to serve as Clapton's main stage acoustic guitar between 1993 and 1995, mostly used in the opening acoustic segments of the Blues concerts for numbers such as Malted Milk.
When Martin was developing its first Eric Clapton signature model 000-42EC, Eric Clapton requested that the construction of that guitar should be based on the structure of this pre-war 000-42. A Martin publicity photograph at the time shows Clapton holding this guitar in one hand, and the new signature model in the other.
Although Clapton Signature Martin guitars with built-in pickups began to be used for larger concert venues from 1996 onwards, this guitar remained as the main stage acoustic guitar through the 1997 Far Eastern Tour and the first leg of the Pilgrim US Tour in 1998.
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