How to Sound Like Eric Clapton

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Tips on Getting Clapton's Guitar Tone

Eric Clapton
Azimo

Over the course of his career, Eric Clapton created several guitar sounds that guitarists have ever since tried to recreate.

The following article outlines the equipment Clapton used for each of these guitar tones, as well as individual settings whenever that information is available. Often, after some trial and error, you should be able to get close to replicating each of the following Clapton guitar tones with your own equipment.

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Eric Clapton's "Woman Tone"

Eric Clapton On Stage With Cream
Eric Clapton performing on stage with Cream during their first live appearance at the Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival in Berkshire, England on July 31 1966. Michael Putland / Getty Images

Where You Hear Clapton's "Woman Tone": solo to "Sunshine of Your Love" (listen to MP3) or on "I Feel Free". Clapton used this sound extensively on Cream recordings.

Guitar Used to Achieve "Woman Tone": Clapton used different guitars over the years to achieve this tone, although he apparently used a Les Paul Black Beauty to create this sound on ​Disraeli Gears.

Guitar Settings Used For "Woman Tone": Humbucking pickup with the volume on full, and the tone rolled all the way off.

Amp Used to Achieve "Woman Tone": Marshall 50W tube amp head. Marshall 4x12 speaker cabinet with 12" Celestion Greenback 25-watt speakers.

Amp Settings Used For "Woman Tone": Volume, bass, midrange, and treble all at 10.

Effects Used to Achieve "Woman Tone": Clapton sometimes used a wah-wah pedal with the pedal left almost entirely in the back (heel) position. A wah-wah is not essential to creating the sound, however.

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Eric Clapton's Blues Breakers Tone

Blue Breakers album cover

Where You Hear Clapton's Blues Breakers Tone: Clapton's 1966 guest appearance on the John Mayall's album Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton. Listen to the tone in Clapton's solo on "Hideaway" (listen to MP3)

Guitar Used to Achieve Blues Breakers tone: 1959 Les Paul Standard

Guitar Settings Used For Blues Breakers tone: Volume up, tone rolled off.

Amp Used to Achieve Blues Breakers tone: Marshall Model 1962 Combo

Effects Used to Achieve Blues Breakers tone: Some reports suggest that Clapton used the Dallas Rangemaster (a treble booster) for this session.