Eric Clapton / George Harrison C.F. Martin & Co. 196, 00-21
Courtesy of Guitar Center, Inc.
C.F. Martin is the world’s oldest guitar maker, with a history dating back to 1833. During the course of six generations of Martin family leadership, the Martin company has contributed many innovative designs to the acoustic guitar genre. Most notably the “X” style bracing which strengthens the top of the guitar without adding significant weight, the 14 fret neck, and the “Dreadnought” body design which has since become the definitive acoustic guitar body style. First introduced in 1869 as the Style 21, the Martin 00-21 features Brazilian rosewood back, sides and fingerboard, with a mahogany neck and spruce top.
This particular example dates from 1966 and was originally owned by George Harrison, legendary guitarist with The Beatles, who played it at his home in Henley-on-Thames, England. The colorful “OM” sticker on the case was added by George, and is symbolic of the “OM” mantra used in meditation. This symbol is repeated in a guitar pick included with the guitar as well as the label tied to the case handle.
After 10 years in his ownership, George gave the instrument to Eric Clapton - his best friend. Eric subsequently included the guitar at the Crossroads Guitar Auction, where it was purchased by Guitar Center. All proceeds from the auction were for the benefit of the Crossroads Centre, an international centre of excellence for the treatment of addictive disorders, founded by Eric Clapton in 1998.
This wonderful guitar is not only a fine musical instrument in its own right, but also symbolizes the friendship and character of two of rock music’s greatest ambassadors.