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In 1963 Clapton left his band The Roosters to join The Yardbirds, they took over from The Rolling Stones sunday night residency at The Crawdaddy Club in Richmond. In 1965 Clapton joined John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers. Clapton was outstanding as a blues guitarist and had perfected the art of feedback assisted sustain and the overdriven valve amp sound of Marshall amplifiers. An unwound 3rd string (G string) was not made at this time so Clapton made his own by using a banjo string, this assisted with the guitars range, soloing and string bending. Listen to the album 'Bluebreakers: John Mayall With Eric Clapton' which was recorded live at Klooks Kleek Club in West Hampstead, London for an example. In 1966 after leaving The Bluesbreakers, Clapton joined Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker to form Cream. Cream combined jazz, blues, classical and rock, with lyrics which were hard to put into any category.
Clapton initially used Gibson guitars and with their distinct humbucking pickups, the Les Paul was perfectly suited for blues guitar playing. In 1968 after hearing 'The Bands, Music From The Big Pink' album, he liked the sound of Robbie Robertson's guitar and changed to using Fender Stratocaster and Telecaster guitars. Clapton also has acoustic guitars including a wood body Dobro, a custom Tony Zemaitis twelve string and a Martin D-28 fitted with a Barcus Berry Hot Dot. For amplification Clapton has used a Music Man HD-130 Reverb amp with open back cabinets and Leslie rotating speaker.
Clapton remains one of the true blues guitar legends well into the 2000's.