Where Is Eric Clapton’s Les Paul?

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Have you heard the story about Eric Clapton's guitar being stolen? It was a 1959 - 60 Gibson Les Paul Cherry Sunburst. This Les Paul was one of the first guitars Eric Clapton owned.


It happened in late 1966 in the studio that their band, Cream, was rehearsing in. At the time, Eric Clapton had just formed Cream, with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce, and were rehearsing secretly wherever they found fit. Because, at the time, each of them were still tied up with their respective bands, and so they had to do rehearsals secretly.


Apparently, Clapton left his guitar just laying around after band rehearsals, and some creep helped himself to Clapton's Les Paul, walked out and his Les Paul was gone... for good!

Eric Clapton loved that guitar. He remembers it well, long after it was gone. And he "never really found one as good as that".

The stolen Les Paul was nicknamed, Beano. It was the guitar Clapton used in his collaboration work with the Blues Breakers, in the album entitled Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton. The Les Paul was nicknamed Beano because Clapton was shown reading a Beano children's comics magazine in the album cover. Later on, fans and all would refer to Clapton's Les Paul as the "Beano Burst".


In the album Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton, Eric Clapton displays his prowess and versatility in playing blues on lead guitar. He was only 21 when they recorded the album in March 1966.


One cut from the album, a song entitled Have You Heard, shows what fireworks Eric Clapton can sizzle up on his Les Paul. Clapton "burns and bedazzles like a futuristic amalgam"of various influences in the Blues Breakers album, according to Guitar World magazine. He played his Les Paul through a distorted Marshall amp, creating his signature sound.


As if stealing Eric Clapton's Les Paul wasn't enough, it seems that the creep who stole the Beano Burst came back for more. A week later, at Klook's Kleek, the case of Clapton's stolen Les Paul Beano was also stolen.


Clapton was quoted by Record Mirror in 1966 as saying, "Whoever took the guitar must have come back for the case."  

The Beano Burst actually had distinguishing marks. It had a badly scratched back and had plenty of cigarette burns on the top (probably from putting out lit cigarettes, like you do on an ashtray). According to Eric Clapton himself, the guitar's thick leather strap had the names of Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, and Big Maceo carved underneath. These were Clapton's influences in playing the blues.


Where is Eric Clapton's Beano Burst Les Paul now???

Somewhere in the East Coast, USA. That is according to guitarist/collector Joe Bonamassa.

In a 2016 interview with Guitaristmagazine on the possible whereabouts of Clapton's stolen Les Paul, Joe Bonamassa said, "it's in a collection on the East Coast of America. That's all I can tell you, and that's all I will say."


Joe Bonamassa hasn't actually seen the recovered Beano Burst. He just has it "on good authority"that "it still exists"as he claims in the Guitarmagazine interview. Was he saying this to negotiate a price for its return? How much do you think Eric Clapton's Beano Burst would fetch today?!


Eric Clapton's Beano Burst Les Paul is considered the holy grail of blues guitars. It was the Beano that prompted Londoners to proclaim "Clapton is God" spray painted on the walls of London. And, indeed, Clapton is blues guitar deity.

"I do miss that one,"Eric Clapton said about his stolen Beano.