An impressive array of Eric Clapton Firebird photos. Mostly during mid/late 1968 during his tenure with the best band ever. Included are various shots of same guit different eras, different hairstyles and different guits. Let this be a tribute not just to the Clap, nor the great great Gibson Firebird but to all those adventurous and subsequently endowed with at least enough imagination to be more than just another Les Paul player.

clapton baker bruce live graphic

cream spectrum live image

jack bruce ginger baker 68 image

Clapton Firebird 1968 11.04-RI Auditorium

Clapton Firebird New Havan, CT from the 11th October 1968

clapton firebird photos image

cream live ec graphic

cream grande ballroom graphic

ginger baker and ec image

EC Marshall amps 1967

clapton marshall stack image

clapton firebird photos graphic

clapton snakeskin boots image

heliotricity image

ES335 Eric Clapton

Eric Claptons Cream guitars

flamenco michigan graphic

flamenco michigan image

daniel shams graphic

blinded by the sun image

clapton lookin lennon image

heliotricity graphic

Clapton FB

ginger baker jack bruce graphic

heliotricity graphic

Clapton Firebird photographs

Gibson Firebird guitars

Cream Marshall Plexi 1967

Marshall Super Lead amplifiers

best image

Marshall amps Eric Clapton

Jack Bruce and Eric Clapton

Rangemaster Beano Firebird

Clapton JTM45

Eric Clapton Beano tone

Clapton with Firebird

Clapton Gibson Firebird guitar

Cream Heavy Gauge album cover

Cream 1967 1968

The Cream live

Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce

Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker

Eric Clapton with Les Paul and Firebird

Eric Clapton Marshall plexi amps

Eric Clapton with Buddy Guy supershow 1969

Clapton looking like John Lennon

clapton cream image

Cream Firebird album cover

clapton cream graphic

Clapton with Marshall plexi full stacks

1964 Gibson Firebird I

Not Claptons, but still a nice Bird!

1964 Gibson Firebird I guitar

Interesting excerpt from Christopher Hjort’s book “Strange Brew: Eric Clapton And The British Blues Boom 1965-1970” entry for November 1st, 1968

Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA

Ron Delsner presents Cream; one show, at 8:30 pm. Although the tour has more downs than ups, Clapton will have strong memories of tonight’s gig when talking to Phil Sutcliffe nearly 40 years later. “I remember one show at the Philadelphia Spectrum…and I was playing the Gibson Firebird…and it was one of our greatest gigs ever. I was flying; no confusion, no indecision about when to stop, start, come in, go out; I wasn’t tired, I seemed to get more elevated through the evening, one of my greatest gigs ever.” The view is seconded by Jack Bruce, who later tells Tony Bacon: “The Spectrum is one of the very best gigs in America, if not the best. Philadelphia is a great rock music town. I’ve played that a few times, and it’s always been great. A rocking gig; great audience.”

Cream Live 1968 Farewell Tour Royal Albert Hall Clapton Firebird White Room
Cream Live 1968 Farewell Tour Royal Albert Hall, Clapton on the Firebird “White Room”.

Here are a few videos of Eric playing his Firebird. Everybody knows how frustratingly obnoxious the footage for this legendary Royal Albert Hall show is. They had two cameramen with top notch equipment filming an entire show of one of the greatest bands ever and 95% of the footage is a close up of Jack Bruce’s face. The footage for the songs doesn’t even match the music for large portions of the movie. I usually just close my eyes and listen because the video is too distracting and never really lines up with the music. Thought I would include it nonetheless since it is one of the rare bits of footage of Cream where Eric is on the Firebird. I will say Eric’s tone here (the whole RAH show actually) is a unique one for whatever reason, and in this clip although it is a fantastic and blistering tone it is not what I would consider normal Firebird through cranked Marshall tone. So just a heads up for anyone who goes and buys a Firebird, 100 watt Marshall plexi and wah hoping to sound like this, you will sound great but probably not like what Eric sounds like in this video.

Eric Clapton Supershow 1969 Slate 27
ERIC CLAPTON on the Firebird for a “Supershow” in 1969 which included lots of folks. Here Eric is with Roland Kirk, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Jack Bruce, Jon Hiseman, Ron Burton, Vernon Martin performing a number called “Slate 27”.

Cream Live 1968 Farewell Tour Royal Albert Hall Clapton Firebird White Room
Cream in 1968 on the Glen Campbell show performing Sunshine of your love.

A lot of people are confused about why the group doesn’t sound quite like they normally do here and it is fairly obvious to anyone who has played a Firebird through a Marshall stack that the main reason is because Eric’s amp (singular if you notice) is not on 10 like it usually is. Eric relied on the tube saturated overdrive you get when you turn amps like these ALL the way up. This phenomenon more than likely having to with some fascist on the studio set of the Glen Campbell show who forced Eric and Jack to turn down (these amps are REALLY loud after all.)

Nobody plays loud today like these guys did back then, these days everyone is trying to sound like Cream and Jimi at whisper quiet levels using all sorts of ridiculous methods: 1 watt “boutique” amps, germanium chip fuzz pedals, power scaling, variacs, attenuators, snake oil tone caps, high output pickups, and usually all at the same time while playing a Les Paul and making mediocre music.

Back to Eric, in this video with his signature sound fascistly castrated he is forced to work with a much much cleaner tone than he probably preferred around this time. However, Eric being the gifted player that he has always been goes on to play a bitchin’ and tasty “clean” solo which is way different than what he usually does when he has his usual dimed double plexi full stack sustain under him. So many guitarists use gain to cover up for mediocre playing and as soon as you take away their gain/pedals/whatnot they sound awful and start looking for excuses, and with Eric that is definitely NOT the case, he was a killer player who just preferred the wound up roar of Marshall’s during this general time period, and thankfully so, he sounded badder than bad through them.

Clapton’s Explorer and other guitars

Clapton Gibson Explorer

Clapton with his unique shaped explorer…

Clapton cut Explorer guitar

Gibson Explorer Eric Clapton

Photos of Clapton's explorer

gibson explorer graphic

clapton explorer image

Vintage Explorer Clapton cut

cream ohio 68 image

Cream Clapton Gibson Les Paul

cream royal albert hall 68

Cream, Royal Albert Hall 1968.

Other Famous Firebird players

allen collins firebird image

Allen Collins of Skynyrd was ALMOST a Firebird player.

allen collins firebird graphic

Allen Collins Gibson Firebird

Because a Reverse Firebird with a P90 isn’t really a Reverse Firebird anymore. Sorry.

gibson kalamazoo plant graphic

The skilled Kalamazoo girls at the Gibson plant who were building those beautiful birds at the time could have told you that.

Tom Petty and Cambell Gibson Firebird guitars
Tom Petty with a 76 Bicentennial bird and Mike Campbell with a vintage 60s specimen.

Paul Stanley Gibson Firebird 1 1975
Paul Stanley of Kiss with a smokin’ FB1. I read that when Kiss first was first starting out and auditioning guitarists that Ace Frehley showed up with a Firebird I and a 50 watt Marshall jmp with one of those gigantic 8×10 cabinets. You KNOW that would have been one sweet sounding rig….

def leppard steve clark firebird image

Steve Clark of Def Leppard with a sweet Bicentennial sunburst.

steve jones pistols firebird image

Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols.

bob stinson replacements firebird image

Bob Stinson of the Replacements. They were a great band, check out “Let it be” if you haven’t already.

Pat Smear of the Germs with Firebird

Pat Smear of the Germs.

jimmy zero firebird dead boys
Jimmy Zero of the Dead Boys with his medallion.

James Williamson 1974 Firebird
James Williamson in 1974 on the Stooges Raw Power tour.

keith richards with gibson firebird
Young Keith Richards with Bird

keith richards firebird image

johnny winter muddy waters graphic

I know this is ECs page but you just can’t talk about Firebirds without tipping your hat to the king of the birds. I doubt anyone will ever play better than Johnny Winter did. I want to point out also that unlike the majority of “guitar hero” types, Johnny also had a great voice. Here he is accompanying one of his heros, Muddy Waters. RIP Johnny, you were the baddest.

Johnny Winter Gibson Firebird

johnny winter razor graphic

cream san jose 68 graphic

the clap image

amiguita guitars image

Daniel Shams’ Heliotricity Reviews

“EC was pretty good I guess. At least he played something other than an LP for the majority of his career. If I see another 50+ year old white guy playing pentatonic blues on a freaking LP I think I’ll puke…”

See All Reviews