Building an Eric Clapton “The Fool” Replica

 

Anyone would recognize this guitar, Eric Clapton’s famous SG ‘The Fool’ from the 60’s.

Clapton's original Fool guitar

Clapton’s original Fool guitar

There is a lot of history around this guitar. Just in short. Clapton commissioned to have one of his SG’s painted in a psychedelic way by an artist couple called ‘ The Fool’ (hence the name). These guys came from Holland and (original name was ‘De Gek’) and they did a lot of work for the Beatles in the 60’s.

Clapton used it a lot in different set-ups. He also had the neck sanded because he didn’t like the paint on the neck (the paint came off). Via George Harisson and others the guitar finally ended with Todd Rundgren who sold in 2000 for 150 000$. Now it’s owned by….

Gibson made a replica of this guitar that sold for around $5500.

Gibson's replica Fool guitar

Gibson’s replica Fool guitar

It looks quite OK although I don’t like the light blue colors that much, they are too harsh. And I don’t like the way the scratch plate is painted.

There are lots more replica’s, but none comes close. What do you think of this replica by Ed Roman?

Ed Roman's replica Fool guitar

Ed Roman’s replica Fool guitar

I think the colors are too harsh, the figure is too skinny and isn’t just convincing.
Anyway, the figure is a half-man, half-woman kind of mythical figure. So be easy on the chin….

Also this one, it all looks too childish to me:

Another replica Fool guitar

Another replica Fool guitar

Another one and then I stop:

And another replica Fool guitar

And another replica Fool guitar

Very good attempt but the colors are not lively enough, it doesn’t give the picture any depth. Also the black lining around the stars gives it a sort of cartoon feeling.

So I bought this SG kit for less then 90 euro’s, it was a kit with missing parts. I first wanted to ask my father, who paints as a hobby, to give it a psychedelic appearance just in the style as Clapton’s guitar. But later I thought, why not make an exact replica.

After studying the original and some replica attempts, I had decide upon what paint to use. I took the easiest choice, plain acrylic paint. At a local paint/DIY shop I got a set of 5 tubes of acrylic paint. Hopefully that would do the job.

The process was though. First I sanded the guitar and pained it in white primer. After sanding the primer I roughly sketched the picture with a pencil on the body. I found out that my kit was not an exact replica so I had to cheat here and there.

Fool pencil drawing on primer

Fool pencil drawing on primer

It was hard to find the original colors. Many of the pictures of the original guitar have colors that are faded and yellowish. I based myself on a video interview with Clapton and his fool on which you can see that the guitar has very bright colors.

The painting took over a year, paused once in a while. Painting was very hard because some colors didn’t really cover, I had to use a lot of layers (especially for yellow) giving all these level differences. This had to be flattened out by clear coating.

One thing I came up with was to mix colors in a . Since I had to paint a piece of surface several times with waiting times in between, mixing the correct color every time would give color differences. So I bought this box in which you can store bolts and nuts what I started to use to mix the paint. After painting I could just close it making sure that the paint left would not dry-out.

In the pictures you can see the progress.

Main colors as a basis

Main colors as a basis

Then I started to paint the main colors. I used little containers to mix the paint int. My original idea was to start with red and gradually add white to get the pink colors. But I needed to repaint every area about three times so I always needed the original colors.

After the front I had to do the back. Large pieces of yellow which was a disaster to paint. The next was neck. I decided to go for a full painted and it turned out quite well. The cover plate at the back and the scratch plate on the front were painted in less then an hour.
In the right upper corner you can see the container that I used for mixing paint.

The back and the neck

The back and the neck

Between Christmas and new year I had some time off and used it for detailing….very time consuming.

Here I also encountered the limitation of cheap acrylic paint, it’s very hard to paint details like the hair. At a certain point I liked the expression of the figure and I decided to stop.

The fine tuning - filling the details

The fine tuning – filling the details

 

Almost finished!

Almost finished!

Then hours of poly clear coating and sanding started. To keep the color fresh (especially white) I wanted to use nitro on the top, but the second layer caused crackings. I thought I ruined the whole guitar. Luckily I was able to sand it away and ended also the top layers with poly.

After sanding (again) and polishing, I ended up with a real nice guitar. It’s not perfect, the body of the faun could have a little bit ‘ fatter’ and the clear coating is not 100% perfect, but I’m a happy man.

 

Finished replica of Eric Clapton's "The Fool" guitar

Finished replica of Eric Clapton’s “The Fool” guitar

 

3 Responses to Building an Eric Clapton “The Fool” Replica

  1. Robert P. Mamarella says:

    Hay Man you did a dame good job. You should be proud of yourself. Hell I’d be proud to own it! Good luck with it and play your Heart out!

  2. Carlo Pescatori says:

    Hi Ed

    I love SGs and never quite liked Clapton’s Fool guitar; I like yours very much instead, way better looking than the original in my opinion.
    I built myself two solid bodies so I know how hard it can be. Never was brave (and good) enough to paint them other than plain colour though.

    Have fun with your creation and be proud of it!

    Carlo from Venice, Italy.

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