Is Eric Clapton overrated as a guitarist?

I think so.

He basically rode the ‘Clapton is God’ fame for a while, and his best work was his early years with the YardBirds, John Mayall, Cream, Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominoes (notice that he never stayed too long in any one group?). After that he ventured more into pop and blues-pop.

But even then he’s never really been that great creatively and technically. What’s the most technical and creative Clapton song? His limit is basically Wheels of Fire with Cream and his Robert Johnson covers.

He’s certainly no Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix completely embarrassed him in front of Cream when he sat in on a song. Clapton was shell shocked for a while after that.

As a guitarist, his blues and fusion contemporaries Rory Gallagher, Alvin Lee, Allan Holdsworth, Jeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore, Duane Allman, Michael Bloomfield, Gary Moore and Peter Green all outclassed him both technically and creatively.

Later on in his career we can see him barely keeping up with Robert Cray, being clearly outplayed by SRV, and even John Mayer showed him up in his Crossroads Festivals.

Yes he’s very very influential, but as a guitarist he’s always been a bit overrated, he’s the mainstream’s idea of a good blues guitarist but he’s never been able to really keep up with other guys in either a creative sense or technical sense. It says a lot that many of his most well known songs – ‘Cocaine’, ‘Who shot the sheriff’ and ‘Crossroads’ are all covers.

Edit: People seem to be not really reading what I wrote. I mentioned that Clapton is indeed a very influential and successful guitarist. I’m saying he’s overrated based on his creative and technical skills. NOT on his success and influence. He’s called a top 3 guitarist of all time. That I’m not so sure is warranted in terms of his actual guitar ability. Not saying anything against his influence.

For example, Let me know when Clapton has ever played something like these:


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