The well-known guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen joined an interview with Guitar World and talked about the ongoing misunderstanding issue between him and Eric Clapton
As you may know, Fender has released various signature Stratocaster guitars for several artists. Those guitars feature specific specs which suit the artists’ needs and guitar playing styles. They are also purchasable for the fans who want to own a unique Strat that has a touch of their favorite musicians.
Both Yngwie Malmsteen and Eric Clapton are successful guitarists who made a name for themselves in the music industry. It is no surprise that Fender honored them with their own signature Fender Stratocasters. However, there is a long-standing dispute between the two on who was the first to be associated with a Fender signature guitar.
According to most sources, Eric Clapton was the first to receive a Fender signature Stratocaster. On the other hand, other sources cite Malmsteen as the first person Fender approached to discuss producing a signature guitar model. Both Clapton and Malmsteen models were released in the late 1980s, so there has been an endless dispute on who was the first.
In an interview by Guitar World, Yngwie Malmsteen argued that he was the first one to ever get a free guitar from Fender as well as the first one to get a signature model. In his statement, he also mentioned Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton and said Fender didn’t give guitars to them before him. Moreover, the guitarist stated he was quite honored by the company’s rare act.
Yngwie Malmsteen told Guitar World that:
“When I became well known, every company in the world – Gibson, you name it – said, ‘Whatever guitar you want, we’ll make it for you.’ I told them, ‘No, thanks. I’d rather pay for a Fender Strat.’
Up to that point, Fender never gave a guitar to anybody for free. They didn’t give guitars to Beck, Clapton… it was like, you fucking buy it yourself. So, one, I was the first guy to ever get a guitar free from Fender, and two, I was the first guy to get a signature model. I was very honored by that, actually. So my being stubborn paid off.”
Consequently, both guitarists received signature Fender guitars from the company back in 1988. Although Eric Clapton is cited as the first one to have his own signature Stratocaster, it seems Yngwie Malmsteen thinks otherwise.