About two months ago, Eric Clapton grabbed the headlines by saying “maybe the guitar is over.” In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the legend shared a bit of a different stance, dubbing the six-string “still the most flexible instrument.” He said:
“This is funny [that you’re asking me whether guitar still has a future as an expressive force], because I’ve had a conversation about this phenomenon just a while ago.
“In the last few months, I’ve been talking to a guy who doesn’t know where to go next. It was a conversation with a young musician who contacted me through some friends.
“I could see that he was genuine and I was interested in what he had to offer. Finally we had lunch and he said, ‘Do you want to listen to something?’ It was esoteric and abstract, and I thought, ‘Where would this go?’
“I wanted the guy to be taken somewhere. I could hear that he was in his own head too much, and that can be a cul de sac. There is always something to listen to, to aspire to, with the guitar.
“It is still the most flexible instrument. You can improvise on it. You have such freedom. I don’t think there is a limit to it.
“Anyone who talks about it [the guitar as a spent force] should listen to Roebuck Staples [founding guitarist of the Staples Singers].
“It is so moving. And that’s in the past. So it’s not about what’s to be. It’s already there. If you can get in touch with that, you can do anything.”