Why Is Eric Clapton Called Slow Hand?

Eric Clapton is a legendary guitarist known for his soulful bluesy style and his ability to make his guitar “sing”. One of his most well-known nicknames is “Slow Hand”, but why exactly is he called that? In this article, we will explore the origins of this nickname.

Early Career

Eric Clapton began his musical career in the 1960s, playing with several bands, including the Yardbirds and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. During this time, he gained a reputation as a talented guitarist, known for his ability to play with precision and control. However, it wasn’t until he joined the band Cream that he truly began to earn the nickname “Slow Hand”.

The Origin of the Nickname

The origin of the nickname “Slow Hand” can be traced back to a Cream concert in 1967. During a performance of the song “Crossroads”, Clapton’s guitar string broke. While he replaced the string, the audience began to clap in rhythm to the song. When Clapton returned to playing, he played a slower, more deliberate solo that drew cheers from the crowd. This solo became known as the “slow hand” solo, and the nickname stuck.

Clapton himself has said that the nickname was also a nod to his tendency to play slowly and thoughtfully, rather than relying on flashy techniques or speed. He once said in an interview, “My nickname of ‘Slowhand’ came from Giorgio Gomelsky. He coined it as a good pun. He kept saying I was a fast player, so he put together the slow handclap phrase into ‘Slowhand’ as a play on words.”

Later Career

After Cream disbanded, Clapton continued to have a successful career as a solo artist and as a member of several other bands, including Derek and the Dominos and Blind Faith. During this time, he continued to play with his signature style, characterized by soulful, emotive playing and a focus on melody rather than technical skill.


Eric Clapton’s nickname of “Slow Hand” has become synonymous with his guitar playing style and has helped to cement his status as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. His ability to convey emotion through his playing, and his focus on simplicity and melody rather than speed and flash, has inspired countless musicians and fans.


Eric Clapton’s nickname of “Slow Hand” originated from a concert in which he played a slow and deliberate solo after replacing a broken guitar string. The nickname stuck, and Clapton’s deliberate playing style has become synonymous with his name. His influence on music and guitar playing cannot be overstated, and his legacy as one of the greatest guitarists of all time is secure.

Was this article helpful?