I'm curious to know the story behind Eric Clapton's nickname "Slow Hand". It doesn't seem like his style is very slow to my ears. Anybody know the story?

  • 1
    He was never a super fast player, fast doesn't necessarily equal great, but Slow Hand Clap is part to blame.
    – Tim
    Dec 25, 2020 at 15:54

1 Answer 1


I've found a bunch of different sources that say that he got the nickname Slow Hand in early 1964 from The Yardbirds’ manager, Giorgio Gomelsky, because, according to Clapton's 2007 book Clapton - The Autobiography:

On my guitar I used light-gauge guitar strings, with a very thin first string, which made it easier to bend the notes, and it was not uncommon during the most frenetic bits of playing for me to break at least one string. During the pause, while I was changing my string, the frenzied audience would often break into a slow handclap, inspiring Giorgio to dream up the nickname of "Slowhand" Clapton.

I don't have the book itself to confirm the text, but it's quoted enough times in those and other sources that I'd wager this is actually from his autobiography.

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