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Cliff Eberhardt

Singer-Songwriter Q&A

Photo credit: Peter Granata

How old were you when you started playing guitar?

I was five when I started playing the guitar.

What was your first guitar? Did you buy it yourself? Do you still have it?

My first guitar was my father’s Harmony, I still have it.

Did your parents or grandparents play any instruments? If so, what did they play? Did you ever get a chance to play with them?

My mother played piano, and my father played guitar. We sang together often.

What are the guitars that you play? Do you have a favorite? If so, why is it your favorite?

I have an O Martin D18, a Granata hand made guitar, a Fender Strat, Fender Bass, Guild 12 string, Tacoma Papoose, an Aiersi steel guitar and a Gretsch dobro. The Martin is my favorite, it’s a real small body with a big sound.

Photo credit: Jackie Damsky

What strings do you use (brands and gauges)? How often do you change your strings?

Elixir Nanoweb phosphor bronze I change them about every four months unless I’m doing a tour, then once a week.

Do you use a pick? If so, what brand and thickness?

A Dunlop 1 mm.

Do you use any effect pedals? If so, what are your favorites?

I use a Zoom AC 3 and a Dyna Comp for my slide guitars.

Do you work on your own guitars or do you bring them to a guitar tech? Are there any guitar techs that you would like to recommend?

I take my guitar to my local guitar store, Downtown Sounds. They have a good guitar tech.

Do you have a favorite guitar shop? What makes it a good shop?

Fretted Instruments in Amherst MA. A lot of cool vintage guitars.

What is your songwriting process? Is it the music or the lyrics that usually come to you first? Do you write old school on paper, or electronically?

I try to write both the melodies and the lyrics at the same time, unless I’m writing for plays, then I write the lyrics first. I write on paper then I edit on my iPad.

Who are the top three musicians or bands that have had a major influence on you?

I’d say Tin Pan Alley and Broadway musicals.

If you could jam with one person, living or dead, who would it be?

I played with Dylan a couple of times, I’d do that again in a heartbeat.

What was the first concert you attended? What was the last concert you attended?

Eric Andersen and Chris Smither when I was 14. My last concert I attended was Tom Paxton Wednesday night.

The Beatles or the Stones?


What has been the highlight of your musical career so far?

Having a songbook released by Hal Leonard.

What has been your worst gig so far and why? (You don’t have to name names).

Opening for Huey Lewis. I was good and had things thrown at me.

What are some of the venues you enjoy performing at the most? What things make the venue enjoyable for the performer (location, equipment, setup, organizers)?

Godfrey Daniel's, Passim’s, Stone Mountain, Sellersville Theater, Turning Point and The Towne Crier. It’s because the promoters care about the performers.

How do you work out your setlist?

From years of working with record companies determining the list of the songs on my records.

Is there any advice you wish someone had given you when you were first starting out in the music business?

That as an artist, you are a commodity.

If you weren’t a singer-songwriter, what would you be doing for work?

I have no idea what I’d be doing. I never had a plan B.

Please list some of your upcoming shows, plug your music and provide links to your merchandise.

Dec. 3rd ACMA Fort Myers FL.

Dec. 4th Craftsman House Gallery St. Petersburg FL.

Dec. 8th Natalie’s Grandview Music Columbus Oh


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