The Turnaround: Joe Bonamassa
Surely the biggest name in 21st century electric blues, learn a few lines from the master, with tips on technique and phrasing
Starting on guitar at the tender age of four, Joe had a head start on many of his peers, compounded by the fact that he was taught by the great Danny Gatton at just 11. Musically, Joe’s first love is British blues in the mould of Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck – also absorbing the styles of Jimmy Page and Paul Kossoff. The rockier, riff-based sound of the latter two players has been a major influence on Joe’s songwriting and is represented in a couple of the examples here. Though honoured with a bewildering range of signature guitars and the owner of what must surely be one of the most comprehensive collections of vintage guitars and amps out there, Joe’s rig is pretty simple. All you’ll need is a distorted tone (via pedals, or a cranked amp is fine) and a humbucke requipped guitar to reflect Joe’s affinity for vintage Gibson Les Pauls. That said, Joe doesn’t play Gibsons exclusively – you’ll see him with Strats and Teles too on occasion. If you’re using a Fender-style guitar with single-coil pickups, you can fatten their tone with a little extra bass and midrange. Some added gain can help with lower powered pickups too. A touch of reverb will also sound great.