The Turnaround: Joe Bona­massa

With a new al­bum Signs out now, we thought we’d check out the Dakota-born blues ace’s fiery play­ing style

Total Guitar - - CONTENTS -

Jonny took up gui­tar at the age of 12, with an in­ter­est in blues as well as more con­tem­po­rary pop styles. Though this can be heard in his mu­sic, it’s clear that the blues is what in­forms his elec­tric lead play­ing most pro­foundly. His phras­ing is some­times quirky, of­ten play­ing along a string, rather than stay­ing within more tra­di­tional pen­ta­tonic shapes – though he does, of course, use these too. Jonny is a fine rhythm player, but as a singer, he of­ten uses his gui­tar skills to play ‘an­swer­ing’ phrases to vo­cal lines and, of course, the oc­ca­sional solo. He em­ploys a va­ri­ety of Gib­son and Fen­der gui­tars – with a par­tic­u­lar fond­ness for the Tele­caster, but any type of elec­tric will work for our les­son. These ex­am­ples high­light Jonny’s use of both a tra­di­tional smooth over­drive and a jagged Hen­drix-style fuzz, though the play­ing style re­mains the same, whichever sound or style of gui­tar you use. Though all the ex­am­ples are faith­fully tran­scribed, you may want to ‘push and pull’ the tim­ing a lit­tle. That is to say; don’t be too pre­cise. In­stead, try pulling back and play­ing some of the phrases ever so slightly be­hind the beat. This is a very ef­fec­tive blues lead trick, though like all things, don’t overdo it!

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