American blues-rock guitarist who is considered as one of the best guitarists of all time, Joe Bonamassa, was recently interviewed by Gibson TV’s ‘The Collection: Joe Bonamassa Nerdville East’ and talked about his passion for collecting guitars for almost half-decade.
After showcasing his huge guitar collection to Gibson TV host Mark Agnesi, he talked about how the ‘Nerdville East’ collection came together and the untold stories behind some of his astonishing guitars that live there.
After sharing the story of his iconic ‘1959 Gibson Les Paul,’ Joe also shared the story of how his guitar collecting journey has begun. According to Joe, buying his first wah-wah pedal in 1971 was the beginning of the collection of instruments and after that day, he has chosen to spend every single penny he had on musical instruments.
Here is what Joe told about his ‘1959 ‘Lorelei’ Gibson Les Paul’ in his interview:
“This used to belong to Craig Chaquico in Jefferson Starship – this was the guitar he had when they were making all the hits they had in the late ’70s.
There was an incident, in Germany, in 1978 – there was some unpleasantness at a concert at the Lorelei Amphitheater, which I’ve played in Lorelai, Germany, which is out in the country.
The guitar got taken, just disappeared into the German ether, passed around among collectors and people. Somebody must’ve known what it was. It then resurfaced about 20 years later, and a friend of mine bought it.
And then there were some disputes about provenance; finally, they worked it out, and I have a damn file cabinet full of legalese that says it’s got a clean title. It does have a clean title, everybody’s happy.”
Joe Bonamassa revealed the story of his collection:
“When I got my first communion money, it was like $200, and I bought a Crybaby wah-wah pedal, and the first real old guitar that I got was a 1971 Candy Apple Strat from Big Apple Music in New Hartford, New York.
My father found it on his way home from work, I think it was $175 or $275. To my parents, who were working-class, middle-class – that was all the money in the world.
But my dad had a little, he pulled away some money and he bought it for me because he knew I wanted this thing. It had a big headstock, it said Fender with that old logo. I said, ‘Yeah, this is cool.’ I still have the husk of that guitar today, and it’s the one that B.B. [King] signed when I first met him.”
“It doesn’t detract from the fact that it’s a beautiful ’59 Les Paul, that has a very cool rock ‘n’ roll provenance, and I’ve had this guitar for a little bit – its serial number 92180, and you notice some of these things turn brown on the back – this is pretty bleached out, this is not a Sunburst Les Paul.
It looks gold, on-stage it looks gold, but it’s originally a Sunburst. But it’s a great guitar, and it sounds really cool, and I like it for certain things. I like it for a song called ‘Sloe Gin,’ I was playing ‘Sloe Gin’ on it for about a year.”
And here is the list of Joe Bonamassa’s guitar collection:
1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard “Lazarus”
1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard “Johnny B”
1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard “Ragin’ Cajun”
1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard “Lorelei”
1963 Gibson EB-6
1972 Gibson ES-355TDC
1953 Gibson J-200 “Walter”
1961 Gibson ES-335TDC
1963 Gibson ES-335TDC
1952 Fender Telecaster “Terry Reid”
1977 Zemaitis Solidbody
1969 Grammer Johnny Cash Model
1952 Fender Telecaster
1955 Fender Stratocaster Hardtail
1966 Fender Precision Bass Slab Body
1963 Gibson SG Special
1958 Gibson Les Paul Custom Black Beauty.
You can watch the whole episode below.
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