Joe Bonamassa shows you his favorite Fender Esquire licks: “You can rule the world with one pickup”

Over the last two columns, I demonstrated the attributes of two of my favorite guitars: the 1954 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop with P-90 pickups, and the 1961 Gibson dot-neck ES-335. This month, we’ll continue our expedition with another guitar I consider to be an essential tool of the trade – the 1952 Fender Esquire.

The Esquire is a single-pickup axe, fitted with one singe-coil pickup in the bridge position. Fender included a metal plate that sits over the pickup and the bridge; this is commonly referred to as the “ashtray,” because most people would remove this metal cover, turn it on its face and use it as an ashtray. I like playing the guitar with the ashtray in place. 

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Joe Bonamassa

Joe Bonamassa is one of the world’s most popular and successful blues-rock guitarists – not to mention a top producer and de facto ambassador of the blues (and of the guitar in general).