Full details emerge on Joe Bonamassa's signature Fender Custom Shop '51 Nocaster, The Bludgeon

Joe Bonamassa Fender Nocaster
(Image credit: Joe Bonamassa Official Store)

Ever since Joe Bonamassa revealed that a Fender Custom Shop recreation of his beloved ‘51 Nocaster was in the works back in 2019, guitarists have been eagerly awaiting the release of "The Bludgeon", which is inspired by "the most dynamic instrument” JoBo has ever played.

Now, only weeks after the electric guitar god further teased the imminent arrival of his model in an Instagram post, Bonamassa’s signature Fender Custom Shop Nocaster has gone up on his official online store, alongside an in-depth spec sheet.

The guitar, which will be part of an ultra-limited run of only 100 units worldwide, will be hand-built by Fender Master Builder Greg Fessler, and will retail for $8,500. It is estimated that the entire production run will take 36 months to complete.

By way of specs, the long-awaited guitar features a one-piece ash body and maple neck, as well as a heavy-relic natural flash coat lacquer finish. The maple fretboard will have 21 frets composed of vintage upgrade 45085 wire, a slightly tweaked 7.25” radius, and period-correct Micarta black dot inlays.

Elsewhere, The Bludgeon boasts chrome and nickel relic hardware, a Tele 51-54 WO PU bridge and a vintage Telecaster control layout.

Just the Fender logo adorns the headstock, reflecting the brief time period before the Broadcaster was renamed the Telecaster, when the guitar builder simply clipped the model name off headstocks to avoid infringing Gretsch's BroadKaster trademark.

The new signature is also described as sporting a "custom neck", meaning the conventional U-shape Nocaster profile may be dropped in favor of something slightly smaller.

While Bonamassa has teased that The Bludgeon will come equipped with Seymour Duncan pickups, the new spec sheet fails to confirm which specific set will be utilized. However, given that his original Nocaster is fitted with a humbucker from a ‘61 Gibson SG Custom, we can speculate that the pickups appearing in this new model will bear a striking sonic resemblance.

Bonamassa has been a long-time admirer of his Fender Custom Shop ‘51 Nocaster, telling MusicRadar back in 2016, “It howls in all the right ways, and quite frankly, kills my ‘59 Les Paul on occasion. It is a lifelong guitar that I will play and cherish.”

More recently, in a post to his Instagram page, the blues-rock wizard dubbed the Nocaster the ‘best’ guitar he owns, revealing, “It is as much a tool as it is a weapon. It is the most dynamic instrument I have ever played in my life.”

For anyone interested in getting their hands on the stunning signature, deposits of $500 can be made to reserve a model.

For more information, and to read the new spec sheet, head over to Joe Bonamassa's official online store.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.