“A true unicorn”: Joe Bonamassa has just acquired one of the rarest Fenders ever made – a 1954 Blackguard Tele with a huge factory-installed Paul Bigsby pickup

Joe Bonamassa holding a Fender Telecaster
(Image credit: Future)

Joe Bonamassa is certainly no stranger to rare guitars. His Nerdville collection(s) are the result of a life’s work and encompass some of the most sought-after electric guitars, amps and effects in the world. However, his latest acquisition is a genuine one-off: a 1954 Blackguard Telecaster featuring a one-off pickup modification that he has dubbed “a true unicorn.”

‘Blackguard’ is a term inspired by the black pickguards found on the earliest Telecaster and Tele-like builds from Fender (Nocasters, Broadcasters et al made between 1950 and 1954) and, as such, denotes some of the most in-demand vintage models out there. 

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Matt Parker
Features Editor, GuitarWorld.com

Matt is Features Editor for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.