Joe Bonamassa unpacks the influence behind his super-premium guitar tone – “It’s the two Erics, Clapton and Johnson”

Joe Bonamassa performs onstage
(Image credit: C Brandon/Redferns)

As the world’s highest-grossing blues guitar superstar and curator of what is surely one of the greatest collections of vintage electric guitars and guitar amps on the planet, Joe Bonamassa’s tone is Magnetic North for many guitar players. His tone is reference quality, the exemplar.

But just how can we recreate it? Do we need a Gibson Les Paul Standard from the year of our Lord, 1959, or a 1954 Fender Stratocaster? A tube amp crafted by the late Howard Alexander Dumble would be a Holy Grail choice, the missing link if you have a six-figure budget.

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.