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Joe Bonamassa explains why he uses 7 amps live: “What's the point of playing guitar if you can't be loud as hell?”

Joe Bonamassa
(Image credit: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

We all know that Joe Bonamassa's private gear collection is pretty much unrivaled – but it looks like his onstage setup is going the same way.

After offering a glimpse of his insane guitar stash in an interview with Gibson TV last September, the blues ace has taken to Twitter to give fans a tour of his whopping seven-amplifier live rig.

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“There's been a lot of comments, questions, concerns, hyperbole, speculation, tears shed over this rig, so I've decided to explain what we've got going on,” JoBo says.

He kicks off the rig tour with an close-up look at his expansive pedalboard – named the “boomer 'board” – which was built in 2012 by Friedman Amplification head honcho Dave Friedman.

It features a Hughes & Kettner Rotosphere, Boss DD-2 [delay], MXR Flanger, Ibanez Tube Screamer, Electro-Harmonix POG [Polyphonic Octave Generator], Fulltone Supa-Trem, as well as Bonamassa’s signature Way Huge Overrated Special and Dunlop Fuzz Face.

Amp-wise, Bonamassa's rig features a pair of vintage Marshall heads – an '86 50-watt JCM800 and an '87 100-watt Silver Jubilee. “These amps stay on the entire time,” he explains. “That is basically the anchor sound.”

He goes on to describe how he usually has four amps running in tandem at a time. In addition to the Marshalls, he switches between either a pair of Fender Joe Bonamassa '59 Twin Amps or a pair of Dumble Overdrive Specials. 

The setup also includes an extension Benson-built Leslie cabinet, as well as another Twin Amp purely powering an onstage theremin.

“It’s all kind of linked together with a bunch of wires. And it’s loud as hell,” Bonamassa explains. “See, that’s the point – what’s the point of playing guitar if you can’t be loud as hell?”

In other news, Joe Bonamassa recently teamed up with pedal purveyor Way Huge to announce a brand-new modulation and overdrive pedal, the Penny Saver Royale, while a Fender Custom Shop recreation of his '51 Nocaster is imminent.

I'm a Staff Writer at Guitar World. I've played guitar for 15+ years and have a degree in Music Technology (Mixing & Mastering). I suppose that makes me qualified to talk to you about this stuff? I'm into all genres of music, but first and foremost I love all things rock and metal.