Joe Bonamassa finally reveals how many guitars and amps are in his mammoth collection

(Image credit: Gus Stewart/Redferns)

We all know Joe Bonamassa has a lot of guitars and amps - he's even named "the best". But now, thanks to a new interview, we have a more exacting sense of just how many.

During a recent appearance on Talkin’ Rock with Meltdown, Bonamassa was asked just how big his collection is. To which JoBo replied:

"I have about 400 guitars and 400 amps, and it's bad, it's real bad. It’s not a good thing. And it shouldn’t be a good thing. It just, it is what it is, I'm a son of a guitar dealer and I got the bug."

When asked which ones he views as priceless, he turned to his Gibsons.

“I have three original Flying Vs, I have Tommy Bolin’s 1960 Les Paul. I have more guitars and equipment than any other human should ever require or need or want to be in the same room with."

He continued, "There's a few legendary instruments in the collection just by default and there’s a few legendary instruments that are associated with me and my playing, and the whole thing kind of takes a life of its own."

As for whether he’s looking to add to his 400 guitars?

I don't need anything," Bonamassa said with a laugh. "I encourage people not to give me any [instruments], I don't want any more stuff."

The size of Joe’s collection wasn’t the only notable guitar reveal during the interview. He also divulged that in his younger days he tried out for a legendary hard rock act – and didn’t get the gig.

"I auditioned for UFO when I was 18 years old," he said. "Ultimately it came down to me and Vinnie Moore. And Vinnie Moore is much better suited for that gig than I would've been at 18 years old. And he still has that gig. 

"I auditioned at Pete Way’s house in Columbus, Ohio and they liked my tone, they liked my take on Rock Bottom, but I looked like Opie Taylor with a Flying V. It wasn’t quite the image they were looking for at the time."

Thankfully, everything worked out in the end for JoBo. That said, we'd still love to see him grab one of those original Vs and shred some Schenker on Rock Bottom.


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Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.