Joe Bonamassa called his ‘51 Fender Nocaster “the most dynamic instrument I have ever played in my life” – now Seymour Duncan has released a signature pickup set based on that guitar

Seymour Duncan The Bludgeon pickup set
(Image credit: Seymour Duncan)

Seymour Duncan has partnered with Joe Bonamassa to release yet another set of signature guitar pickups – but this time they’ve picked a pair of pups that can be found in arguably the most significant electric guitar in all of JoBo’s collection.

That guitar is a 1951 Fender Nocaster. Affectionately known as The Bludgeon, the ultra-rare single-cut came into Bonamassa’s life back in 2014, and clearly made a considerable impression on the blues rock titan: five years later, he called the instrument “the best guitar I own”.

But the praise didn’t stop there: “It is as much a tool as it is a weapon,” he wrote in a post on Instagram. “It is the most dynamic instrument I have ever played in my life.” High praise indeed for someone whose guitar collection comprises upwards of 500 individual instruments.

Such was Bonamassa’s affinity for the PAF humbucker-equipped rarity, he teamed up with Fender back in 2019 to create a signature guitar variation – a model that finally arrived in 2021 after a handful of teases, much anticipation and a somewhat high-profile theft case.

Seymour Duncan The Bludgeon pickup set

(Image credit: Seymour Duncan)

When that signature model was being crafted by Fender, Seymour Duncan was recruited to help reproduce the guitar’s original pickups. Now, that humbucker/single-coil combo has been released as a standalone set.

Recreating the sound of Bonamassa’s “best” and “most dynamic” guitar is certainly one of the trickier assignments that could befall a pickup company, but by all accounts Bonamassa is pleased with what Fender and Seymour Duncan ended up producing, so this set arrives with an almighty seal of approval.

When JoBo came into contact with the original Bludgeon, it had already been fitted with a PAF neck humbucker, which was paired with a flat-pole single-coil bridge unit. To recreate these exacting sounds, Seymour Duncan utilized rough cast alnico 2 magnets for the PAF, and sought to channel the “bright response and hot output” of the bridge pickup.

The first 250 sets will arrive relic’d with a “special Antiquity aging process” to give off the vintage vibe of the original, and will flash the signatures of Bonamassa, Duncan, and Maricela Juarez – Seymour Duncan’s “Queen of Tone”, who winds each set in the custom shop.

The Bludgeon pickups are available for $349.

Visit the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop to find out more.

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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.