Joe Bonamassa Trades In His Signature Gibson Les Paul Goldtop Prototype

Thursday, February 23, 2017

(Reprint from Guitar World 02/22/2017) Joe Bonamassa, March 13, 2017, Arvest Bank Midland Theater. Tickets:


Joe Bonamassa is known for his collection of incredibly rare sunburst Gibson Les Paul Standards. But his own signature Gibson Les Paul is a goldtop, created for him by the company in 2008.

Bonamassa recently traded in the prototype of the model at Norman’s Rare Guitars. In the video below, he talks about the guitar and how he felt when the prototype was delivered to him.

“When you’re a kid and you see a Gibson Les Paul, and then something that you’ve idolized over the years shows up at your door and it says [your name] on the truss-rod cover—it was a very special day,” he recalls.

Bonamassa immediately put the guitar to work on the recording of his 2009 album, The Ballad of John Henry, which hit Number One on the Billboard Top Blues chart.

The guitar features Gibson Burstbucker pickups and a black back. “I was trying to make like an early ’57,” he explains. It also has mismatched volume and tone knobs. Bonamassa explains that the different feel of the knobs allows him to know which one he’s grabbing without having to look, which is vital when he’s performing and singing.

Bonamassa explains that Gibson was nervous about the guitar, not knowing if his name had enough clout to carry a signature guitar. “This represented a risk on their part, and it represented a journey for me,” he says.

Christopher Scapelliti


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