“The honor of a lifetime”: Joe Bonamassa's “museum-grade” 1941 Martin acoustic has been reissued as his first Martin signature model

Joe Bonamassa
(Image credit: Joe Bonamassa Instagram)

Joe Bonamassa has a new signature acoustic guitar with Martin on the way, and it's based on a pre-war “museum-grade” build that Bonamassa recently got his hands on. 

The guitar, a 1941 000-45, is in impressively good condition and had been a family heirloom before Bonamassa added it to his vast collection.

Taking the signature prototype out of its hard case in a video posted to his Instagram page, Bonamassa reacted candidly, saying, “Holy s**t… this is not a cheap guitar.” 

Such a reaction probably speaks volumes of the level of faith and care taken with the recreation, which has clearly left its mark on the bluesman. As such, Bonamassa has called the signature model, “The honor of a lifetime.”  

Bonamassa had sent the original guitar on a return journey to Martin's Nazareth, PA, headquarters, where the company has since been pouring over every detail of the impeccably clean build to create a signature model for the guitarist.

“The guitar has never left Southern California since it arrived from Nazareth, where the Martin factory is,” Bonamassa said of the original instrument during a conversation with Guitarist last year. “It was sold in LA County, East, and ended up in Costa Mesa, Orange County.

“It has the receipt and the original price tag which was $225 – a lot of money in 1941. It belonged to a lady whose husband had passed away and it was once his grandfather’s guitar, so she had inherited it. 

“She was about to lose her house, but the money she got from me via Guitar Center ultimately saved the situation. It’s got this beautiful flamed spruce and it’s a museum-grade example of a premium Martin that just happened to come into my life from out of nowhere.”

The full specs of the Martin Custom Shop model are expected to be revealed in the near future. In the meantime, side-by-side shots shared by Bonamassa on social media highlight just how meticulous the guitar's recreation is. 

For more information on the Custom Shop collaboration, keep an eye on Martin.

Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to ProgGuitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.