Joe Bonamassa Talks Tone and How to Sound Like Clapton, Page and Beck


PHOTO: Christie Goodwin | Getty Images

In this recent video, Joe Bonamassa talks with Guitarist about tone and explains how to get the sound of three giants of British blues rock: Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck.

Playing one of his many vintage Gibson Les Paul Standards, Bonamassa starts things out by talking about his recent decision to use tweed amps rather than his standard combination of Marshalls, Dumbles and so forth. Some of the tweeds he plays through have interesting stories and unusual previous owners, which he talks about.

He also details his new stripped-down rig, which includes a Way Huge Overrated Special overdrive and a wah. “There’s no pedal board, there’s no pedal power,” he says. “There’s no nothin’. Just two batteries!

“And it’s so liberating to be able to figure out that a lot of the sound comes from your hands.”

Joe goes on to talk about how the change in his rig has affected his playing. “I tend to be a little more straightforward, and I tend to call upon my inner Paul Kossoff more with this rig than I did before,” he says.

From there, the conversation veers to his Salute to the British Blues Explosion tour, which he presented in England earlier this month. (The video was shot prior to the tour.) Joe describes the tour as an “homage to the music of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page,” adding, “If it wasn’t for certain British musicians, the blues may never have exploded into rock music as we know it today, and indeed may have passed into history.”

Starting at the 12:30 mark, Joe begins talking about Clapton’s tone. He gets into Beck’s tone at 14:18 and Page’s at 16:44.

Take a look, and be sure to spend time with the entire video. There’s a lot here for fans of Joe, British blues and great vintage gear.