"I’ve really gotten over pedals," Joe Bonamassa told Amit Sharma of Total Guitar and musicradar.com. "So you don't want to play a guitar [properly] so you buy a box that makes it sound like an algorithm."
Fightin' words for those who love effects pedals?
Well, Bonamassa wasn't done throwing punches yet.
"I know I’ll get sh*t for saying this, but it’s f**king lazy," he added. "It’s insulting to people who spent 35 years playing and learning—like a lot of players—and we continue to work at it! These guys can barely play a chord but call themselves 'soundscapists.' Get the f**k outta here! It’s bullsh*t. There’s so much masking and spin going on there. Can we get real for a minute? What do you actually play? Pick up an acoustic guitar. Try that!”
As an accomplished player who has spent years developing his chops and his career, Bonamassa's comments are not all that surprising, and he certainly has every right to voice his views and opinions on guitarcraft.
And yet, his stance throws down an artistic gauntlet — much like the "tubes versus modeling" and "analog versus digital" debates that often raged when I first got to Guitar Player in the late 1990s. (Of course, preferences aside, we now know that brilliant sounds can be achieved through any technical medium if the creator is crafty and ambitious enough.)
Do you think Bonamassa was merely taking a provocative and shocking approach to inspire guitarists to upgrade their technique, creative choices, and musical knowledge?
Do YOU feel that soundscape-style players are "lazy," untalented, or not worthy of calling themselves "guitar players?"
Or do you believe that ALL guitarists—regardless of their chops and/or creative approach—spread the gospel of guitar and are welcome members of the world's guitar-playing community?
Send your views to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll publish a selection of your commentaries into a future issue of GP.
Weigh in and be heard!