The World of Guitar According to Joe Bonamassa

(Gibson) Joe Bonamassa could serve as a great example for all aspiring players. Opening for B.B. King at the ripe age of eight, Bonamassa has since approached his career with workmanlike steadiness, touring relentlessly and often cutting multiple albums in a single year. His latest, An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House, will be followed by a new studio album slated for release later this year. Below, we present highlights from several recent interviews.

On how to construct a great guitar solo, as told to Guitar World (2012): Solos are basically 16-to-24-bar marathons. If you run a marathon, you can't start sprinting, but at the start people need a bit of fireworks to grab their attention. Then you have to back off and say something with a melody before you start barnstorming. And then there's pacing. A lesson from the old blues guys is they were never in a hurry to get to anything musically. They were like, "It'll happen when it happens." I love that idea.

On how the blues continually evolves, as told to M – Music & Musician (2012): I think Zeppelin is as much blues as Robert Johnson. How would you describe Robert Johnson? Well, that would be traditional blues, the way it first started. Then 40 years later that would be Zeppelin. How would you describe the blues I play today? It's blues updated for 2012. It's like a car—and cars don't look the same as they did in 1926.

On his favorite guitars for studio and stage, as told to Guitar World (2012): Besides the [Les Paul] Goldtops, Gibson also did some in sunburst for me, and they painted one black, so I've been playing those a lot. I also have three real '59 Les Paul Standards, and I've been playing two of them onstage. Over the course of a concert, you'll see a '61 dot neck ES-335 … a Firebird I and two '59 Les Pauls. More.

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