Tag Archives: Joe Bonamassa’sGuitar Safaris

Best Guitarist in the World

Best Guitarist in the World Diaries

Best Guitarist in the World Joe Bonamassa has two very important anniversaries to celebrate this week. The first is the anniversary of his birth, 39 years ago this Sunday, May 8th. The other cause for celebration is the 25th anniversary of when Best Guitarists Joe truly started out in the music industry with his Blues Concerts, a journey that would take him from small city New York wunderkind to international guitar hero.

It all began when a young Joe Bonamassa, already a master of his instrument and who at the age of 12 opened for blues icon B.B. King, was featured on the NBC show Real Life with Jane Pauley. Jane Pauley had seen Joe’s story on the AP wire and was blown away by what he was accomplishing. NBC’s Real Life with Jane Pauley aired a story on Joe that included coverage of Joe’s experience with B.B. King, who touted Joe as something truly special. This was the moment that his career would change forever – the real official start of his music industry career was born!

By being featured on the NBC program, the guitar prodigy was seen around the country and sought after by the music industry. He was soon signed by an ecstatic management company. Joe’s new business partners shopped his music to labels, but the recording labels didn’t see the commercial viability of Joe due to the fact that Joe didn’t sing or write.

So Joe’s management company decided to build a band around Joe to package him amidst a musical environment that was currently enamored with teenage bands.

Joe met Berry Oakley Jr., a bass player who was 18, and who was also friends with Waylon Krieger, son of Robby Krieger. Erin Davis, son of Miles Davis, was brought on board to play drums.

Thus, the band Bloodline was born to feature Joe and help him take his career to the next level. EMI signed Bloodline to a record deal, and Joe made his first record with Bloodline. The Bloodline project lasted for five years but then the band broke up.

At this point, Best Guitarist in the World Joe decided to pursue a solo career. Realizing he needed to be able to sing too, he spent two years taking vocal lessons ever before pursuing another record deal.

He was then signed by N2K Records but that company folded, leaving Joe in limbo with his Blues Songs. A year later he was signed by Epic Records, who helped him record A New Day Yesterday with legendary producer Tom Dowd. Unfortunately, Sony Music was faced with bad earnings at that time, and they pulled the plug on the Joe Bonamassa project.

Instead of seeking a new label, Joe and his manager Roy Weisman formed their own label, J&R Adventures. They bought back the rights to A New Day Yesterday and released the album independently. Joe has been releasing albums that way since that time in 2000, which has given Joe the creative freedom he desired to put out records his way and create the best music possible. In 2006, Joe and Roy Weisman took Joe’s destiny even further into their own hands by promoting their own shows, elevating Joe from the club circuit that he’d been limited to, to much larger theaters.

By 2009, Joe’s career was becoming an unstoppable force, and that year culminated in a sold out show at Royal Albert Hall where Joe was joined by his hero Eric Clapton. Joe has an unbelievable fan base that truly loves and understands the music, and Joe knows that without the fans, this entire venture would have been impossible. He is humbled and extremely grateful for their passionate interest in his music. Since that time, Joe’s fans have continued to help his career become a true phenomenon, and the rest of this incredible journey is still in the making.

Check out Joe’s entire catalog now!

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Blues Update

Joe Bonamassa’sGuitar Safaris & Gibson Guitars Player

The guitar titan gets personal about his hunt for vintage gear in his new monthly column in Guitar Player magazine.
Pawn Star

Welcome back my friends to where the geekdom never ends. This month our guitar safari brings us to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, early in the winter of 2011. My drummer, Tal Bergman, had just received a brand new Sonar drum kit that required a few hours of tuning for optimum use. As I sat like a sonic refugee in the basement dressing room at the Embassy Theatre, hearing nothing but paradiddles and kick drum for an hour, I finally said to myself, “Self, I’m getting the hell out of here.” My tech, Mike Hickey, and I took to the streets in search of a place called B and B Pawn and Loan. I had purchased a lap-steel from them in my early 20s and remembered they were close to the theater.

Best Guitarists Joe Bonamassa Guitar Safaris.

As we navigated through used stereos, Makita power tools, and PlayStation 2s, we noticed there were also a fair amount of guitars, including what I thought initially was a Pete Townsend Polaris White Gibson SG Special reissue. I glance at it briefly and continued walking around the shop. About five minutes later I glanced over again and noticed that the bridge was at the pre-’63 angle- something not offered on the reissues – and that guitar came with the original soft-shell alligator case. “Wow! Nice guitar,” I said. First year SG Specials in Polaris White, sans tremolo, don’t exactly come up for sale very often and, if they do, they are expensive. This was a very rare guitar, and especially cool for a Who fan/nerd like me.

A very nice gentlemen in his 70s came over and mentioned that the guitar had been there for about seven years with no takers and then he added that I should buy it. I looked at the price tag and, at $7,500, I could see why it hadn’t sold. I hit him with a few questions, checked the control cavity for any modifications, and asked what he would seriously take for it on this rainy and cold afternoon. Well, you could probably guess how the story ends. I won’t disclose the final price but I will say that there was a significant discount (plus four tickets to the night’s show). Everybody won on the deal which is how I like it.

Mike grabbed a cool Charvel ‘hockey stick’ guitar he found there and the two of us headed back to the venue feeling triumphant. A set of Ernie Ball .011 -.052s immediately went on the SG and it was ready for battle. It required no set up or adjustment of any kind. Just strings.

Source:  King Of Blues