Joe Bonamassa Shares His Reasons for Having 500 Guitars and Amplifiers in His Collection
via JoeBonamassaTV / Youtube
Renowned guitarist Joe Bonamassa recently sat down with Classic Rock for a candid chat, providing insights into his extensive collection of guitars and amplifiers that has reached an impressive 500 in number.
With a cigar in hand
Bonamassa linked his penchant for collecting to his addictive personality, stating,
“I have an addictive personality. I have five hundred guitars, five hundred amps… Things escalate.”
This obsession with guitars began early in Bonamassa’s life, at the age of 14, when he used money left by his great-grandmother to purchase a 1954 hard-tail Stratocaster from a local seller. Over time, a 335 and a Telecaster joined his collection, which truly started to flourish in the early 2000s.
Reflecting on a period in the mid-2000s when he was acquiring guitars at a rapid pace, Bonamassa admitted to moments of redundancy,
“It got to be so gluttonous. I’d be on tour in a place like Japan, jet-lagged and ready to start my day at four in the morning. No Starbucks would be open, so I’d just go to the website Gbase and throw something on the credit card.”
This fervor led to an excess of guitars, with Bonamassa acknowledging,
“I ended up with all these guitars I didn’t even play – a bunch of old [ES-5] Switchmasters and ES-350s and even four Trini Lopezes – guitars that were killer to look at but not useful to me on the stage or in the studio. Finally, I just said, ‘Garage sale!’ and got rid of a ton of stuff.”
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Currently, Bonamassa’s collection stands between 1,000 to 1,200 pieces, predominantly housed in his Los Angeles residence.
Discussing the sheer magnitude of his collection, Bonamassa noted on Kenny Aronoff’s podcast,
“If I went into it blind – not knowing what to expect or just seeing a few pictures on Instagram – the sheer magnitude of it all would overwhelm even the most jaded collector.”
Despite the overwhelming size of his collection, Bonamassa lives amidst his guitars and amps, stating,
“So I wake up, I get my coffee, and there’s hundreds of guitar amps around [me].”
Some select pieces from Bonamassa’s collection might make appearances during his 2024 tour, kicking off in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 19.