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more... GuitaristsBluesClassic RockRockBlack Country CommunionJoe Bonamassa

Black Country Communion: Rituals of Life

Black Country Communion: Rituals of Life

One of Bonamassa’s favorite guitars—a 1959 Gibson Les Paul he calls “Magellan”—getting
cozy with a Native Americanthemed blanket and pillow.

A close-up of Magellan, which features a beautiful honeyburst finish and is all original except for its tuners.

Joe, you’re known as a big-time gear aficionado. What were some of the guitars you used on 2?

Bonamassa: I had something like 40 freakin’ guitars at my disposal for the record. I used a bunch of Gibson Les Pauls—some of my goldtop signature models and a real ’59 burst that I’ve nicknamed Magellan because it’s traveled around the world with me. It’s all stock except for the tuners, which I swapped out. I also played a Gibson Custom Don Felder doubleneck, an ’82 Explorer with three humbuckers like a Les Paul Custom, a Fender Jeff Beck Stratocaster, and a Music Man Steve Morse Y2D. For acoustic, I used an extremely rare 1969 Grammer Johnny Cash model.

Which amps and effects did you record the album with?

Bonamassa: I selected from a wall of Marshalls: four Jubilees and four ’69 metal-panel Super Leads that I kept powered up continuously during the sessions. For cabs, I had two old Marshall Super Basses and two Mojo cabinets, all with Electro- Voice EVM12L speakers. I made pretty minimal use of effects on the record—just a Tube Screamer, a Boss DD-3, my signature Fuzz Face, and a new signature wah-wah that was custom-made by Jeorge Tripps of Dunlop Manufacturing and Way Huge Electronics. [Ed. note: According to Tripps, the wah has a copper top with a gloss-black bottom and features a Halo inductor and full-size components mounted on a through-hole board for sweet, vintage tone.]

Glenn, what are some of your go-to basses?

Hughes: I have a number of old Fenders, but lately I’ve been playing a couple of P-bass-style instruments—one in Dakota Red and the other in Olympic White—made by Bill Nash, the great relic builder. His basses not only look realistically old, they sound remarkably like ’50s models. I’m utterly blown away by them—they work staggeringly well for me. And, in case you’re wondering, I don’t get paid to play them.

Black Country Communion—keyboardist Derek Sherinian (left), Hughes, drummer Jason Bonham, and Bonamassa—smoking onstage.

What about effects and amplification?

I don’t use any effects in Black Country Communion. I’m pretty organic and don’t really fly with processed stuff. Instead, I plug straight into a pair of 400-watt Laney Nexus- Tube amps, which have an amazingly thick sound that reminds me of the Hiwatts I used back in my Deep Purple days.

Joe, on 2, you get a sound that could be described as metal-like in spots—like in the dropped-D riffing in “The Outsider.” Have you always been into that genre?

Bonamassa: Yes. It might not always be obvious from listening to my other music, but I’ve long been a big fan of metal for its mystery and intrigue. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it, since metal is rooted in the blues.
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