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How did you get that molten liquid lead sound on “Faithless”?
with a Jim Dunlop brass slide.
Which parts on the record are you most proud of?
Bonamassa: I really like what I did on “Save Me,” which is built around this riff that is very Zeppelin-inspired. The sound is all Marshall amp and EV speakers, and for the solo I just went for it with a bunch of sixteenth-notes that were appropriate for the urgent vibe we were going for.
Were your solos generally preplanned or improvised?
Bonamassa: They were all definitely spontaneous. That’s the way I play, to maintain a fresh sense of inspiration and to avoid sounding contrived—to keep both me and the listener from getting bored too easily.
Glenn, all of your bass lines on the record are uniformly excellent, but the one on “The Battle for Hadrian’s Wall” really stands out.
Hughes: Yes, I think that bass line is a good example of what I’m talking about when I say that the bass is an extension of my voice. Also, the song sounds a bit like the pastoral side of Led Zeppelin, doesn’t it? That’s only appropriate, being as John Bonham’s lad was in the drum chair.
You’re both in tip-top form on the record. What do you do to maintain your chops?
Bonamassa: Not a lot, to be honest. Mostly I just play two or three hours every day and that seems to do the trick.
Hughes: I play a bit every day, but more often on guitar than on bass. I’m kind of eccentric. I’ve got guitars everywhere in my house—even in the kitchen . . . vintage Les Pauls and Strats, a lovely Gibson Dove, and an old mahogany-bodied Martin. I don’t go about it in any structured way—I’ll just pick it up and play what comes naturally, whether for two minutes or two hours at a stretch, listening to the chords that come out and thinking about how I can turn them into a song. Music and songwriting really are at the center of my universe.
Hughes, Bonham, and Bonamassa in a groove. Note that Bonham’s kick drum bears the symbol used by his father, John, on Led Zeppelin IV—a rune that reportedly represents a father, mother, and child.
Joe Bonamassa’s Gearbox
1959 Gibson Les Paul nicknamed “Magellan,” Gibson Joe Bonamassa Les Paul, Gibson Don Felder “Hotel California” EDS-1275 6/12 doubleneck, Gibson Explorer, Fender Jeff Beck Stratocaster, Music Man Steve Morse Y2D, 1969 Grammer Johnny Cash acoustic
Four Marshall Jubilee heads, four 1969 Marshall Super Lead heads, two Marshall Super Bass 4x12 cabinets with Electro-Voice EVM12L speakers, two Mojo 4x12 cabinets with Electro-Voice EVM12L speakers
Ibanez Tube Screamer, Boss DD-3 Digital Delay, Jim Dunlop JBF3 Fuzz Face, Jim Dunlop Joe Bonamassa Signature Wah
Strings, Picks, and Accessories
Ernie Ball Slinky (.011–.052 sets on both electric and acoustic guitars), signature Jim Dunlop Jazz III Joe Bonamassa picks, Jim Dunlop metal slide
Glenn Hughes’ Gearbox
Two Nash Guitars PB57s, assorted vintage Fenders
Two Laney Nexus-Tube heads
D’Addario EXL170 (.045–.100)