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Joe Bonamassa says you can sound like Jimi Hendrix with “a Squier Strat, a Peavey Classic and a bunch of Dunlop pedals”

“Great tones are much cheaper than people realise,” says the blues veteran.

[L-R] Joe Bonamassa and Jimi Hendrix

Credit: Scott Legato/Getty Images [L], David Redfern/Redferns [R]

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Joe Bonamassa has doubled down on his belief that tone comes from the player, and that a pricey set up doesn’t necessarily mean a better sound.

You may remember that back in March, Bonamassa sat down with Reverb to film a video where he put this theory to the test. He played through a period-accurate guitar rig of his own vintage goodies, and then a bunch of modern and budget-friendly gear in the style of Jimi Hendrix’s Band Of Gypsys set up.

At the end of his “for real and for less” experiment, JoBo concluded that the budget rig was 85-90 percent accurate in achieving the Hendrix tone he wanted. And now, speaking to Total Guitar in its new print issue, Bonamassa has further explained why he thinks this is the case.

“If Lewis Hamilton [Formula 1 driver] gave me the keys to his race car and I gave him the keys to a Toyota Prius, he would still beat me around the track. It’s not the car, it’s the driver. You don’t need $100k worth of perfectly preserved, mint condition, ultra rare Hendrix kit to sound like Jimi. You can get it out of a Squier Strat, a Peavey Classic and a bunch of Dunlop pedals, as long as you play in the spirit of Jimi Hendrix.

“It’s the same thing with a Les Paul. If you do it blindfolded, with a brand new Marshall and an Epiphone, and you dial it in right, it can sound like a sunburst Les Paul through a vintage Bluesbreaker. Great tones are much cheaper than people realise.”

As of his Reverb collab, Bonamassa says the whole concept was to “demystify the notion that you need a Dumble and a Klon or whatever”. He adds, “You don’t need anything. You need to practise and focus on how you really want to sound. Some of the greatest sounds were created on junk! Or at least cheaper gear.”

He explains, “Most of your favourite rock ‘n’ roll sounds from the ‘70s were created on the Les Paul Customs that were modern for back then, or even late-‘60s models. But not ‘bursts, because not many people had one.”

You can pre-order Joe Bonamassa’s new live album, Live At The Hollywood Bowl With Orchestra now.

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