“The greatest threat to guitar mankind is the notion that stage volumes need to be lower than the volume in which we speak”: Joe Bonamassa talks guitar volume

JoBo discusses the state of live guitar in an interview with Tone-Talk.

Joe Bonamassa playing guitar live

Image: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

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Joe Bonamassa has been arguing the case for higher guitar stage volume in a new interview.

Speaking to Tone-Talk, he describes the biggest threat to “guitar mankind” as being “the notion that stage volumes need to be lower than the volume in which we speak”.

He continues, “I think that does wonders … for kind of siphoning the midrange and the tone out of guitar players rigs, you know? … It may sound fine in the ears … but in reality what’s coming out of the house is not certainly, to quote a friend,  ‘not better for being lower in volume’ it’s at best the same if not a little bit worse”.

Bonamassa goes on to talk about how 4×12 guitar cabs used to be the standard, saying that, “Now a Princeton Reverb in an arena is somehow so toxic to the outfront sound … that people in large situations are being told there are no amps on stage, you got to go to a completely digital platform”.

He brings up some of the most celebrated guitarists around, including BB King – who he opened for on tour at the age of 12 – Albert King, Jimi Hendrix, and Jeff Beck, describing them as all having “big sounds” and “big amps”.

A few months ago, Bonamassa described the guitar world today as being “in a state of crossroads”. He explained, “People have learned how to make real money by sitting in from of a camera and putting it on Instagram, on YouTube and becoming an influencer. Which is great. I encourage anyone with a business model to do it like that.”

He continued, “How long you can stay inspired doing one-minute videos is up to the individual. And I find that if I feel the need to stay relevant because I haven’t posted something in a minute and I just go, ‘I haven’t played guitar today but let me tune this Les Paul up and do a one-minute video.”

You can watch the entire interview with Tone-Talk below:

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