By Christopher Scapelliti
Joe Bonamassa has a vast collection of vintage guitars, amps and effects. But as any true fan of his knows, Joe doesn’t keep the best stuff locked up at home—he takes it out on the road and uses it.
Engines of Rock decided to find out what goes into setting up Joe’s vintage gear for a show and went straight to the man in charge of the blues guitarist’s rig: Mike Hickey, Bonamassa’s guitar tech.
in this video, Hickey takes us backstage, where we get to see several of the rare guitars Joe uses onstage, including his 1959 “Skinner” Les Paul Standard, 1959 “Carmelita” Les Paul Standard and 1955 Fender Stratocaster. As Hickey confirms, “We like to take the rare guitars out and use them in concert as opposed to storing them in a vault somewhere.”
Hickey also walks us through his backstage duties and talks about going shopping for vintage gear, undoubtedly one of the highlights of the job.
Bonamassa recently announced the release of his new album, Blues of Desperation, out March 25. The album features all-original material and showcases his ongoing development as a blues guitarist.
“I just turned 38 years old and have been making solo records for 15 years,” Bonamassa says, “and decided that I can’t just keep using the same playbook. I have to challenge myself and start a new book.
“I’d rather make less records that were all original but wait for the good songs to come around.”
Bonamassa is performing in Germany and the U.K. in February and March, followed by a return to the U.S., where he’ll launch his spring tour. For complete updates on his itinerary, visit his website.