Magazine article Guitar Player

Tales of Tweed from the Heartland: Joe Bonamassa's Guitar Safaris

Magazine article Guitar Player

Tales of Tweed from the Heartland: Joe Bonamassa's Guitar Safaris

Article excerpt

EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE I CHECK MY Facebook messages. They range from "You rock, Joe!" to "You are an over-rated hack, Joe!" and maybe five times a year some cool gear-related message pops up out of nowhere. On a rainy spring day in Rockford, Illinois, I am on the bus checking my Facebook messages and lo and behold, a picture of a museum-grade tweed Deluxe and matching Deluxe steel is in my inbox from a gentleman with a story of how it had belonged to his uncle and was found in a closet upon his uncle's passing. I make a call to the messenger directly and it turns out he lives in Iowa and is coming to my show in Rockford. I told him to bring it all and to meet me backstage at 4:30. I was getting a sense that he thought the steel was worth more than the "speaker." Hmmm...

You see, back in the mid 1950s, Fender offered in their catalog a "Student Champ Set" and a "Studio Deluxe Set," two levels of steel and amp packages designed to let a kid or a pro get his or her hula groove on in one easy step. Think of those "Strat Packs" you see in music stores around Christmas time, only in the 1950s these were totally "Made in the USA." I sometimes think about this stuff in terms of the modern disposable age. You can't get an iPhone to last more than 18 months without its planned obsolescence kicking in (right as you have all of your photos and phone numbers not saved). Now pause and think about this set of gear almost 60 years old, still rocking and sounding great, built to last decades, not months. …

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