Why Joe Bonamassa Had Difficulty In Playing Eric Clapton’s Guitar, Joe Explains Himself

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In an interview with Wong Notes podcast, Joe Bonamassa talked about his experiences of playing Eric Clapton‘s iconic guitars, Hare Krishna ES-335 and ‘Blackie’ Stratocaster, and explains why he had trouble playing the Blackie.

The talented blues-rock guitarist, songwriter, and singer Joe Bonamassa most recently released his highly-anticipated studio album, ‘Royal Tea,’ on October 23, 2020. Bonamassa previously stated that the album was inspired by the works of Jeff Beck, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Eric Clapton, and Cream.

In a recent interview he joined, Joe opened up about the time he had the opportunity to play two of Eric Clapton’s guitars, Hare Krishna ES-335 and ‘Blackie’ Stratocaster. Apparently, while Bonamassa was spending some time with his friends at Guitar Center, he got to play Hare Krishna ES-335 which was played by Eric Clapton during his time with Cream as well as his farewell concert at the Albert Hall.

Joe described Hare Krishna ES-335 as ‘the most vibrant, lively, explosive-sounding ES guitar’ he has ever played in his life. On the other hand, Bonamassa stated that ‘Blackie’ Stratocaster was a ‘rough ride’ for him possibly because its strings were rusty. He also added that it wasn’t the most easy-playing Strat even though it sounded fine.

Here is what Joe Bonamassa stated about Clapton’s guitars:

“I got to play the ‘Hare Krishna’ Gibson ES-335 – it’s that guitar, Clapton At Albert Hall, he’s the reason I wanted to play Albert Hall, it’s because of him and that guitar. And Blackie, and Lenny, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Lenny, so I got to play all three of those in a single afternoon.

The most vibrant, lively, explosive-sounding ES guitar I’ve ever played in my life. And I tried to weigh the experience, ‘Is this what I want to hear or is it what I’m actually hearing?’ Because this is hallowed ground, and a lot of people, I go, ‘No, this is actually really f-ing good, I could see why they liked it.’

Blackie was a rough ride for me. Maybe it’s that the strings were rusty, but it was not the most easy-playing Strat. But it sounded fine. He played this guitar throughout the 70s, and that was his guitar.”

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