In a time when even your most basic barroom band has a pedalboard that can rival a NASA installation, it’s helpful to remind ourselves just how much tonal control you have on the guitar itself. Enter Joe Bonamassa, who uses his new Guitar World video to show off some of the wide range of tones available from a Les Paul.


Pledging to demonstrate “10 or so” tones available from an LP – in this case, a rather lovely ’57 Goldtop – plugged directly into a Supro amp, JoBo runs through an array of sounds using nothing but the knobs and pickup selector.


The blues-rock ace starts off with a front/rhythm pickup clean sound, which can also be nicely boosted with the volume knob. He then runs through the much sought-after Clapton-esque 1960s ‘woman’ tone and a selection of Lead pickup sounds. 

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We particularly like his tip on setting the pickup selector in the middle and cranking all the dials before rolling back the volume pot on just one pickup to slightly bias the signal to the other. 


It’s a great exercise in un-tapping the potential of an instrument and really understanding the control at your disposal. As Joe notes, “They put them here for a reason and they do work… Never think you don’t have any options if you just plug straight in.”


If you enjoyed this window into the mind of JoBo, you can get the full tabs and check out Bonamassa’s new column, Tales From Nerdville, in the March 2022 issue of Guitar World.


The video could be worth a watch for Genesis man Mike Rutherford, who recently claimed “Gibsons have a sort of one-sound thing”.

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