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Introducing The Bludgeon – Fender's $8,500 Joe Bonamassa '51 Nocaster signature model

Joe Bonamassa Official Store
(Image credit: Joe Bonamassa Official Store )

Full details have emerged on the eagerly-awaited Fender Custom Shop's Joe Bonamassa '51 Nocaster recreation we previously reported on. The Bludgeon might be the ultimate JoBo electric guitar model, it's certainly the most labour-intensive with an estimated three-year build time for Fender Master Builder Greg Fessler to complete the run of 100 guitars.

It's priced at $8,500 – a stunning heavy relic based on "the most dynamic instrument" Joe Bonamassa has ever played. And Joe has played a lot of very fine guitars. 

“It howls in all the right ways, and quite frankly, kills my '59 Les Pauls on occasion,” he once told us.

Joe Bonamassa Official Store

(Image credit: Joe Bonamassa Official Store )

That's helped by the original Gibson PAF pickup in the neck (serial no: 1755) of Joe's version. It was taken from a ‘61 Gibson SG Custom and the mod was performed sometime before Bonamassa picked the Nocaster up from Nick Conte at Guitar Center, Hollywood. 

The recreation will feature Seymour Duncan pickups, though the current specs don't yet specify details we wager they are very close custom replications. 

Joe Bonamassa Official Store

(Image credit: Joe Bonamassa Official Store )

The Bludgeon feature a one-piece ash body, maple neck and a heavy relic'd ageing to its natural flash coat finish. The neck features period-correct Micarta black dot inlays in the 7.25" radius fretboard with 21 frets are made from vintage upgrade 45085 wire. 

Joe Bonamassa Official Store

(Image credit: Joe Bonamassa Official Store )

The relic'd hardware is chrome and nickel with a Tele 51-54 WO PU bridge. The guitar's headstock features the Fender logo only – a period-correct detail reflecting the brief period between the Broadcaster and Telecaster that the Nocaster takes its name from. 

Fender removed the Broadcaster model name from headstocks to avoid infringement of Gretsch's BroadKaster trademark until it settled on the Telecaster name we know now.  

Joe Bonamassa Official Store

(Image credit: Joe Bonamassa Official Store )

The Bludgeon is now exclusively available to preorder at the Joe Bonamassa store with a non-refundable $500 deposit.  

Rob Laing

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before that I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar.