Joe Bonamassa says his 1951 Fender Nocaster is his "best" guitar

(Image credit: Joby Sessions / Future)

Legend of contemporary blues and avid collector of vintage gear, Joe Bonamassa has revealed that his 1951 Fender Nocaster is pound for pound the best guitar he owns. 

“People often ask me what is the ‘best’ guitar I own?” he wrote in an Instagram post published last night. “This would be it. A very well loved 1951 Fender Nocaster. It is as much a tool as it is a weapon. It is the most dynamic instrument I have ever played in my life.”

The Fender Nocaster came into being in 1951 when Fender were trying to think of a new name for the Broadcaster, after Gretsch Drums complained that it was too close to their own Broadkaster kit. 

Instead of haulting production, Fender trimmed the word Broadcaster from the headstock decals and sold it anyway.

Come the end of the summer, however, they had found a name – the Fender Telecaster, and it proved to be pretty popular.

In a video shot with Ernie Ball in 2015, Bonamassa reveals that he bought the Nocaster because the humbucker made it look like Keith Richards’ guitar. The guitar had been modded some time before he acquired it, with a Gibson PAF humbucker (serial no: 1755) installed in the neck position.

Bonamassa bought the guitar from Nick Conte in Guitar Center, Hollywood, who had bought it from "an old guy in the street.” The case bears the initials “O.Z.”

In an interview with MusicRadar he described the Nocaster as one of his top 35 items of gear he owns. “It howls in all the right ways, and quite frankly, kills my '59 Les Pauls on occasion,” he said.

Last night it was promoted.

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.

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