Joe Bonamassa Recalls Hearing Jeff Beck and Wanting to ‘Weep,’ Explains Why He’s ‘Best Rock & Roll Player in the World’

Decades pass and the guitar just keeps evolving. But despite that, our favorite instrument still retains the main features that we love about it. Even though electric guitar keeps pushing the limits, you’ll still experience the same expressive qualities that were set back in the 1950s and the 1960s.

And that’s also something that we could say about guitar players and guitar-oriented music. New players come and some of them stay relevant for many years, all while setting the standards for new generations. After all, the guitar solo is all about expression, and those who utilize the instrument to help them convey their artistic message. One of those guitar players is Jeff Beck. In fact, we could argue that he’s one of the earliest players to use the electric guitar’s full potential.

So it’s no wonder when a more contemporary guitar master like Joe Bonamassa still considers him to be one of the best. If not THE best in whole rock ‘n’ roll. During a recent interview with WAXQ, Bonamassa reflected on his love for Beck’s playing and music.

Asked about guitar players who constantly manage to blow his mind, he named Jeff Beck. Joe said (transcript via Guitar World):

“Every decade rolls over, he’s still the best rock ‘n’ roll guitar player in the world. He figures out a new way to do something different with the guitar in every decade that he’s been active – ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s to now.”

Jeff Beck - Behind The Veil

Further on, Bonamassa recalled one occasion when he spent some time with Jeff Beck backstage, witnessing the musician’s greatness up close. He explains:

“[Beck] would retreat into his dressing room and he’d take his guitar and plug it into his little practice amp. It was probably just some little battery-powered thing. And I should have been playing too because we had to go on before.”

Joe Bonamassa Official - "Becks Bolero \ Rice Pudding" - British Blues Explosion Live

“I couldn’t even look at the guitar while I was listening to that. It made you want to weep and you’re like, ‘It’s him, it comes out of him.’

“And it doesn’t matter if it’s a little practice amp, you just give him a guitar and he’ll figure out a way to get these sounds out of it, and that’s complete raw talent. It’s not the equipment, it’s just him.

Photo: Dmileson (Joe Bonamassa – Radio City Music Hall Jan 2014), Craig Oneal (Jeff Beck 2011)