Joe Bonamassa Shares Opinion on Metallica’s Kirk Hammett Owning ’Greeny’ Les Paul, Says That ’You Can Play Blues on Anything’

Recently, Joe Bonamassa sat down with the Guitarist magazine to discuss the selection of Peter Green’s guitars that are soon to be auctioned. Green, the original guitar player for Fleetwood Mac from the days when they were a blues rock band, had an extensive collection of guitars, one of which is currently in possession of Metallica’s Kirk Hammett, the legendary “Greeny” 1959 Gibson Les Paul.

While holding Peter Green’s 1968 Gretsch White Falcon, Bonamassa commented (transcribed by Killer Guitar Rigs):

“To think about all of the conic brands that came out of America in the ’50s and ’60s… I mean, Gretsch was around long before that, but the design… They’re still making guitars that are derivative of this today, we’re talking about 65-70 years later. And this guitar is almost 60 years old.”

Peter Green - A History of his Guitars and Amps (Bluesbreakers and Fleetwood Mac )

“And it’s still just as cool as it was in 1968. And that’s a classic design. I could see why Peter wanted one because, you know… [Plays a chord]

Up next, the interviewer asked Joe “Do you think it’s a slightly unusual guitar for a blues player,” to which he replied:

“You can play blues on anything. You know, [Frank] Son Seals played blues on a Guild. Muddy Waters played blues on a Guild.

Muddy Waters - Long Distance Call

Going more into it, Joe shared another example of a blues legend playing a totally unexpected guitar model and still making it work. He continued:

“Bobby Parker, the legendary blues guy, since passed away, he was the one that recorded the version is ‘Steal Your Heart Away’ which I believe The New Yardbirds covered and was suggested to me that I covered.”

“Bobby Parker is from Baltimore. And he was a stone-cold blues man. And he showed up with a Dimebag Darrell Explorer by Dean with the headstock modified. And he ripped into the blues. And he didn’t care. And that’s the cool thing about the blues, you can play it on anything.”

Bobby Parker - You Better Watch Your Step

Another example that Joe shared was Kirk Hammett who now owns Peter Green’s legendary Gibson Les Paul, the so-called “Greeny” guitar. And, according to Bonamassa, it’s wonderful to have this guitar living within Hammett’s respective genre. He explained:

“And that’s why I love the fact that Kirk Hammett has the [Greeny] Les Paul, he’s playing his music on that guitar. Les Paul shouldn’t just be a blues guitar you know, this Gretsch shouldn’t just be a rockabilly guitar.

To conclude, Bonamassa simply said that you can use any guitar for any genre. But under one condition:

“You can play anything on any any guitar, as long as it works and it’s loud.”

Joe Bonamassa Official - "I'll Play The Blues For You" - Live At The Greek Theatre

The auction in question, which is done through Bonhams, will take place between June 16 and 28. Apart from the 1968 Gretsch White Falcon, Bonamassa also showcased Green’s 1931 National Duolian resonator acoustic guitar.

In a recent interview, Metallica’s Kirk Hammett discussed Gibson’s official release of the “Greeny” Les Paul replicas. The instrument, which was also at one point owned by blues legend Gary Moore, was recreated in the usual Gibson Les Paul Standard version, as well as in Custom Shop versions. One of these Custom Shops, which is still available, can be obtained for $19,999. Meanwhile, the sold-out Collector’s Edition was no less than $50,000.

However, according to Kirk, the best version out of all these is the affordable Epiphone one which we’ll see released soon. The Metallica lead guitarist said:

“I have to tell you, man. I’ve tried the Gibson Custom Shops. Those Greenys are great. Tom Murphy Greenys are really great. The Gibson USAs are great, but my favorite version of Greeny is probably the Epiphone…“

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“The Epiphone Greenys, just by themselves, sound great and play great, and I was amazed at how I was playing an Epiphone and I didn’t want to put it down and it was delivering for me.” 

Hammett also added:

“It’s just on all levels. This was two or three weeks ago. That Epiphone Greeny is now my couch guitar and I reach for it when I’m watching TV like most guitar players are apt to do.”

“I guess I’m most excited about that Epiphone because it makes the Greeny mythology, the Greeny influence, the Greeny inspiration available to everyone around the world who was motivated to get it.”

The $3,199 Guitar Review | 2023 Gibson USA Kirk Hammett Greeny Les Paul Standard Faded Review

“For me, it’s a super-powerful thing because I might be helping some young musician get a Greeny in their hands to play heavy blues like Peter Green or Gary Moore or come up with a song like ‘Oh Well‘ or ‘Albatross‘ or something… 

“Those are my intentions. It’s not fucking status. It’s not finances. It’s not to see my name out there. My motivation is mainly musical and to go out there and put guitars in the hands of musicians who will make music that hopefully I will like in 10 or 15 years time.”

Photos: Lightburst (Joe Bonamassa 2-18-23 Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee), Raph_PH (Kirk Hammett 2020 (Cropped))

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.