Watch Joe Bonamassa play Peter Green’s guitars – and explain why he’s pleased Kirk Hammett owns the Greeny Les Paul

Joe Bonamassa playing Peter Green's 1968 Gretsch White Falcon and 1931 National Duolian
(Image credit: Future)

In a few weeks time, Bonhams will host The Peter Green Collection auction – an event that will see the sale of over 150 guitars owned and played by the late guitar legend himself.

A handful of items were previewed back in February at the annual Guitar Show in Birmingham, England, but Guitarist went one step further and organized a small showcase of its own – and recruited blues guitar titan Joe Bonamassa to help.

Specifically, JoBo took two of the auction’s biggest hitters for a spin, with Green’s 1968 Gretsch White Falcon and 1931 National Duolian both receiving a rigorous Bonamassa test drive.

“It’s a beautiful guitar,” said Bonamassa after noodling on the Gretsch, which might seem to some an unusual guitar choice for the blues. 

For Bonamassa, though, it’s the player wielding the instrument that makes the biggest impression: “You can play blues on anything. Son Seals played blues on a Guild. Muddy Waters played blues on a Guild. 

“Bobby Parker... was a stone-cold blues man, and he showed up with a Dimebag Darrell [Dean guitar] with the headstock modified,” he went on. “And he ripped into the blues, and he didn’t care. That’s the cool thing about the blues, you can play it on anything.”

As for the National Duolian, Bonamassa praised its impressive condition, and noted that few original models remain playable owing to the fact they didn’t originally come factory-fitted with truss rods.

This example, though, most certainly is playable, evidenced from the effortless volley of fretboard-spanning scale licks that Bonamassa treats the Duolian to.

Of course, one omission from The Peter Green Collection – and, indeed, Bonamassa’s hands-on assessment – is the legendary Gibson “Greeny” Les Paul, which is currently in the hands of Metallica’s Kirk Hammett. 

And, just as Green used the Falcon for blues, Bonamassa says he’s pleased to see Hammett utilizing the traditionally blues rock guitar in a metal context.

“That’s why I love the fact Kirk Hammett has the Les Paul. He’s playing his music on that guitar. The Les Paul shouldn’t just be a blues guitar. A Gretsch shouldn’t just be a rockabilly guitar. You can play anything on any guitar. As long as it works, and it’s loud.”

The Gretsch and National Duolian will both go up for auction as part of The Peter Green Collection, which will take place 16-28 June. Other highlights from the lot include a 1999 Fender Stratocaster in Sea Foam Green.

For an in-depth look at The Peter Green Collection, check out the new issue of Guitarist, available from Magazines Direct, and head over to Bonhams for further information.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.