There are guitar magazines, and there are guitar magazines. A friend loaned me a copy of a recent Guitar World with the Beatles on the cover. Mainly so I could read about Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. But I was struck by the ads. Clearly this mag was aimed at a different generation of guitar players. A fellow named John 5 appeared in a couple of ads for different guitar products. He wore lipstick that made his mouth looked about eight inches wide. Nothing wrong with that but...I'm not the makeup wearing kind of guitar player, myself. I wondered if the same people who knew John 5's work well enough to take his advice on which strings to buy would be interested in the Fab Faux (a bunch of session musicians who play Beatles' songs 'just like the record'). Lots of heavy metal, grunge, etc. players in the ads in this mag. You can buy custom made picks with pictures from Pirates of the Caribbean! Steve Morse explains how to play double-stops. People playing the guitar in contortions that I simply can't get into at this stage of my life. And there's tab for five songs. And that's all well and good. Different strokes for different folks.
There's Acoustic Guitar which has changed its format a few times but always has something of interest, like how best to setup your amplifier for the kind of small gigs I do, and how to play passing chords. AG really covers just about everything you need to know about acoustic guitar, and the interviews are based both on gear and technique.
There's the old stand-by Guitar Player which has always had a fine balance between interviews with players and gear tests. BUT as far as a guitar magazine is concerned...the ultimate for my taste is Fretboard Journal. This quarterly is pricey but worth it. It's like a full colour book that comes out four times a year. And I find I keep it close at hand for all of the three months til the next one arrives, and read each article at least a couple of times. The new one just came out and features BB King on the cover, resplendent in a gold tux, holding on tightly to the latest version of Lucille. There are stories on David Grisman, Z.Vex Pedals and the First Martin OM and some gorgeous photos, and the ads...are beautiful. It's a pleasure to browse through Fretboard Journal, and to revel in the beauty of these instruments both old and new.
Hey, I downloaded a couple of nifty albums from e-music today. Gerry Rafferty's Another World and Gurf Morlix's Toad of Titicaca, both of which are excellent albums. But I noticed that Sir Paul's new one is available for download there too! Imagine! Downloading Macca's music. What's the world coming too! E-music has a dandy selection of Americana and folk music...so it's worth checking out! I've had a subscription there for a year and a half.