Thursday, December 23, 2010

Constant Inspiration

My idol Frank Zappa on a 1977 cover - is there anything more to say really!

I wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to one of my greatest resources of regular inspiration. In my part of the globe, there are many guitar-based publications, but none hold the caliber of U.S. based Guitar Player magazine.

For almost 30 years, I have been purchasing and reading this magazine - many of those years as a subscriber. Over those years, Guitar Player wasn't always my first choice. I had been drawn to other, more specific, song teaching-based publications like the now defunct 'Guitar for the Practicing Musician'.  Its content included many more pages dedicated to transcriptions (written out TAB's) of some of my favourite songs (whose value, over time, has proven somewhat limited). Translation: I still regularly read decades-old issues of Guitar Player while the others gather dust.

With age and maturity, I began to discover that the real value of Guitar Player, and likely the reason it has not disappeared, lies in its content. In those early years, simply put, I failed to understand the truly cerebral nature of playing. Learning the exact notes of a certain piece of music is valuable, certainly. But learning WHY the artist chose those notes and his/her approach in general, is timeless.

There are plenty of licks and lines tabbed and scored within their pages (along with a ton of quality teaching content and columns). Because Guitar Player devotes most of its energies to famous player interviews, new artist profiles and gear round-ups, it adds regular inspiration to my listening and enhances my tone (while keeping me aware of gear trends). All on a regular monthly interval!

The key to all this is simple - BUY IT & READ IT! Cover to cover. Seriously, do it. Read all the articles and every interview, especially if you dont' know the player. Then jump on You-Tube and have a listen to the players featured. It's a great way to expose yourself to some new musicians and their sounds. My collection has grown exponentially through this method. It has kept me plugged-in to the ever-changing music scene out there, exposing me to the great, lesser-known players I would likely have never found otherwise.

Over time, I have come to learn that Michael Molenda (editor-in-chief) and his staff, do a great job of digging up content worthy of its valuable real estate. These guys are all players - you can tell. Do they make mistakes? Sure they do. Do they have to devote space to advertisers? Of course. It's a business. But overall, this is the most trust-worthy mag in my neck of the woods. Plus, I was in it once! A sincere honor for me, but not why I am praising it here.

The message here is: wherever you live, find a magazine that clicks with you and subscribe to it. Take the time and read it all. The regular immersion in the guitar community is worth its weight in gold. So do yourself and your playing a favor and click here.


  1. I always scan past the unknowns. I'll be sure to take your advice and go on You Tube after the read - thanks!