Guitar magazines

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Rezin, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. Rezin

    Rezin Member

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    I travel a lot and tend to buy guitar magazines to kill time (I've noticed that few of the people in the magazine wear tan pants.) But the odd thing is, the magazines almost never talk about stuff that we talk about here on TGP -- even the stuff in the Guitars in General or the Recording forums. They mostly have lightweight celebrity profiles, and even then, they're mostly profiles of people we all know about -- Slash, Bonamassa, Perry, Clapton, etc. They also do all kinds of reviews of equipment that almost none of us will ever buy, just because we don't usually buy equipment based on reviews in magazines, we buy it because we need to fill a hole in our equipment line-up. In other words, they don't really spend much time talking about the problems and issues experienced by their readers. I wonder if that's just the nature of magazine journalism -- trying to find homogenized topics that will appeal to the widest range of readers -- or if the editors of these things just don't know what they're doing? It seems to me that if they'd go out and read guitar forums online, they'd begin to get a hint of what actual guitar players are concerned about, and maybe play more to the social and career aspects of guitar life.
     
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  2. Stratonator

    Stratonator Member

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    They have to sell issues. Big names sell issues. Between "Hendrix : A Profile of the Legend" and "The Unknown Songwriters Issue" it's no secret the former will easily outsell the latter.

    Magazines are filled with ads and the gear that is provided is probably given with the promise of a good review.

    I remember a videogame magazine (EGM, for those who remember) who made a big deal in an issue about how they stood up to Capcom, a gigantic videogame company. How did they do that? They gave a below average rating to yet another rehash of the Street Fighter series. In their strange twisted logic, they bragged about how they didn't care that Capcom was threatening to pull all their ads away from the magazine... which was one of those moments as a teenager which exposed the world of magazines as being littered with examples of corruption and backdoor deals. Then, I started looking back and saw the countless great reviews they gave to games I bought or rented that were in fact pure crap.

    The same probably happens in almost every industry and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if almost all of these reviews are bought, plain & simple. In pre-Internet days, the only mass voices for this stuff was magazines. Manufacturers would buy glowing reviews and make people believe the product was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Now, you can Google it and see the magazine is full of it and that the product is really a giant turd. Stopped buying guitar magazines because I couldn't ever find a bad review. Ever. About anything! Being prone to look for perfection and knowing it's so rare, I couldn't buy the idea that next to everything is awesome and perfect. I'd even go in stores to test the gear they'd review only to leave shaking my head.

    It's not journalism when you're bribed for a good review. And frankly, most of the pieces appearing in guitar magazines have been done a million times over in different ways. That's because there's nothing entirely new to say on all the big names we're familiar with. Everything has been written on Hendrix. It would be pretty hard to find something new and interesting to print and fascinate people with. Unless they unearth a temporarily lost interview, there's nothing left. They could write about unknowns or up & comers but the sales would dwindle.

    I suspect most of the public buying these are probably new guitar players who are just starting to learn and discover the gear and these big name artists. Because I can't think of anything that's kept me from falling asleep that these mags have published in the last 2 decades.
     
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  3. stratotastic

    stratotastic Supporting Member

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    You answered your own question.
     
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  4. milli vanilli

    milli vanilli Member

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    TGP is a minority. Most people don't ponder if a pickguard adds or detracts to tone, if a 1961 les paul is way better than a 1962 les paul, which dumble is the best dumble etc. Most folks just PLAY and like to read a bit about who's who, catch a review or two about real world stuff that is pretty much affordable, and review a tab or 2. I like both TGP and the mags because they have such a different audience/approach....
     
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  5. Rezin

    Rezin Member

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    No, I suggested that was one reason (of several) that they might do that, but in fact, it's self-defeating -- by trying to appeal to everyone with another copycat article about Clapton, they wind up appealing to no one.
     
  6. Macleod

    Macleod Member

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    I've had stuff reviewed in magazine before. They've all said that if they can't write a good one, they won't write one at all.
     
  7. lp_bruce

    lp_bruce Member

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    FWIW, there are a whole lot of people here who don't ponder the tone effect of pickguards and which Dumble is the best. But I get your point.

    I used to buy guitar mags pretty often, but I haven't bought a guitar magazine in years. The info I got out of mags I now get from the Internet

    Peace,
     
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  8. amstrtatnut

    amstrtatnut Member

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    I used to buy Guitar Player a lot. Had subscriptions for years. They went through some editorial changes, and I just felt like they got very formulaic in their interviews.

    I wouldnt really have a clue how to do it better, but Im not super stoked to read how a guy used instruments and equipment I could never afford in a studio I also couldnt afford.
     
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  9. lp_bruce

    lp_bruce Member

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    Yeah I am not sure what I would do better or different. Print media in general is struggling and I think this is just part of that.

    I will say that I find the gear reviews pretty pointless. The gear they review is produced by their advertisers and the mags are under more pressure than ever to keep them happy. So--big surprise--the reviews are pretty much all completely rosey. Which keeps the advertisers happy, but isn't much help to their readers.

    Peace
     
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  10. 27sauce

    27sauce Supporting Member

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    I was going through, getting rid of some of my stash. Early 90's til now...

    Eddie Van Halen has "Come Back" about 19 times since '95!

    A couple every year,..."he's back!"
     
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  11. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Supporting Member

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    Can someone fill me in what's on pages 2, 3 and 4 of the special country issue of Bass Player? I keep flipping between 1 and 5.
     
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  12. jekylmeister

    jekylmeister Supporting Member

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    IMHO, guitar mags (all of them) are very much like golf magazines. There's only so many ways you can go over the same stuff month after month.
     
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  13. shane8

    shane8 Member

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    mainstream mags are a completely different thing to a forum where any a$$hole can say (just about) anything

    mags exist to sell ads - they don't want to ruffle too many feathers
     
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  14. Buzzard Luck

    Buzzard Luck Member

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    In the days of my youth, they were so informative, and influential. Brilliant insightful interviews, filled with gems and nuggets on insight and information. Post internet smartphone age, not so much, more reliant on interesting/ original content, hopefully! For a few years now Guitarist magazine has been steadily subscribed to, internationally, guitar world for over 30 years, and I'll never forgive the travesty of horridness that befell guitar player magazine, around 2 decades of loss now....
     
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  15. derekd

    derekd Supporting Member

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    Last guitar mag I subscribed to was Just Jazz Guitar.

    Great lessons and transcriptions, but it had a real geezer feel to it I found unfortunate, and couldn't related to.

    The big ones seemed to cater to 15 year old boys, so I lost interest.

    Premier was pretty good for a while, and might be as far as I know.
     
  16. Nevets

    Nevets Supporting Member

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    I used to like 'Musician' magazine because they would usually have a sidebar to the interview devoted to the gear the artist used.
     
  17. sausagefingers

    sausagefingers Supporting Member

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    I still get excited when there's a GP in my mailbox. It ain't what it was back in the Jas O days though.
     
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  18. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

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    I'm surprised the omnibus guitar magazine is till around in the age of the internet. I'm talking about the magazine that try to cover all the bases - interviews, gear reviews, lessons, news. I have no impetus to buy an entire magazine just to read one interview or get that one lesson. I don't want to play for a bunch of crap I wont need. It's amazing in this age of the filter bubble that they can still get people to pay for non-relevant information. I'd buy single lessons or interviews, I wont buy the entire magazine.

    The exception is Guitar techniques. It is sufficiently focused in its content and the quality s good.
     
  19. Blue Light

    Blue Light Member

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    I like learning about new artists, or hearing updates on musicians I like. Sometimes I'll go directly from an article to Youtube to check them out further. Many a time I've grabbed a Vintage Guitar or a Guitar Player and had a reasonably OK time. The British magazines and Premier Guitar seem to do more equipment but offer less to actually read.

    The writing is very uneven in these magazines. Sometimes GP will do a terrific in-depth piece on someone like Alan Holdsworth. But then you'll get an interview with a solid player that is only about his gear. In most cases, they rarely plumb the memories of these interview subjects.

    The comparison to golf magazines is apt. There used to be sports magazines that showcased brilliant writing. (Sports Illustrated, Golf Digest, Car & Driver, Outside, etc). The long-lamented Musician magazine is worth another mention. But publishers stopped believing in quality writing and insisted their editors produced "quick hit" stories for an "short-attention span" audience. In other words, magazines and newspapers were to produce stuff which would satisfy the portion of the audience that had already left the building! People who really like to read, and actually pay for it, their interests were brushed aside.

    Having said that, I still buy these magazines. My favorite time to read them is just before bed, so my bedside shelf includes Car & Driver and GPs. Reading up on a Maserati I'll never buy, or a PRS that would be nifty to own, I dunno, seems to take away the tensions and usher me nicely into dreamland. Sex would be better, of course.
     

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