The "Golden Era" of Guitar Player Magazine: An Inside Account


Over the decades, I've been asked countless times what it was like working as an editor for Guitar Player during what some fans have termed the magazine's "Golden Era." To answer some common questions and offer insight into who we were, what we did, and how we did it, I've just posted an essay detailing the magazine's inner-workings during the 1970s-1990s. Here's the link:

The "Golden Era" of Guitar Player Magazine


I spent countless hours of my teenage life in the 90's with my nose in guitar magazines. The weekly family trips to the grocery store always found me in the magazine aisle picking out which guitar magazine I'd buy for the week. I especially loved the different yearly "Guitar Buyers Guide" issues that a couple of them put out. A couple hundred pages of all the coolest newest guitars, amps, pedals, etc. It was like GUITAR PORN! One of them used to have what they called a "circle reader service" or something, where in the back of the magazine was a mailer card and you could circle the numbers listed in all the ads and they'd mail you catalogues and brochures from those companies. Other kids collected comic books... I collected guitar catalogs.

I still have a bookshelf packed full of all my old guitar magazines. Every once in a while I'll pull one to find a guitar tab. Those tabs taught me how to play. I owe everything to those magazines.

The good ole days!


Silver Supporting Member
Thanks for that! Great times back then. ( I’m still in the Mitten)


I started playing guitar in 1978. I took lessons at Guitars Unlimited in Menlo Park and began reading GP at that time. I subscribed for decades.

Was thrilled to see a couple Palo Alto/Menlo Park guys Id taken lessons from on the cover. Unfortunately, those issues were lost in a house fire.

The magazine changed over time and I felt less inclined to read it during the 2000s. Possibly, it was me who changed. I dunno.


Senior Member
I have quite a collection saved from years ago of Guitar Player & Guitar World magazines. Most of these magazines are ranging from around the years 1980 to early 90's. Reading the articles and everything was enlightening...but the colour fold-out pictures of guitars was even more enlightening. :idea:love:


1978-1983 was peak GP for me. I used to devour those magazines. When JO listed all those features he did, I remembered them all. One thing I loved about GP is that they'd tell you who was being featured the next month, which only increased the anticipation. Waiting for the Ace Frehley/KISS issue was the longest 30 days of my life. :D


Silver Supporting Member
First GP for me was the one with Tommy Tedesco on the cover (late ‘70s). Got hooked as a youth, couldn’t wait for Ace Frehley, EVH, & Randy Rhoads to be featured in it! Those were the days….not into GP at all anymore.


I used to get Guitar Play, Guitar for the Practicing Musician, and a few other one's monthly.

It was like Christmas every week when the mailman would walk down the street.

Some of them merge and I didn't pay for a magazine for years

I had a lot, but thought it would best to cut out the tab stuff and file it. Magazines are kind of heavy.


Silver Supporting Member
GP was so important to me. First issue I bought was the EVH cover in 1984 which was the year I started playing guitar. Bought every issue for the next few decades. A few years after I bought that first issue my guitar teacher asked if I wanted all of his old, back issues. Hell yes! Had almost every issue since it debuted and I read and re-read them countless times. Lugged them with me all over the country as I moved around in my 20s and 30s. Such a wonderful and valuable resource. Thank you!


Silver Supporting Member
The Blackmore cover in 79 was my first. I read it religiously until I left for college in 83. I remember not wanting to go out with my girlfriend when I got the Alex Lifeson cover an hour before our date.


My first issue was 1967 ? with Terry Kath on the cover.
I still subscribe.
Great info over the years. Players' interviews, gear reviews, music to learn.

I can't keep them all these days. Some sold, some given away.


Silver Supporting Member
I read every issue from cover to cover from ~’76 until ~’90.
Many were re-read several times.
I have saved them all and right now they are stored in a storage locker.
Might be time to pull them out!

Thank you for the great reading and the wisdom and knowledge that you shared and facilitated.

Rob Taft

Gold Supporting Member
Was given my first issue in 1969. If memory serves it had Chet Atkins on the cover. I bought nearly every issue up until the mid 2000s. A lot of magazines. I'm a borderline hoarder but in the late 70s I began a carreer that required frequent moves so a lot of my old mags went to libraries or the trash. I have very fond memories of GP and I still have several columns saved that were written by Howard Roberts and Jerry Hahn. I also still have some of the compilation books published in the 70s.

I wish GP would scan all those issues from 68-2000 and make them available for sale.


I have them all out and ready to read, from 1974 to 2011 (along with other various guitar mags and Creem/Hit Parader/etc mags). Except for the last box on the right in the second row, the back and middle row are all GP mags.


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