Guitar Aficionado magazine
I recently chanced upon this magazine in Kinokuniya the other day when I was supposed to be buying some Mr. Men* books for my son. Of course, I got totally suckered in by the picture of Jimmy Page and before I knew it, it was on the way home with me (click pic for link).
Having spent several mornings poring over its contents while on the bog, I’m still not sure what to make of it. Part of me was screaming ‘hell, it’s issue #2 of a new guitar mag! Order back issue #1 and then collect them all! *That* would be true aficionado behavior!’.
While this was going on though, another part of me was going ‘huh? where are all the adverts for new pedals? Where are the ‘betcha can’t play this’ snippets, or articles on how to play over the ‘Giant Steps’ progression, or yet another feature on the life and gear of Jimi Hendrix?’ – you see, Guitar Aficionado is like no other guitar magazine I have ever seen. How do I describe it best? It’s more like the kind of magazine you would find in the waiting room of a very posh private doctor or dentist – titles such as Forbes, Tatler, Cigar and Humidor World or even Millionaire Golfing Rolex Watch Fetishist, except the theme is on guitars. One needn’t be rich to be the target audience (though it might probably help), but one would need an appreciation of the fine things in life and possibly a passing interest in six-stringed things.
Example: a tour of the Laguna Beach residence of the CEO of Rickenbacker. This article is much more about architecture and interior design than guitars. Sure, the guy has a guitar background, but that is hardly talked about. It’s his *house* that is the main focus of this.
Example: the cover story of Jimmy Page. This is nothing short of a fashion shoot. Yep – some designer has got Jimmy Page to wear his (very expensive and exclusive) clothes and then Ross Halfin has taken a six-page spread of photos of him wearing it, occasionally carrying one of his guitars.
But there is some coverage on Eric Johnson and some of his favorite vintage gear. This is very guitar focused, as is a write-up on Les Pauls and some of the famous players, but you can tell that the editorial staff have taken a deliberate approach to abstract the level of the conversation away from a lot of the cork-sniffing nitty-gritty that many guitarists have become so used to and possibly tried to make the guitar world accessible to lay-people to read about while waiting for a root canal . This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Anyway – it’s only on issue #2 and its identity is probably still nascent. I will be buying more issues to see how it pans out, and to scour it for adverts of the latest Rolex watches, Ermenegildo Zegna shoes and Louis Vuitton luggage. Oh, and maybe to see some info on a guitar or two.
*I forgot to buy the Mr. Men books.