When I was first learning to play the guitar, there were three primary magazines you could read: Guitar Player, Guitar for the Practicing Musician and Guitar World. GFTPM was great because they had tablature, which was pretty rare in those days, but the articles were pretty weak. Guitar World was a johnny-come-lately that straddled the divide between GFTPM and GP with occasional flashes of brilliance. Guitar Player was the most intellectual of the bunch—sort of “the old grey lady” of guitar mags. It had interviews with jazz and even classical players. As a 15-year old erstwhile rocker trying to get my head around the guitar, GP was a great exposure to the instrument and a wide array of music and musicians.
Fast-forward twenty-some years and GP is a shell of its former self. But from the ashes rises a new online magazine called Pure Guitar. The debut issue features a gigantic interview with Eric Johnson, including the original audio. The EJ interview is a real dandy, chock-full of shots from his studio as well as several videos of him playing a number of his guitars. If you’re an EJ fan, this is one of the best interviews of him you’ll find.
Currently, Pure Guitar is web-only, with an iOS Newstand app planned for early next year. The design is very clean and easy to read. It exudes a real adult sense of quality, without feeling boring. Frankly it’s a nice departure from yet-another interview with Slipknot or some other circus-metal act. The rest of the magazine is a nice mix of interviews, tech, reviews, and lessons.
Traditional magazines are having a rough time of it these days. The old ad-support revenue models aren’t what they used to be, and initial forrays into digital-only have been mixed. There’s clearly a real love of the guitar and music behind this magazine and I have high hopes that it will lift the general level of guitar-journalism. I’m definitely keeping my eye on this one.