Guitar Player
Jim and Dara Crockett, eds.
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Buy *Guitar Player: The Inside Story of the First Two Decades of the Most Successful Guitar Magazine Ever* by Jim and Dara Crocketto nline

Guitar Player: The Inside Story of the First Two Decades of the Most Successful Guitar Magazine Ever
Jim and Dara Crockett, editors
Backbeat Books
304 pages
February 2015
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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What the title of this book doesn't mention is that Guitar Player was also the most influential guitar magazine of its time. Anybody who played a guitar--whether you were sitting in your bedroom trying to figure out Jimi Hendrix licks or you were touring 300 nights a year in a fully-formed rock band--read the magazine. It was part of the ritual of being a musician: when the new issue of Guitar Player came out, you rushed out to your local newsstand to buy it or was already having it delivered because you had a subscription.

This extraordinary book details and describes the evolution of that prestigious magazine from 1970 through 1989 when it was edited--and then published--by Jim Crockett. It is impossible to separate the man from the magazine because Crockett loved every aspect of the guitar--the people who played them, the instruments themselves, the craftsmen who built and repaired them, and the sound of them--and brought that passion and enthusiasm to his publication.

Which is why every guitar player who ever laid his fingers across a fretboard wanted to be in the magazine. It was an indication that you'd arrived as a player: it meant you were important enough to grace GP's pages. And virtually every guitarist you could ever think of was written about. The book here cites interviews with everyone from Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Frank Zappa, and Eric Clapton to Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson, and B.B. King. You picked up a copy because it was the only place you could find out what kinds of strings Beck used or read about how Page used the doubleneck Gibson on "Stairway to Heaven."

Guitar Player is still being published today. It remains a vital and beautifully-written digest for 6-string enthusiasts (and now 7- and 8-string players), but it's different. That period reflected in this book--the '70s and the '80s--was a time when many of the bands we now know were just starting, or just releasing their first or second album. What would come to be known as classic rock was still in its infancy, and GP was there to document it.

This book chronicles a unique period in music when rock was still relatively young and so was the idea of a magazine for guitar players. It hadn't been done before, so there were no rules--only those to be broken. This is an essential read for anybody who ever picked up a copy of GP. It is about a time long gone and terribly missed.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2015

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