Web Exclusive! Strolling Down Memory Lane with Guitar Player Back Issues

March 20, 2009

Much of today was spent doing research for an upcoming GP cover story on the 40th anniversary of Woodstock. It was actually a lot of fun and very educational, combining web searches with lots of Guitar Player back issues. The old issues of GP are always fascinating to me. Many of the issues from the late ’70s and early ’80s, the first I got as a teenage subscriber, I can still quote from memory. The ones I was poring over today, however, from 1969-1972, are a little more foreign to me. I know the players, of course, with Chet Atkins, Mike Bloomfield, Jerry Garcia, et al gracing the pages, but the photos, the writing, and the questions asked were light years removed from what we do today. It’s actually amazing that they could put out monthly mags back then, with no computers, no Google, no All Music Guide, etc. The truly hilarious part of this experience, though, was the ads. It’s mind-blowing to see how Electro-Harmonix was hawking their LPB-1 Linear Power Booster (which I used in conjunction with an MXR Distortion+ to blow up a Fender Champ in my callow youth). The ads for Gretsch Guitars with Chet himself are awesome. There was a Fender ad with a guy holding a Mosrite to illustrate the point that even if you don’t play a Fender guitar, you can still use Fender amps, straps, pedals, picks, and strings. Then you have a metric ton of companies that are sadly no longer with us, like Kent and Plush amps, Bobby Lee guitar straps (with patented EZ-On EZ-Off technology), and the Tune E-Z Capo. Hopefully we’ll be able to make these back issues available here before long. In the meantime, if you see some tattered old GPs at a garage sale, buy them and flip through them. And remember what we learned from the Ampeg ad in the August 1971 issue: “Sure, transistors fit in nice in some of our far out Ampeg circuitry. But tubes, baby cakes, are the only way to boogie for getting those ultimate audio-orgasms across.” Word. —Matt Blackett


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