I’m always torn when the mainstream media covers guitarists. I can’t help but be happy, because any coverage of guitarcraft in the broad universe of straight news can reach out and seduce new blood into our community of serious players. On the other hand, straight-media coverage of what we do is often so dorky, misguided, or just plain lame that reading such reports is an invitation to a case of the willies. For example, a venerated rock magazine recently launched a cover story on “The New Guitar Gods.” Extremely worthy players where chosen, including John Frusciante, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Kaki King, John Mayer, Nels Cline, Tom Morello, and Jack White. But while the author is a proven sage of pop-music culture, the premise of his cover feature—new guitar gods—was compromised by elements very clear to those existing within guitar culture.

For one thing, few of the listed players are “new” talents (most debuted between 1980 and 1999), or can be categorized as leaders of a post-Millennium generation of guitar heroes (no Avenged Sevenfold or Children of Bodom or My Chemical Romance or even an aging-but-still-vastly-influential-to-the-kids Zakk Wylde?). The guitarslingers of the past were reflections of their time. Hendrix, Clapton, Page, and Beck were big news from the first time they exploded upon the scene in the ’60s—and the same was true for the revered guitar heroes of the ’70s and ’80s. None of these players “ramped up” for a few years until the press said, “Whoa, these guys are good. We should call them the ‘new’ crop of guitar gods.”

More critically, the very idea of a guitar hero has morphed into something less, well, heroic. In an era where everything musical has been done, and even the best of today’s “commercial” guitarists ply tones and techniques established decades before, it’s near impossible to find players with astoundingly different approaches. We now reside in a more egalitarian guitar society where many are badasses, but few reach the stratospheric level of a Hendrix.

It would be great if journalists took the time to more accurately educate the greater public about guitarcraft, but, then again, if newspapers and news mags did do a good job of comprehensively detailing the wonders of the guitar, I guess there’d be little reason for Guitar Player to exist. So please continue to communicate your needs and desires through our forums, because we’re obsessed with being your number-one resource for the deep guitar lore that helps you sound better and play better. We know you, because we are you.