Fretboard Journal second issue available now
Not many new magazine titles interest me. It's rare to find magazines that are the inspired work of people who love great design, the written word, and the subject of whatever it is the magazine is about. That's because most magazines are launched by big companies to fill some kind of perceived hole in the market into which ads can be pumped in.
The Fretboard Journal is not like one of those shake and bake corparate launches. The second issue just came out, and even though I'm not a stringed-instrument fanatic (I do like ukuleles), the editors' love for guitars, ukes, basses, madolins and banjoes radiates off the pages and is infectious.
Everything about The Fretboard Journal -- published by Amazon.com's former music editor, Jason Verlinde and edited by guitar author and historian Michael Simmons -- is an example of the right way to make a magazine. The paper is thick and coated just right for the luscious color photographs and rich black and white photographs. The design is thoughtful and playful but always respectful of the fact that the articles are meant for reading. The articles are enjoyable to neophytes and (I suppose) old salts alike.
The second issue has a cover story about Neko Case and her tenor (4-stringed) guitar collection, a story written by a guy who made a fantastic sculpture of Blind Willie Johnson, an interview with experimental guitarist Richard Bishop, a profile of premiere banjo maker Chuck Ogsbury, a gallery of gorgeous vintage string packets from the early 20th century, a profile of C.F. Martin III, a review of a 20-CD set of Django Reinhardt's work, and more.
A one-year subscription is $34. Link