What’s Inside: Fretboard Journal 53

The Fretboard Journal is unlike any guitar magazine you’ve ever seen: Barely any ads and more coffee table book than magazine. Subscribe today and get our all-new, 53rd edition (out now) or our forthcoming 54th issue (March 2024).

Dubbed “the guitar magazine for grownups,” the FJ is lovingly crafted to share great storytelling, amazing music, and the stories behind the gear. Our issues are filled with interviews, photo essays, and histories that you won’t find anywhere else.

Acoustic and electric instruments…legendary players and upstarts…we love it all.

As with all of our issues, supplies are limited and subscribers get first dibs. Advertising is limited to less than 15% of each 128-page issue. Subscribe here and select “Get Current Issue” to begin with this edition.

Ben Harper is surrounded by hundreds of instruments, but when it came time to record 2023’s Wide Open Light – the acclaimed musician turned to just a few. FJ publisher Jason Verlinde and Ben sit down next to a wall of vintage guitars to talk about how a modern-day Taylor helped Ben find his sound, the magic found in Fraulini Guitars, and more. We also talk Dumbles, recording techniques and so much more. Read an excerpt here.


In a Fretboard Journal first, guitarist, FJ contributor and Patagonia-endorsed fly fisherman Nathanial Riverhorse Nakadate interviews jazz guitar phenom and avid sportsman Dan Wilson from (where else?) a canoe floating down a river in Texas.

How to describe Nashville’s Maple Byrne? He’s a sideman, a roadie, and a consummate guitar collector. Mostly, he’s just cool. Cameron Knowler interviews Maple about his days on, and off, the road…and checks out of some of his favorite guitars.

Jamie Stillway – stellar musician and host of our new Guitar for Introverts podcast (Apple podcast link) – sits down with Joanna Sternberg, the NYC-based multi-instrumentalist behind one of 2023’s most critically acclaimed albums.

It’s hard not to love the output of Mathias Chau, a Canadian visual artist making waves on social media for transforming partscaster bodies into one-of-a-kind statements. His output is functional, uber-detailed, and frankly kinda adorable. Stellar photographer Derek Bruneau visits Chau’s studio and captures the artist at work.

Duneland Lab’s Bob Palmieri is a polymath. For guitarists and makers in the know (including Nels Cline and Ken Parker) he’s the go-to guy for custom pickups. Contributor David Royek interviews Palmieri about the magic found in his creations.

Mark Finkelpearl interviews pedal and electronics wizard Fran Blanche of Frantone Electronics. Fran was the vanguard of the boutique pedal movement but her story – including a cameo from Dick Dale – is like no other.

Plus: 100 years of the Gibson L-5, Mass Street Music’s Jim Baggett, Robbie Basho’s 12-string guitar, and plenty more.

Thanks to our community of subscribers, contributors, and sponsors for helping make this issue a reality.

Want this issue? Subscribe today and we’ll send it to you.


Previous Issues