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What were Guitar World's first-ever tab transcriptions?

Paul Gilbert
(Image credit: Future)

#GuitarWorld40: In 2020, Guitar World marks its 40th anniversary. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we’ll be sharing key moments from the magazine’s storied history, taking you inside the guitars, the stars and the bizarre from 40 years of the world’s biggest guitar magazine.

GW has been printing transcribed music since its inception in one form or another, starting out with brief instructional segments in various how-to columns and eventually moving on to bits and pieces from popular songs (the solo from Charlie Christian’s Solo Flight in the January 1982 issue may be the first instance of actual tablature in the magazine).

The first complete guitar and bass transcriptions – the somewhat odd pairing of Racer X’s Scarified (co-written by Paul Gilbert, pictured) and Michael Hedges’ Ragamuffin – appeared in the May 1988 issue, establishing Guitar World as a force to be reckoned with in the burgeoning world of guitar tabs.

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As a teenager, Jeff Kitts began his career in the mid ’80s as editor of an underground heavy metal fanzine in the bedroom of his parents’ house. From there he went on to write for countless rock and metal magazines around the world – including Circus, Hit Parader, Metal Maniacs, Rock Power and others – and in 1992 began working as an assistant editor at Guitar World. During his 27 years at Guitar World, Jeff served in multiple editorial capacities, including managing editor and executive editor before finally departing as editorial director in 2018. Jeff has authored several books and continues to write for Guitar World and other publications and teaches English full time in New Jersey. His first (and still favorite) guitar was a black Ibanez RG550.