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Every spring the Guitar World staff gets restless with anticipation about the annual Buyer’s Guide shoot.

Sure, we can’t wait to show off the year’s best selection of gear. But we also love that it affords us an excuse to travel to exotic locations and hang with some scantily clad models.

We’ve used beaches and deserts as backdrops, but this time around we stumbled upon our wildest location yet: San Luis Obispo’s Madonna Inn. The landmark hotel’s kitschy, colorful rooms exuded a decadent playfulness that was perfectly matched to this year’s lovely models: Playboy’s Miss October 2012 Pamela Horton, Miss June 2012 Amelia Talon, and Miss February 2008 Michelle McLaughlin.

As you’ll see in the new buyer's guide — and in the behind-the-scenes photos below — the Playmates did a spectacular job showing off all the great gear.

Sadly, as much as we wanted to pull back the sheets and spend the night at the Madonna Inn, we were summoned to drive the Playmates back home to Los Angeles — a three-hour drive that involved many heated discussions over metal and video games. What can I say? We have it rough sometimes.

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Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.