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Bass Player magazine to close, as brand moves fully online

Bass PLayer covers
(Image credit: Future)

It is with great regret, a lot of sadness and a whole load of optimism that the Bass Player team announces the end of BP’s print magazine. 

We’ve faced challenges over the last few years, through a difficult retail landscape and an actual pandemic, to maintain Bass Player as a profitable magazine, but 2022’s dramatic increase in costs for us and our suppliers – paper, printing, fuel, distribution to name a few – mean that its print edition is no longer viable. 

Arguably, Bass Player’s content has never been better, and sales and subscription numbers are healthy, so the problem is not that people don’t want to read BP. It’s the cost of publishing a physical magazine in an impossibly difficult market that has caused the end of the best bass mag ever. 

Every cloud has a silver lining, though. The time has come to focus 100 percent on the brand’s huge and growing online community. 

Bass Player Editor Joel McIver will join the online team, running the Bass Player channel on GuitarWorld.com (the very site you’re reading this on), and serving BP’s growing digital audience with daily news, reviews and features, plus all-new video lessons.

I'll miss the print magazine but I also think that the bass community will be much better served by us putting all of our efforts into Bass Player’s digital side.

Joel McIver, Bass Player Editor

“I’ll miss the print magazine, that goes without saying,” says Joel, “but I also think that the bass community will be much better served by us putting all of our efforts into Bass Player’s digital side, as part of Guitar World. 

“Until now, Bass Player’s online content has only consisted of material from the magazine. Now we can focus on delivering new and exclusive stories and videos that appeal to the global bass community on a daily basis.

“We thank everyone who’s ever bought an issue of Bass Player, all the players who gave us their wisdom and their time, and all the writers, photographers, designers, bass players, educators and gear manufacturers who made the world of bass such a great place to be. We will strive to do you proud at Bass Player’s newly online home.”

The magazine’s last issue goes on sale on September 13 in the US and three days later in the UK. Subscribers will be contacted shortly. 

Bass player issue 1

The debut issue of Bass Player magazine, spring 1990. (Image credit: Future)

Bass Player magazine was founded in 1988 as a spinoff of Guitar Player (opens in new tab) magazine. Two trial issues paved the way for issue 1 in 1990, featuring Billy Sheehan on its cover: 32 years and 426 issues later, he’s in the final issue too.

The new magazine was an instant success. Before Bass Player, musicians looking for bass information only had the occasional review in Guitar Player to keep them happy. BP soon became the biggest and best bass brand in the world, a position it has always retained, not least because the bassists who appeared in its pages were also the very biggest and best on the planet. 

BP’s first editor Jim Roberts knew what he was doing, blazing an editorial trail that combined information with education and added a ton of entertainment on top. Regular cover stars in the early years included rock stars like Geddy Lee, Flea, Les Claypool, Tina Weymouth, Prince and Jason Newsted, and fusion monsters such as Victor Wooten, Stanley Clarke, Jeff Berlin and Marcus Miller. 

Heroes of the past for whom BP came too late for an interview – Jaco Pastorius, Charles Mingus and James Jamerson among them – still got much-deserved covers, with BP’s staff knowing full well how important those pioneers were to today’s bassists.

BP didn’t just stick to headline names, though, and as subsequent editors Karl Coryat, Richard Johnston, Bill Leigh, Jonathan Herrera, Brian Fox and Chris Jisi guided the magazine into the new century, newer bass players such as Meshell Ndegeocello, Michael Manring, Fieldy, Tony Kanal, Thundercat and Justin Chancellor all got plenty of page space.

The regular Bass Day added a live strand to BP’s role, expanding into the Bass Player LIVE! event that became a must-visit for a generation of bassists. We also awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards in most years, a tradition that we’ll be proudly continuing: a BP award on even the biggest bassist’s shelf is something to treasure, as you’ll recall from the reactions of Gail Ann Dorsey, John Taylor, Marcus Miller and Charles Berthoud last year.

In the internet age, Bass Player has continued to grow, with almost 500,000 followers on social media and millions of bass players reading its stories online every month. It will continue as an online platform – as one of the channels on Guitar World, the world’s biggest website for guitarists.

The second phase of Bass Player’s career is about to begin. Stay with us – good times are ahead!

Bookmark the Bass Player channel on Guitar World. Sign up on this page (see top right) to our newsletter The Pick for the latest from the world of bass.

Some classic Bass Player covers: 

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Bass Player is the world’s most comprehensive, trusted and insightful bass publication for passionate bassists and active musicians of all ages. Whatever your ability, BP has the interviews, reviews and lessons that will make you a better bass player. We go behind the scenes with bass manufacturers, ask a stellar crew of bass players for their advice, and bring you insights into pretty much every style of bass playing that exists, from reggae to jazz to metal and beyond. The gear we review ranges from the affordable to the upmarket and we maximise the opportunity to evolve our playing with the best teachers on the planet.