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From Steve Vai to Cobra Kai, plus an exclusive Frank Zappa flashback – only in the new Guitar World

March 2022
(Image credit: Larry DiMarzio)

“At that point, I thought, ‘OK, this is what it feels like at the end of the road. I’m going to have to retire from the thing I love.”

That quote is from none other than Steve Vai, who – after back-to-back surgeries (one on his shoulder and another on his thumb) – was in danger of possibly having to give up the guitar for good. Luckily, Vai is no quitter, so he basically stopped complaining and put in the work required to keep him in his natural spot — at the top of the guitar-playing universe. 

Along the way, he recorded a dazzling new album and picked up a crazy, triple-neck guitar called the Hydra – custom built by Ibanez, of course!

The new issue of Guitar World is on sale now.

March 2022

(Image credit: Larry DiMarzio)

Other features

When Frank Zappa shut up n' stopped playing guitar
Guitar World’s founding editor-in-chief brings us back to his eye-opening (and previously unpublished) 1986 interview with Frank Zappa, who – at that time, anyway – had actually given up guitar because he didn't see the point.

Meet Cobra Kai's guitar guys!
How Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson – composers on Netflix's blockbuster series, Cobra Kai – craft the perfect (not to mention badass) Eighties-style score. We also check in with series star William Zabka – aka Eagle Fang sensei Johnny Lawrence – who’s been playing guitar (and loving hair metal) since his The Karate Kid and Back to School days.

Warren Haynes gets the blues
He might be one of our most beloved blues-rock guitarists, but he’s never made a full-on blues album – until now! Find out about this latest album with Gov't Mule.

B.B. King, Alex Lifeson, Joe Bonamassa, the Monkees & more
This month we kick off a new column – “Tales from Nerdville” – by Joe Bonamassa. In Tonal Recall, we reveal B.B. King’s tone secrets, based on a famous live version of The Thrill Is Gone. In Tune-Ups, we catch up with Rush’s Alex Lifeson, plus Turnstile, the Darkness, Emily Wolfe, Arjen Lucassen, Beach Goons and Buffalo Nichols – and we say farewell to the Monkees’ Michael Nesmith.

Gear reviews
This month’s gear reviews include the Squier Contemporary Strat Special HT and Paranormal Toronado, Electro-Harmonix’s Dirt Road Special amp, the Boss SY-200 Synthesizer pedal and more.

Song transcriptions
This month’s song transcriptions are Dead Inside by Nita Strauss, plus Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Soul to Squeeze and the Beatles’ Come Together.

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Damian Fanelli
Damian Fanelli

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor, and his non-Pulitzer-Prize-winning stories have appeared in Guitar Aficionado, Vintage Guitar, Total Guitar and countless other publications, including 13.7 metric tons of daily newspapers. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton and Ty Tabor chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (one of which appears in the 2015 Disney film 'Tomorrowland' starring George Clooney and Britt Robertson). He's in two NYC-area bands and plays Teles with four-way switches, B-benders and semi-snazzy aftermarket pickups. He quotes Terry-Thomas twice daily.