Guitar World publisher set to cease employing bikini-clad models in gear guide magazines

Anyone who has stood in a shop and flicked through a guitar magazine over the past decade or so will likely be aware of Guitar World's yearly buyer's guide, which routinely features scantily clad models flaunting guitars and gear in all manner of awkward, improbable poses, but publisher NewBay Media has now announced it will put an end to these 'swimsuit editions' in future publications.

Speaking to Reverb, Bill Amstutz, vice president and general manager of the music group at NewBay, cites economic concerns as the primary reason for the change, but also acknowledges the arguably demeaning nature of the magazine's photography.

"We knew we were making a change and thought now was the time to stop with the models as well," Amstutz says.

"The main driver of this decision was economic, but bikini models were outdated"

"The main driver of this decision was economic, but bikini models were outdated, and we didn't want to associate the brand with what could easily be viewed as sexist, as a misrepresentation of women guitar players, or that women in general may find offensive. The number of women players is growing and we want to support them."

We're pleased to hear it. The move seems particularly timely given the recent release of St Vincent's Music Man signature model - itself designed to better accommodate women's bodies - which featured on the cover of last year's gear guide, positioned halfway up a model's back thigh (see above, far left) - probably not what Annie Clark had in mind.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.