"In 1973, my ongoing interest in journalism, combined with a deep love for music and the guitar in particular, inspired me to compile and publish some of the information I was discovering through my own research in the field.
The timing seemed perfect, as Guitar News, a British periodical and the only other (English language) publication we knew of specifically dedicated to the classic style guitar, had just gone under.
We wrote a letter to the former publishers of Guitar News to inform them of our intent, and ask if they might be willing to help us in any way. They politely declined. The only piece of advice they were willing to share was to recommend that we consider dropping the project altogether, as they did not believe that it was possible that “anyone can make money out of a guitar magazine”. Rarely, if ever, did such advice dissuade us, since the making of money was never our main objective.
In fact, our magazine Creative Guitar International, ended up playing a pivotal roll in our future endeavors. Through it we made connections with guitar and music lovers, scholars, and composers the world over, people who became our friends and colleagues.
We had the first issue (Vol.1, No.1) offset printed in an edition of 250 copies. Afterwards we decided that we could save money by investing in a small press and doing the printing ourselves. We purchased an A.B. Dick table top model offset press for $2,000 along with two $800 state-of-the-art I.B.M. Selectric and Excutive model electric typewriters. By today’s standards, the whole operation was rather quaint. I used press-type (special sticky-backed letters that came in sheets) for headlines. Images were first burned onto a metal plate, then transmitted to a rubber roller, then onto the paper.
We published 17 issues of CGI in editions of between 250 and 500 (enough to qualify for bulk-rate postage) between 1973 and 1979, and had subscribers in 40 countries.
Through the magazine, we solicited advice and commentary, and received fascinating articles from masters in the field, such as Graham Wade, Colin Cooper, Gilbert Biberian, Konrad Wölki, Michael Wright, and Reed Maxson. We printed reviews of performances by Julian Bream and the Omega Quartet, and expounded on teaching techniques and available method books (including our own). We were not afraid to publish controversial research on the history of the guitar, or, having our finger on the pulse of the outstanding world of classic guitar in Mexico, challenge conventional Euro-centric ideas.
Perhaps most valuable of all, it was through CGI that we solicited manuscripts. When composers learned of our family of five guitarists, they began to write music especially for us. At the time, interesting arrangements for five classic guitars were rare. “Guitaristic” pieces – ones written with special sensitivity to how the guitar in particular works – were especially few and far between.
We were honored and delighted to receive works from noted composers written especially for our family. Over the years, we enjoyed learning and performing pieces by Reed Maxson, Gilbert Biberian, Terrence Croucher, Graham Wade, Hansjoachim Kaps, Kurt-Joachim Friedel, Paul Karvonen, and Siegfried Behrend, – respected composers/artists who also became dear friends."
Jeremy H. Mock, 2004
The text above was part of a memoir my father was working on before he died in 2008. The writings were about "The Mock Family Guitarists" and our adventures performing and giving workshops in North America and Europe in the mid to late '70s. Upon reviewing the issues of "Creative Guitar International" (CGI), I found much information that could be of interest today. Aside from presenting a historical perspective, CGI has many articles about unique playing and practicing techniques, as well as suggested repetoire for solo and guitar ensembles. Although the first three volumes are not exceptionally diverse in scope, by the fifth issue (Spring 1975) there is an article by Colin Cooper, who was freelance writing during that time. The seventh issue (Fall 1975) has an article on the microtonal composer from Mexico, Julián Carrillo by John Ford and sheet music from a composition by Reed Maxson. I will be uploading each issue as time permits. I apologize for errors in grammar and format, some of which are beyond my technical ability to correct. Please feel free to contact me with questions or suggestions.
Julian Mock, May 2013
image by Reed Maxson