Miscellaneous Rumbles

Who Will Save the Guitar?

1

Guitar Player magazine this month started a year long series of articles about the future of the guitar.

The major problem is that millennials and Gen Y folks are not nearly as enamored of the instrument as previous generations. Total sales have been flat for the last 5 years. 50% of sales are to new guitar players but 90% abandon the instrument within 1 year. Interestingly 60% of the new players are women, inspired by Taylor Swift. An increasing percentage of sales are to people over 45, although as the baby boomers and Generation X age, this is not a good long term strategy.

What do you think?

2

Sales of accordions and horns have been down since the '50s. Popularity of music and the instruments that produce it comes and goes. Now, more popular music is being made on computer than on instruments. When they call DJs and dancers musicians, you know things have changed.

3

ummmm....most of my favorite guitarists are from the 50's and 60's...good music never dies, even after 50 or hundreds of years

young people are stupid, lazy, and their music sux

the next generation might be different

and people will always like Led Zeppelin and their stolen songs...bwaaahahahaha

no accounting for taste

4

New guitar sales may not tell the whole story and there are a lot of guitars already out there to play and buy. I think flat sales on new guitars for 5 years is pretty good. I haven't read guitar player mag for years.

5

New guitar sales may not tell the whole story and there are a lot of guitars already out there to play and buy. I think flat sales on new guitars for 5 years is pretty good. I haven't read guitar player mag for years.

– GaryL

that mag sux...

Vintage Guitar is about the best going

6

In the 80s, it was predicted that synths would be guitar killers. That didn't happen.

7

It seems that GP is betting at least a year.

8

I’m actually not worried about it. I don’t believe that the guitar needs to be saved. I think that there will always be people out there who will find a way to play it.

While recent years have seen the use of guitar in popular music lessen somewhat from a peak in the late 60s, there are still very few bands out there who are not basing their sound on a guitar of some sort. It’s still very much the mainstay in blues, jazz, R&B, country, and folk music, not to forget classical guitar, which has never really gone away. People who want to play the guitar will always find a way to include it in their music.

Just like we did.

When I started out (in the days of black and white TV), 12strings had just ridden into our consciousness on the shoulders of Leadbelly, Pete Seeger, Paul Stookey, the New Christie Minstrels and others. I decided then and there that the 12string was “my” guitar, and in the fifty years since, it has been. No matter what or where I’ve played, a 12 has never been too far away from the stage, and I found ways to work it’s sound into surf & R&B as well as the folk music that was my mainstay from the early 70s onward. Glen Campbell’s ” The Astounding 12string guitar of..” was my bible, and I wore out two copies of the album trying to emulate what he was doing.

These days, just like many of us who attempted to be “just like” Duane, or Jimi or Glen or Roger, and despite the aural onslaught of sampling, rapping and hip-hopping, there are thousands of Taylor Swift wanna-be’s, each writing their songs in their rooms on their acoustics, while a few years ago their older sisters were wielding variations of the Rickenbackers used by Suzanna Hoffs, and so it goes. Likewise, there are young men writing and playing songs like Five for Fighting and Maroon 5, among others. They follow traditions that go farther back than any of us here, today.

Seventy years ago, my mother sought to play piano like Rubenstein, while Dad tried to be Canada’s Harry James (minus the scandals). Neither instrument vanished under the onslaught of guitars in the 1950’s, and both have risen and fallen in popularity as the years turn. In our town, Herb Alpert and Al Hirt generated a lot of interest in the trumpet in the 60s, which may have led to bands like Chicago & Tower of Power in other cities, who knows? More recently, Sarah McLachlan and David Foster (among others) have turned young people on to the use of piano in pop music once again.

Sooner or later, some guitar slinger will rise above the noise and do the same thing for our favorite instrument, I am sure of it.

9

Bruno Mars and Taylor Smith, like it or not, will inspire more people to pick up a guitar than, say, Eric Clapton, Joe Bonomassa, or Steve Vai.

10

I think it is all about being entertained.

When you enjoy being entertained watching someone play something cool and fun with a guitar, ... you want to play guitar, too.

11

The guitar isn't dying. New guitars are better and more consistent than they've ever been, technology is making good tone easier, cheaper, and lighter, and the resources for learning are endless and free.

Let GP whine if it sells more issues. This is the best time in history to be a guitar player. And tomorrow will be even better.

12

Maybe NEW guitar sales are down, but guitar groups on Facebook are getting bigger and bigger (including the Rocksmith Facebook groups where people are posting their learning progress). Perhaps the market is just saturated and the greatness and consistency of today's guitars make for a better deal when it comes to second-hand. I'm sure it doesn't help that the vintage and relic market are/were more than happy to say that yesterday's guitars were better in some way. They should have fought tooth and nail to maintain that new guitars are the best guitars and you should rather die than buy an old (never say vintage) guitar, but they didn't. What an unexpected consequence of them cashing in on a trend of made-to-order vintage-ish guitars!

13

If this means that vintage prices will come down, I am all for it. If it means they will become increasingly embalmed in collectors' closets, well they weren't accessible to me anyway.

And violins, violas, cellos, double-basses, pianos, ouds, and zithers of every stripe are still being made.

We have enough reasons to despair in today's world. The status of the guitar is the least of our worries.

14

Who will save the guitar? My guess? The aliens...

15

Rock (and it's predecessor Rock and Roll) have already been dead for a long time. It was around longer than any form of popular music that preceded it.

While mandolin orchestras and banjo orchestras before them are both dead, a LL F5 mandolin can command more money than any guitar. But there are scores of other Gibson mandolins from the same period that are less expensive than you can purchase for about the same price as new.

Sure, there will be some luddites who will play it, but it's far from the dominant force in popular music after it's last gasp in the 90's.

16

I'm pretty pessimistic about it. Guitars will never go away entirely, but in a lot of ways, it's been turning into an "old guy's instrument" pretty fast, and it doesn't look like that's going to change any time soon.

17

OK. Sick of seeing this question at the top of the page. So I will answer it.

I will. I will save the guitar.

Which guitar? Where is it?

18

I've got sons that play.

They have lots of friends that play.

Lots of these magazine article authors have their heads up their asses.

19

The guitar will never go away...but guitar oriented rock music? I think it's already dead.

20

OK. Sick of seeing this question at the top of the page. So I will answer it.

I will. I will save the guitar.

Which guitar? Where is it?

– Strummerson

Thanks for stepping up.

21

I've got sons that play.

They have lots of friends that play.

Lots of these magazine article authors have their heads up their asses.

– crowbone

Lots of young people play guitar, but industry numbers don't lie. It's not easy to sell guitars, hasn't been for a while, and most sales are to people who have sons, not to sons.

22

Bruno Mars and Taylor Smith, like it or not, will inspire more people to pick up a guitar than, say, Eric Clapton, Joe Bonomassa, or Steve Vai.

– crowbone

So, Bruno Mars' last video has had close to one billion views. With a B. That's a very good thing. Taylor Swift is the #1 touring artist of the last five years. All good for guitars and young players.

23

So, Bruno Mars' last video has had close to one billion views. With a B. That's a very good thing. Taylor Swift is the #1 touring artist of the last five years. All good for guitars and young players.

– Deed Eddy

I'll tell you this: My 8 year old nephew, who hadn't any interest in picking up a guitar prior to my sister taking him to a Bruno Mars concert.

That following Sunday I get a rare call from him, telling me he really wants to learn how to play.

I hooked him up with one of those Jr. Strats and an amp, and he's off to the races.

24

Let's make the Guitar GREAT again!

25

New Rule: All pictures of Donald Trump must be accompanied by a pie in the face:


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