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FENDER CEO Response to 'Is the Electric Guitar Dying?'


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That was interesting to watch. I was amazed to hear that 90% of first time guitar buyers give up on the instrument in just a few months. Wow. Especially given the advantage of all the online tools available now as opposed to when I was learning to play. I mean dang - we used to have to lift the needle and play a record over & over & over again to learn the solo of a song. That could take the better part of a day because most of us had cheap crappy record players back then along with crappy speakers and would end up learning the solo in the wrong key because our mono sound systems sucked and were muffled sounding.

 

I feel sorry for my Mom who had to endure hours and hours, days & weeks of horrible guitar playing by me. The first song I learned was the bass part to Louie Louie by Paul Revere & the Raiders. A friend stopped by and showed me the chords. I'm guessing I played that song probably 50 times before Mom sent me to get lessons [unsure] She must have loved me because she didn't kill me. [biggrin]

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I hear you Rev. Not sure how many record player needles I wore out trying to learn songs. "Words of Love" solo comes to mind, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I finally bought a reel to reel tape recorder LOL. I personally think that most people (regardless of age) who pick up a guitar really have no idea how difficult this can be to play (assuming you want to learn more than I - IV - V power chords - listen to his comment about "punk") and very quickly get frustrated and quit. Also to his point, I'm a "salmon". I've been playing since the early '60's and now own about 20 + guitars (combination of solid body/semi hollow/hollow/acoustic/electric/6 string/12 string/humbuckers/P90's/single coil/etc.) and a half dozen or so amps, so I guess I've made up for a few of those early quitters LOL.

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Consider this: The overall pop/rock music culture in general has drifted away from Guitar driven songs{sadly for folks like us},,think 60's+70's w/say Beach Boys,Hendrix,all the gtr bands of the 60's,,then,, Zepplin,Areosmith,,Kiss,VH, ect,,ect,and the countless hair bands of the 80's were all Gtr driven music mostly. But today with modern sampling gear,,one can call up a E-gtr sounding progression,,and a bass+ key board right from a sampling processor or keyboard sampler and piece together a "Song" without even knowing how to play a gtr,,or bass,,or keys! The music culture has changed to not so much gtr driver style music,,sure theres still New country, and some of the newer metal bands,,metallica,,avenge7 fold,,Volebeat foo fighters,,,,that has alot of Gtr in it,,but even the new country has changed to a "rock" sounding country music,,not so much traditional country. I think all this is just one of the fundamental reasons folks might say "The E-_gtr is dead" So,,what to do about it? I think the Gtr and "actually have to play the thing" instrument makers have a vested interest in somehow influencing/promoting gtr /and other "have to really play the thing" instruments into the music culture,,or at some point,,if most upcoming "musicians"{sometimes just" equipment owners" in many cases} are just getting a sampling device and not actually learning to play an instrument,,sales of real "have to really play the thing" instruments + E-Gtr will continue to decline, ,sadly.

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Interesting that ukulele sales are way up. Never would have guessed that. He made some good points there. I laughed when he brought up the statistic that the 10% of players who make it through the first year without quitting own 7 guitars on average. Guess how many I own!

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If electric guitar is dying, some say it is, other say it isn't, would it be all that surprising? It had a good run and all things come to an end. When my dad was a kid he wanted to learn guitar, electric was a distant dream but he'd settle for acoustic just like most his friends. My grandparents would have none of that nonsense though and instead forced him to take up a "proper" instrument which in their minds was the accordion. I doubt any kid my generation was forced into that one. Everything has its time.

 

I think we're part of the problem as well. I haven't seen it too much on this forum (maybe because the brand is what it is and people just stopped trying) but I'm sure it exists here also. You know how someone brings up a guitarist or a band that isn't the approved old blues players, or the blues rock player/bands, or the classic rock players/bands, and the "that's not real music", "those aren't real guitarists", "no feel, no tone" comments and so on will usually pile up. I'm not saying you're not allowed to think that way, or not allowed to say it. But I wouldn't be surprised if the whole guitar thing comes across as being pretty conservative to an outsider.

 

Also, consider this. Hendrix has been dead for what, soon 50 years? Still, when was the last time we saw a list, by editors or readers or website visitors, whatever, where he wasn't in the top 3. In most he'd be no1. No1 guitarist. Not just rock guitarist, but regardless of genre. No1. Always. Doesn't that seem weird to anyone? One could argue he is the best to ever pick up the instrument - fine with me. But that consistency is strange. 50 years. And nothing has happened? That should tell us something. Had we been talking about anything but guitarists or music we would have been shocked at the lack of development.

 

Another example. All those old bands and players, Page, Clapton you know them all better than I do. When I see or hear a teenager pick up the guitar and want to learn how to play that stuff, or already is playing it very well, it can feel like "yeah, that's so cool!" But in reality, this should be an odd thing, shouldn't it? Sure, people can always look back for inspiration, but should learning to play just like Jimmy Page be the prime objective of a 13 year old in 2017? What if Jimmy Page and the rest had done the same thing, replicating or at least taking the main influence to their creativity from what by now would be the music their grand parents grew up with? I have no idea what was popular music in the UK back when Page's grand parents were young, but I'm guessing we'd be back to that accordion, maybe a violin and someone doing a merry jig or what not. Led Zeppelin would have been sounding very different, at least.

 

Then realise that to most kids today, even those newer players I grew up with, be it the shredder virtuosos like Vai (I bought the Passion and Warfare album when it came out. I was 13 and spent a year trying to convince my mom that I REALLY needed a 7-string ibanez universe guitar, which at the time in Sweden cost the equivalent of a pretty good used car. She remained unconvinced.) or the metal shredders like Hammet, Friedman and so on, or the ones I discovered looking back and getting into fusion like DiMeola or McLaughlin... it's all dated to them. Even the anti shredder guitarists music that came in the 90's like Nirvana will be old and boring to most kids today. And maybe that's exactly how it should be.

 

I'm rambling at this point, so I'll just stop here. But all things considered, I'm not all surprised if kids today think of guitar and guitar oriented music as dated, or traditional or conservative. Because it kind of is. And as for giving up to learn the guitar, and electronic instruments and samples and such... we'll that's also a sign of the times. Work flow and the way of thinking creatively has changed. As a non music example. My town had a massive water leak last night. The whole water tower emptied into one block completely flooding it. This is a small town but we still have two local daily news papers. Reading the articles online this morning I'm not entirely sure they even sent a reporter out there. Comments from officials were most likely received as mobile texts by the look of the quotations, or taken from the town official websites. I'm not sure if it was all, but certainly most of the pictures of the flooding were from people living there or passing by having posted them online and then republished by the paper. Comments from people living in the building or having businesses seemed to be taken from their twitter feeds rather than going out there and talking to them. That's the way things work now, for music as well. No place for guitars there.

 

Also, I realised I probably haven't posted here in years. Weird topic to come back to. Not that i ever posted much anyway. Does this even make sense? I dunno bcs it's 3:45am.

 

Carry on.

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some of the newer metal bands,,metallica,,avenge7 fold,,Volebeat foo fighters,,,,

 

See, this is a good example of what I'm talking about. Absolutely no criticism towards you, so please forgive for using you as an example.

 

Metallica? They formed in 1981, 36 years ago. Debut album 1983, 34 years ago. Commercial big break, the black album 1991, 26 years ago. For some perspective, when Metallica formed, Led Zeppelin had only formed 13 years earlier.

 

Foo Fighters? They formed in 1994, 23 years ago. I started playing guitar at age 6 or 7, but I imagine most start in their early or mid teens. So, a few years to go unless we're talking unfortunate teen pregnancies here, but it's almost back to my reasoning of taking up music of previous generations.

 

Again, sorry for using your post as an example, no harm meant at all. But here I am, born in '77 calling you out on what appears to be a generational gap (I have no idea of how old you might be though!) Imagine what this looks like to a 14 year old, born in 2003. I think it's impossible for us to comprehend what a kid thinks of "our" music.

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1500150493[/url]' post='1868657']

That was interesting to watch. I was amazed to hear that 90% of first time guitar buyers give up on the instrument in just a few months. Wow. Especially given the advantage of all the online tools available now as opposed to when I was learning to play. I mean dang - we used to have to lift the needle and play a record over & over & over again to learn the solo of a song. That could take the better part of a day because most of us had cheap crappy record players back then along with crappy speakers and would end up learning the solo in the wrong key because our mono sound systems sucked and were muffled sounding.

 

I feel sorry for my Mom who had to endure hours and hours, days & weeks of horrible guitar playing by me. The first song I learned was the bass part to Louie Louie by Paul Revere & the Raiders. A friend stopped by and showed me the chords. I'm guessing I played that song probably 50 times before Mom sent me to get lessons [unsure] She must have loved me because she didn't kill me. [biggrin]

That's way too funny but true Rev. Thats how I did it too. Lift the needle and play it over and over till I learned the song. Heck, my guitar teacher which was my cousin taught me how to do it and he played in a band.

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Interesting that ukulele sales are way up. Never would have guessed that. He made some good points there. I laughed when he brought up the statistic that the 10% of players who make it through the first year without quitting own 7 guitars on average. Guess how many I own!

 

Lol - I'm guessing we're never going to be considered "average". I own enough gear to open a music store. We're dinosaurs Bro [biggrin]

 

For the record - I don't own a single ukulele [-(

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Consider this: But today with modern sampling gear,,one can call up a E-gtr sounding progression,,and a bass+ key board right from a sampling processor or keyboard sampler and piece together a "Song" without even knowing how to play a gtr,,or bass,,or keys!

 

And there you have it in one.

 

The vast majority of music production nowadays is done in bedrooms / studios with a keyboard but without the "producer" knowing or being able to play the thing very well. Of course, some can play very well indeed but many can't. Music is now machine driven.

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I think it's cyclical. Maybe a better way to describe it would be ephemeral, transitory or "it comes and goes". When my brother was in school in the 60s there were tons of garage bands. Seems like every kid (male anyway) either had an electric guitar or WANTED one. When I was in high school in the 70s, I could count on two hands the number of people in my school who played guitar. I had a guitar shop in the 80s and despite the popularity of synthesizers and keyboards, there was a whole new wave of kids wanting to play, due in no small part to the Floyd Rose fad. Better quality cheap Korean Strat copies and Gorilla amps helped too!

 

I don't follow the market and I've got no dog in the fight. If the electric guitar is waning in popularity, it'll be back. Not sure what flavor of guitar or what sub-genre of music that will rekindle it, but it will be back.

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I agree with ksdaddy on this. If you look back at the various decades guitar music has gone in and out of fashion. Personally, I don't follow trends or whatever is perceived to be 'cool' at the moment. In the late 80's and early 90's hip hop was huge and not guitar oriented, neither was the pop music of the time with stuff like D-Ream and Take That (hideous). The same could be said today with a lot of pop and urban music and genres like grime (I personally think this is the worst type of music I have ever heard!), but there are still a lot of guitar bands out there in the mainstream like Wolf Alice for one. They don't have a guitarist who stands out like many of the bands in the past, but at least they are bringing guitar to younger audiences. Having watched some of Glastonbury in the last few weeks, the guitar is still as prominent as ever I think. Having said that, I never listen to the radio or keep up with what's going on in the mainstream side of music, so I probably don't know much about what under 20 year olds are into at the moment. Maybe electric guitar in terms of rock music will become like classical or jazz guitar one day and be only for music connoisseurs, but I doubt it.

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Somebody forgot to tell this kid that the electric guitar was dead...

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Huj1JG4jUYE

 

exactly. every generation produces Biebers and the like. Just like every generation produces kids sitting in their bedroom learning Smoke on the Water, Sweet Home Alabama, Sweet Child O'mine, 50 years from now one camp with be listening to God knows what while the other camp is still listening to Howlin' Wolf.

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If you permit me some cynicism, guitar companies must still be turning enough of a profit to make it worth their while. Then there are cyclical recessions. And I believe attention spans are getting shorter, which it is my duty as a 40- y o to blame on cellphones... But I do not for a second believe the electric guitar is in any danger.

 

We've heard it too many times. Punk was supposedly dead in '79... And so on...

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Seems like a decent enough chap...

 

 

I agree. Although, being 'Merican, I probably would have worded it like "he seems like a pretty cool dude" B)

 

I found the comment interesting, about how if they can just increase new player retention rate by 10%, it could double hardware sales. :-k

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I agree. Although, being 'Merican, I probably would have worded it like "he seems like a pretty cool dude" B)

 

I found the comment interesting, about how if they can just increase new player retention rate by 10%, it could double hardware sales. :-k

If you didn't see it in an earlier thread.. I think this is why they started this

 

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Interesting that ukulele sales are way up. Never would have guessed that...

I think that you can thank one George Harrison for that, and as someone once told me, "It's hard to be in a bad mood when you have a ukelele in your hands". And yes, I own a uke (and a 5 string banjo too)!

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When I was teaching guitar, about 20 to 30% of those people taking lessons would actually practice and stick with it. About another 10 - 20% of the people would try a little bit but didn't often practice. There was a huge dropout rate for the younger students. I had my best luck teaching students that were teens or adults because they would stick with it longer than younger students. I took piano lessons from 2nd to 5th grade before quitting piano lessons in 1976 and buying an acoustic guitar in 1977. I would bang around on it, learned a few chords but didn't take it serious until I got an electric guitar in 1979 for Christmas. A year and a half later, I started taking lessons. I could play a few songs and chords and could read music. Tablature was just starting to become popular when I started taking lessons, or at least that's when I first heard about it. Another year and a half and at 17 years old, I was teaching.

 

Throughout the years, I've heard numerous times that guitar is dead, rock is dead, metal is dead, blah, blah, blah. I remember hearing this during the disco era, new wave, dance, rap, and whatever other phase there was. I went to see Disturbed, along with Breaking Benjamin, Alter Bridge and Saint Asonia last summer. The fans there apparently didn't get the memo because it was packed with screaming fans. It'll take another band, who actually play their instruments, to come along and be popular. Then you'll have another wave of guitar based music to follow. Even Lady Gaga has a guitar player.

 

At last count, there are seven guitars in my house, although one of them belongs to my 19 year old son who also hasn't heard guitar music is dead. His favorite band is Disturbed and he likes all kinds of metal and guitar music. I didn't even know hew knew of Yes but he was working on Roundabout the other day and I was helping him learn where the harmonics are. He loves his new Strat and has been playing it daily along with my classical guitar. A couple of his friends play too. They also didn't get the memo. My 15 year old's favorite band is Five Finger Death Punch and he also likes guitar based music. I'm not sure where they're getting this from. Oh, wait...

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