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Sea Change on the Horizon


fortyearspickn

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No, Not Chevy Silverados and F150s....

Are the Big 3 focusing more "R&D" in the areas of on board electronics than improving the sound of the good ol' wooden guitar by itself?

If it's possible, for players to get more, better sound, and greater variety and choice, by adjusting and replacing electronics and amps, etc. - does it make it more attractive a direction for Gibson, Martin and Taylor to spend more money in exploring the marketability of their new products based on Hi-Tech stuff, and not the actual acoustic guitar?

Have we reached a tipping point - where, knowing we can swap out electronics, pedals, amps, etc - we're less concerned with acquiring acoustic guitars that sound great? Better to acquire a guitar that provides a good, relatively inexpensive platform from which to play with? Pun intended.

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The construction of the acoustic guitar is, with minor changes in shapes and bracing between makers and models, pretty much established and to my thinking there's not much to be done to make any more than token improvements in tone. And acoustic electronics are quite good these days and outside of some brand new audio technology being discovered it's come down to individuals tweaking the signal chain and EQ with their chosen pickup and/or microphone. The sea change we are in the midst of now is materials: the woods used to build them. Rosewood, ebony and high quality mahogany are becoming precious, leading to R&D efforts focusing on alternatives.......walnut, cherry and a host of others. The day will come when there are no more traditional material guitars being built new and future generations of guitarists will look back in envy at the instruments we play today........and coughing up stupid prices to own one of them!

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I think most of us who hang out here are in fact dinosaurs. Young people making music today don't need acoustic guitars to make the sound of an acoustic guitar. Any sound can be sampled and generated by modeling software. You no longer need to know how to play a guitar in order to create guitar sounding music. The skills needed to create great music are still there, but they are instead in the digtal domain, not fingers on a guitar neck. Having to go through an acoustic guitar, into a pickup, and then into a computer is just not making sense for the younger crowd anymore. The sounds are already in the computer, righ where they need them, to start with. Music being created in the moment, as it is being performed, is dying. Today music is programmed, and hence playing means hitting the play button.

 

There will always be guitars, but the days of the guitar being THE instrument might belong to the past. I recently heard that hip-hop and R&B are now for the first time outselling rock/pop and other guitar related genres. As we the dinosaurs get older and fewer, that statistic will look even grimmer for the guitar, I believe. So I'm not sure guitars made of soon extinct woods will be as sort after in the future as we sometimes think (and hope) today.

 

Also, for young artists today, I see the guitar more as a stage prop than a instrument they need for their craft. They have other tools for that, like the device you are reading this on.

 

I think guitar manufacturers need to be very good at spotting future trends in order to stay profitable. They need to predict what the young generation needs to make music their way, and not rely on tradition to save them. Traditional guitars with improved pickups will likely not be enough. I think this is why Gibson is trying so hard with their robot/modeling guitars and self tuning guitars etc; the kind of stuff dinosaurers don't care for...

 

Lars

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I disagree

There are plenty of acoustic musicians

 

If Gibson or Martin or any big guys don't provide them it'll be a chance for the smaller makers to get their foot in the door

 

think of Dylan at Newport with his strat , surely that was the end of acoustic , but no.

It's no different this time , trends change but everything comes full circle

 

Don't be turnin into the old guy at the bus stop who complains that things ain't like they used to be

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There are exceptions...

 

I said there are exceptions, but there is NO market for acoustic music. If there was, Sirius would have an acoustic channel. Instead they have a Coffee shop thing with metrosexual droning and whining.

 

The Bluegrass channel is restricted by the "Rules" of Bluegrass.

 

The Blues channel does acoustic blues on Sunday morning.

 

Here's a question.

 

How many members of THIS acoustic forum are under age 25?

 

:-k

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Dave Van Ronk remarked once years ago that, in his view, technology has always preceded music - and that was way before the kinds of things we're seeing now. At the time, I agreed with him, but only in a strictly academic sort of way. At present, he sounds like a prophet. Doesn't mean I like it - after all, I'm well past 25 and a hardcore acoustic Luddite😎

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.....there is NO market for acoustic music.

 

Sad but increasingly true. It still has local presence on small stages. Personally I am shocked, shocked I tell ya, at the popularity of hip-hop and similar genres..........it is an affront to my senses......and there's no acoustic guitar happening there. But they'll have to pry my Gibson out of my cold, dead hands before they put me in the ground.

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I think what pushed me over the edge was the acceptance and popularity of adding a guy to the band whose job was to scratch old vinyl records. I abhor hip-hop-rap and, although others here disagree, don't believe it qualifies as being "Music". I'm sure that's how the previous generation felt about Rock & Roll, but, I'm a dyed in the wool, bus stop seated, fossilized walrus and feel I have to draw the line somewhere. Same as claiming elephants can produce modern art paintings. The problem, to me, is that if you're a lazy 15 year old, you can spend (even more) time on your computer learning how to produce ( not "create") sounds that other 15 year olds with zero refined taste in Music, will validate as good. This is tempting. Because it is much easier, a al immediate gratification, than spending years learning to play an acoustic guitar. Are there hundreds of thousands of great young people learning to play the trumpet in their HS band? Yes. They're also learning algebra, but have no plans on using it. A friend who graduated a year ago from HS and went away to college. Had to call home to get instructions on how to make coffee.Instant coffee.

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This guy's doing pretty well for himself these days: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O_xl13ZHXI. Of course any time acoustics are played before an audience there's going to be some kind of electronic assist, whether a PA or a pickup or more.

 

A lot depends, too, on whether you're thinking in terms of pop. If we're talking about people who sell millions and appear in megastadiums--I don't spend much time listening to that music.

 

However, there is a lot of really outstanding acoustic music being played. Often it is hybrid with an electric as part of the ensemble. Sometimes the same performer plays sometimes with acoustic and sometimes electric.

 

I do think that computer composition and performance is "a" wave of the present and future. Maybe if/when robots completely take over, we will be superfluous, along with acoustic guitars. I just hope we are relegated to a nice place together.

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This guy's doing pretty well for himself these days: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_O_xl13ZHXI.

 

 

 

Yes, don't forget young Ed selling tunes by the bucketload with his little mini acoustic! He has helped create the whole mini acoustic guitar revolution with his mini Martin and once word was out that his home picker was the Wee Lowden, well, they can't make them fast enough and the Wee is Lowden's best seller...not a cheapo little mini but full price top of the line.... And Martin are bringing out another Ed sig model....

 

 

And I had Acid Loops and Band in a Box a long while ago, so the electronica stuff isn't that new, but just easier to do - my poor laptop at the time smoked itself trying to run loops!

 

BluesKing777.

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So much for acoustic guitars......and bands......the revolution is here.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVDJ8O3lPBA&feature=youtu.be

 

How do you folks react to all this electronic reinforcement of a single player?

 

For me this blurs the boundaries between a live performance and hitting play on a previously recorded song. This is sort of both things at once. There is nothing wrong with that at all. I enjoyed the listen, but I have always preferred the "less is more", low-fi approach, but that is just me. Nothing says I'm right. There is definitely room for all kinds of approaches.

 

The older generations have always frowned upon the music of the young. It is just the way of the world. Now the tools of music making are changing, but great music will be made by all generations, no matter the equipment used. The new technology has also evened the playing field when it comes to music production. A fully produced original song can now be released to the world without passing a recording studio or a record company. That is a true revolution.

 

With that said, I think the art of a true live performance is dying. It is not the same turning knobs, dials, faders and sing with autotune, as a true performance where the emotions are transmitted through sensitive fingertips and vocal chords, right in the moment in front of an audience. The skills sets needed between a music producer and a music performer are different. Today the producers write, record/program, mix, and master a song from scratch. They have become the artist, and they don't necessarily play guitar. They play the computer.

 

Lars

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I found it boring.

 

 

Me too, how many band mates were put out of work with "that"....just say'en

She has talent and creativity but I got a ask if she did that in the dark all alone or before a live audience nothing would change . no personal connection at least to me.

Acoustic to me has always been a stand on its own thing, not dependent upon batteries or processing effects. Amplify an acoustic guitar so others can hear that's all.

I am old but lucky to have been wittiness to the golden acoustic singer songwriter era. Every thing is a cyclical. Jmhofwiw

 

In full disclosure I have several acoustic guitars with installed pick ups and fishman AFX acoustic processors. I'm guilty of enhancements to my signal chain....sometimes.

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In full disclosure I have several acoustic guitars with installed pick ups and fishman AFX acoustic processors. I'm guilty of enhancements to my signal chain....sometimes.

 

I have two acoustics with pickups. I have never plugged them in, not even once. Don't know what they sound like. I guess I should at least try them out...

 

[biggrin]

 

Lars

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