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Why Is The Electric Guitar Dying?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Telecruiser View Post

    My business is about 4 mi. from Callaway Golf. I remember reading an article they were featured in lamenting the decline in people playing golf and courses closing down for lack of players. One of their ideas? Let's make the cup 10" - 12" in diameter so it will be easier for people to score quicker. Instant gratification.
    I'm sure they never considered lowering their greens fees...
    the modern answer: lower the bar. Mediocrity today is the excellence of tomorrow. Like the Honda ad where they enlarged the basketball hoop to three feet in diameter. Like giving trophies to all the kids in the soccer league, regardless of standing. Reward effort, regardless how minimal. Lower expectations to reap lesser outcomes. Can't be bothered to spend time actually learning to play guitar? Here, buy this plastic guitar, put this game in your entertainment system and voila, you are a rock star just for pushing colored buttons!


    I remember back in the mid 70s, I was at a mall with my bass player buddy. We were walking by a Lowrey Organ store, and some 11 year old kid gets on an organ and starts wailing Oye Como Va...with percussion and bass line..and he's doing it by hitting the keys that light up on the console. I knew then that the end of the world was imminent...this is how they trained space monkeys, and now chickens play keyboards the same way.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vwbp3ZatrKc
    Last edited by daddymack; 06-24-2017, 10:07 AM.
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    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
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    • #17
      Geez.....everything's terrible? no one has any musical skills anymore??

      I think that making easy music has become easier, yeah, via software and whatnot. But making good music is just as hard as it's ever been. Look around, the good musicians are still here, working hard as usual. Harder if anything.

      nat

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      • #18
        Originally posted by nat whilk II View Post
        Geez.....everything's terrible? no one has any musical skills anymore?
        I'm sure there are as many good musicians today as there ever were, maybe even more. But there are so many more people making music than ever, and some of them don't realize that they're hobbyists, not musicians (at least not yet). But to go along with this, there's less discrimination in the music that we hear.

        Today it's easy to hear a song, or half a song, and decide, no, I don't like that one, and move on to something else, never listening to it again. Owning and listening to a record was something special. Even if you joined the Columbia Record Club, you didn't get dozens of records dropped in your mailbox every day. And most of the records that you chose to own, you listened to reasonably often. And most records, if you liked the genre or the artist, were pretty good records, more worth owning than listening to once and rejecting. They were curated ("produced" in today's language) by someone who knew what made that music appealing, and a little special.

        We didn't have 500 singers trying to do what Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennet did. We may have had a few thousand guitarists trying to do what Jimi Hendrix did, but only a few of them developed their skill and creativity into something that we'd like to listen to as much as we enjoyed the genuine article. And when you have a few thousand would-be-artists who decided that they weren't going to get any further with the guitar, they got on their computers, made booms, bloops, and bleeps, and once again, there was new music that was different and it attracted a new breed of listeners.

        --
        "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
        Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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        • #19
          If you listen to any pop tune today, you'll hear hardly any guitar or no guitar at all. It's all synths and drum machines or loops. That probably has a lot to do with it.

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          • #20
            Well if guitars aren't selling, there must be a very small group of people buying a helluva lot of guitars.

            The article has some major flaws. First, there is no reference for the claim that guitar sales have dropped from 1.5 million a year to 1 million a year, nor is there any correlation of price to quantity, nor is there any differentiation among sales of electric guitars, acoustic guitars, and ukuleles (which have more or less replaced the "starter" guitars people used to buy, and sell in huge quantities). Also any discussion of sales is meaningful only if the trends are tracked for each year in a decade, because sales are cyclical. Second, the idea that there aren't guitar heroes is given as both cause and evidence that guitars are dying. Yet the music industry itself is so segmented that the day of universal musical "heroes" ended a long time ago. Third, fashions go in cycles. Guitars have been pronounced dead before, only to come back.

            Sure, a lot of people are making music with beats. More power to 'em! But EDM remains a sliver in terms of the music that is consumed by listeners. So all those kids in their bedrooms are having fun, which is great, and yes there are DJ superstars...but no more so than, say, Katy Perry.

            The irony of someone writing for a newspaper, which is a dying breed if there ever was one, saying guitars are dying based on walking around with George Gruhn and speculating that guitar heroes drive sales does not exactly represent a thorough study of the market. Oh, and yes, Gibson and Fender have debt. That's how they finance growth. After the company grows, they either pay off the debt, or refinance to generate more growth.

            But hey, it got peoples' attention, and I guess that's what writing is all about these days
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            • #21
              Listening to pop music I hear a lot less guitar than I used to hear and I don't hear the name of a teen-age guitar hero bantered about.

              So it might not be the "king" of pop music solos anymore. But things run in cycles.

              When I started playing, the sax was the king of pop music solos, and it was replaced by the guitar putting the sax in a secondary role (that's one reason why I learned how to play guitar).

              Before that Trumpet, Trombone, Clarinet, Accordion, Violin and others had their turns.

              New generations of young people want to rebel against their parent's music, and so the guitar may just be losing some of its shine for that group.

              But like the sax, it isn't going to die in our lifetimes. I still play the sax and people love it. In fact I get more compliments on the sax than on my guitar playing. Admittedly my sax playing is much better than my guitar chops -- partly because sax is uncommon and mostly I'm playing to an older generation who appreciated it in their youth.

              When I started playing music, the oldsters used to say, 'The Big Bands are going to come back." They never did.

              And if I never get to play EDM it's OK with me

              Insights and incites by Notes.
              Bob "Notes" Norton
              Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
              Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
              The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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              • #22
                Big bands went out of season due to expenses of travel and having to pay everyone.

                The organ replaced the big band for a short period of time but the organ was bulky and touring with it was difficult.

                Along came the amplified guitar to replace the organ. The guitar was portable, loud enough, provided enough textures to make it interesting, and was sexy to hold.

                The guitar enjoyed a long run. Almost a 75 year run.

                The new instruments are controllers and keyboards... Ableton Push for instance... Push will eventually be replaced as well and I doubt it`ll have a run like the guitar.

                I believe these fluctuations is generational and genre based. Right now, EDM is whats in. And EDM does not fancy guitars.

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                • #23
                  =Ernest Buckley;n32012174]Right now, EDM is whats in. And EDM does not fancy guitars.
                  Not exactly...see the following from Neilsen for albums, downloads, streaming, and vinyl's combined final figures for 2015 in the US. If you take away streaming and downloads, where EDM is strongest, it drops down to 2%. The global EDM market (live performance, streaming, the whole enchilada) has increased by 3% or so in the past year, so maybe now it's at 4.5%. EDM may be "in" for people who want to make music, but it's "in" to only a small percentage of people listening to music.


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                  Also considering only electric guitars is too narrow. There are stringed instruments, brass instruments, percussion instruments, and keyboard instruments. Each category remains vital in one way or another. Sure, the electric guitar has been around fro 75 years or whatever...but lutes were around long before that. Ukuleles are huge...they're the stringed instruments of today.
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                  • #24
                    The only thing that is constant is change.

                    And it's both a science and an art to make predictions. Even the best experts don't have a great record of predicting the future.

                    Those who do get the predictions right can be very successful, many of the others will just have to roll with the changes and those who cannot will be lost in the dust or get an extreme niche market.

                    I have a friend who is a monster trumpet player. His father adored Harry James and my friend ended up IMO playing even better than Harry James. He solos well, can play anything in any key, and has great instincts on stage - plus monster chops.

                    Now he works a day job and takes occasional Dixieland and Big Band gigs.

                    When saxes started losing demand, I bought a wind synthesizer and learned lead guitar (I practiced instead of watching TV - which I turned off in the late 1980s). I'm still making a living gigging and having a lot of fun with my sax, the wind synth and the guitar. I adapted.

                    When MIDI came around, I got into it, started making user styles for Band-in-a-Box, took out an ad in EM Magazine (I think Craig was the editor back then) and started selling them. My trumpet friend said that I was putting musicians out of work with the computer. I told him I was putting a musician to work, me. Now he buys software from me (I give him a very good deal because he's a friend). I've sold my styles to musicians in over 100 different countries and have had a lot of fun getting the computer to make music out of the snippets of music I input. In this case I was ahead of the curve, but it was more luck than prediction.

                    Insights and incites by Notes
                    Bob "Notes" Norton
                    Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
                    Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
                    The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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                    • #25
                      Next up...here's the story on the stringed instruments of TODAY, which apparently the Washington Post writer was too clueless to consider.

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                      Yes, that's 1,400,000 ukuleles sold in the US alone in 2016. Add that to the electric guitar, and assuming Postboy got his facts straight, that's 2,400,000 stringed instruments. But wait...there are also acoustic guitars, and 1,360,000 were sold in the US in 2016. Now we're up to 2,360,000 guitars sold, and 3,760,000 guitars + ukuleles. I love Ableton Live, but I doubt Push has sold anywhere near that...

                      All these stats and more are available to anyone with access to a computer and the internet, which apparently Postboy didn't know. Nor did he actually touch on the one thing that really could impact new guitar sales. About 2.3 million guitars are sold in the US each year, and 750,000 in the UK alone. Sales continue to increase.

                      Bottom line - bogus article, poorly researched, looks in the wrong places, reaches the wrong conclusions, hinges a conclusion on a non-sequitur - that a lack of "guitar heroes" means the end of the guitar. No wonder newspapers are dying

                      P.S. - Newspapers overall have lost circulation for 28 years straight. Digital is helping a bit, but nowhere near enough to offset the conventional losses. People who live in glass houses...
                      Last edited by Anderton; 07-04-2017, 08:17 AM.
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                      • #26
                        Statistics are whatever you want to make of them. The question I have, though, is what are those 1.4 million ukuleles doing to get another 1.4 million people to buy them next year? Lots of musical instruments are being sold, but how many of them are contributing to keeping music alive, well, and progressing? How many guitars were sold before there was a Jimi Hendrix, a Mississippi John Hurt, or even a Bob Dylan?

                        There are likely as many creative musicians today as there have always been. More instruments sold doesn't necessarily increase this number significantly. It increases the number of instruments that will end up in the closet or sold on the used market in ten years, not contributing to the making of music that others will want to hear.
                        --
                        "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                        Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by MikeRivers View Post
                          Statistics are whatever you want to make of them.
                          I suppose so, if you think the 1.4 million is a made-up number.

                          The question I have, though, is what are those 1.4 million ukuleles doing to get another 1.4 million people to buy them next year?
                          That's about forecasting. I assume it's the same as for anything else...some will end up in closets, some people will move up to guitar, some will sell on reverb.com, some will get a soprano ukulele to complement their baritone model, some will win America's Got Talent...whatever.

                          Lots of musical instruments are being sold, but how many of them are contributing to keeping music alive, well, and progressing?
                          12.7344538778%.

                          How many guitars were sold before there was a Jimi Hendrix, a Mississippi John Hurt, or even a Bob Dylan?
                          Of course, fads can popularize instruments, or even effects (e.g., Peter Frampton with a talk box). But you're not considering the youth demographic, increase in population, increased buying power in third world countries, the modernization of guitar factories that allow them to produce more instruments, and so on. I'm pretty sure there were fewer cars sold before there was a Jimi Hendrix, a Mississippi John Hurt, or even a Bob Dylan.

                          There are likely as many creative musicians today as there have always been. More instruments sold doesn't necessarily increase this number significantly. It increases the number of instruments that will end up in the closet or sold on the used market in ten years, not contributing to the making of music that others will want to hear.
                          I don't think the primary purpose of making music is to create things other people want to hear. It's to provide enjoyment to the person doing the playing. If others like it too, so much the better.
                          Last edited by Anderton; 07-05-2017, 01:26 PM. Reason: Added smiley in case people didn't think I was joking
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                          • #28
                            And finally...total guitars sold in past 20 years is up +122% (electric +84% and acoustic +160%). If only I could die so elegantly.
                            N E W S O N G ! To Say 'No' Would Be a Crime (Remix) is now streamable from my YouTube channel.

                            Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Anderton View Post

                              I don't think the primary purpose of making music is to create things other people want to hear. It's to provide enjoyment to the person doing the playing. If others like it too, so much the better.
                              That's a valid point, but I'll bet that some of those people buying guitars and ukes are hoping to make music that others will enjoy. Without that, where would the music business be?

                              Oh, right. Never mind.

                              And then there's all the guys who got into music to get chicks. And all the chicks who got into music to get clothes. Both self-enjoyed, I guess.
                              Last edited by MikeRivers; 07-05-2017, 04:08 PM.
                              --
                              "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                              Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by daddymack View Post
                                It became so common place that now no one under 30 cares that you play guitar...or piano, drums, flugel horn...
                                You make very interesting and compelling points but your passion and apparent frustration is affecting the trajectory of your argument.

                                I have to respectfully disagree, that people do not care, people do care and people who play instruments are very well regarded. Every time I tell someone that I am a musician, the first question is:

                                "What instrument do you play?"

                                They never ask me about software, most people, at least the once I talk to have never heard of Ableton live.
                                Last edited by audioicon; 07-08-2017, 10:53 AM.
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