Guitars as Popular as Ever, Reports Rolling Stone

Much has been made about the fate of the guitar as a dominant tool of popular music-making over the past few years. Last summer, an article in the Washington Post that declared the "slow, secret death of the six-string electric" spread like wildfire through the guitar community, prompting wide-ranging discussions of where the industry is heading. The recent news of Gibson's bankruptcy filing didn't do much to assuage the generally pessimistic outlooks held by many observers.

And these headlines, of course, were just outcroppings of the observable fact that guitar-based music is simply not as present on the pop charts as it has been in previous epochs.

But there's a lot more to the guitar's position in society than is conveyed by these isolated stories, and an article posted on Rolling Stone yesterday points out several reasons for optimism that stand in contrast to all the negative prognostication.

For one, people are continuing to buy more and more guitars, with sales across the industry expected to rise through at least the next several years.

"2.6 million acoustic and electric guitars were sold in the U.S. last year, up 300,000 from 2009, according to the National Association of Music Merchants," Rolling Stone reports. A research organization, IBISWorld, says that guitar manufacturing is increasing, and will continue to increase through at least 2022. And even Gibson, a poster child of the supposedly failing industry, reported that its electric guitar sales rose more than 10 percent from 2017 to 2018.

The Rolling Stone article also talks to She Shreds magazine’s Fabi Reyna about the rise of female players and their visibility within the gear world, as well as Fender CEO Andy Mooney about the positive road ahead he sees for his company and the broader market. Read the whole report over at Rolling Stone here.

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