There has been a lot of discussion recently about the “slow death of the electric guitar” and how young people have no guitar heroes to look up to. Many famous names have been commenting on the state of the guitar market and how sales are declining, citing young people being more interested in electronic music and making beats than learning to play guitar.
It is certainly true that sales of some brands and types of guitar have taken a downward turn over the past few years however it is also true that sales of acoustic guitars are on the up and an interest in using the guitar as a song writing tool and as an accompaniment rather than a lead instrument in it’s own right has become the norm.
The doom & gloom merchants out there have simply not caught up with the times we live in. Many of the big names commenting on the decline in electric guitar sales were those who established themselves by playing lead guitar to adoring crowds back in the 70’s/80’s & 90’s. It does seem though that they still dwell in those eras. They have not moved forward at all. What they have in fact seen is a decline of interest in the sort of guitar music they play and this is entirely to be expected.
Each generation finds their own “new thing” even if it is not actually that new after all. To young people today a singer song writer with an acoustic guitar is their hero. No need for large stadiums and overblown effects. Today it’s just the guitar and the artist…pretty much as it was back in the early 60’s.
From my own experience primarily as an acoustic guitar player I have seen a vast increase in interest from young people learning guitar but whereas my own generation looked to the likes of Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai to name just a few, young guitarists today are more likely to cite John Mayer, Eddie Sheeran and Gabrielle Aplin as their influencers, the people who inspired them to pick up a guitar.
There is no “slow death of the electric guitar” or any other type of guitar. There is simply ‘change’ and as musicians that is a good thing. No one ever got anywhere by standing still.
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