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Author Topic: Interesting article from the Washington Post  (Read 416 times)

Offline PDF105#

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Interesting article from the Washington Post
« on: June 29, 2017, 01:04:32 PM »

Why my guitar gently weeps
The slow, secret death of the six-string electric. And why you should care.

By Geoff Edgers
June 22, 2017
The convention couldn’t sound less rock-and-roll — the National Association of Music Merchants Show. But when the doors open at the Anaheim Convention Center, people stream in to scour rows of Fenders, Les Pauls and the oddball, custom-built creations such as the 5-foot-4-inch mermaid guitar crafted of 15 kinds of wood.

Standing in the center of the biggest, six-string candy store in the United States, you can almost believe all is well within the guitar world.

Except if, like George Gruhn, you know better. The 71-year-old Nashville dealer has sold guitars to Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Paul McCartney and Taylor Swift. Walking through NAMM with Gruhn is like shadowing Bill Belichick at the NFL Scouting Combine. There is great love for the product and great skepticism. What others might see as a boom — the seemingly endless line of manufacturers showcasing instruments — Gruhn sees as two trains on a collision course.

“There are more makers now than ever before in the history of the instrument, but the market is not growing,” Gruhn says in a voice that flutters between a groan and a grumble. “I’m not all doomsday, but this — this is not sustainable.”


The numbers back him up. In the past decade, electric guitar sales have plummeted, from about 1.5 million sold annually to just over 1 million. The two biggest companies, Gibson and Fender, are in debt, and a third, PRS Guitars, had to cut staff and expand production of cheaper guitars. In April, Moody’s downgraded Guitar Center, the largest chain retailer, as it faces $1.6 billion in debt. And at Sweetwater.com, the online retailer, a brand-new, interest-free Fender can be had for as little as $8 a month.

What worries Gruhn is not simply that profits are down. That happens in business. He’s concerned by the “why” behind the sales decline. When he opened his store 46 years ago, everyone wanted to be a guitar god, inspired by the men who roamed the concert stage, including Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana and Jimmy Page. Now those boomers are retiring, downsizing and adjusting to fixed incomes. They’re looking to shed, not add to, their collections, and the younger generation isn’t stepping in to replace them.

Gruhn knows why.

“What we need is guitar heroes,” he says.

[Geoff Edgers’s Spotify playlist of guitar heroes you better know]

He is asked about Clapton, who himself recently downsized his collection. Gruhn sold 29 of his guitars.

“Eric Clapton is my age,” he says.

How about Creed’s Mark Tremonti, Joe Bonamassa, John Mayer? He shakes his head.

“John Mayer?” he asks. “You don’t see a bunch of kids emulating John Mayer and listening to him and wanting to pick up a guitar because of him.”

Guitar heroes. They arrived with the first wave of rock-and-roll. Chuck Berry duckwalking across the big screen. Scotty Moore’s reverb-soaked Gibson on Elvis’s Sun records. Link Wray, with his biker cool, blasting through “Rumble” in 1958.

Living Colour's Vernon Reid and The Post's Geoff Edgers deconstruct some of rock's most iconic guitar riffs, from "Cult of Personality" to "Back in Black." (Erin Patrick O'Connor/The Washington Post)
That instrumental wasn’t a technical feat. It required just four chords. But four chords were enough for Jimmy Page.

“That was something that had so much profound attitude to it,” Page told Jack White and the Edge in the 2009 documentary “It Might Get Loud.”

The ’60s brought a wave of white blues — Clapton, Jeff Beck, Keith Richards — as well as the theatrics of the guitar-smashing Pete Townshend and the sonic revolutionary Hendrix.

McCartney saw Hendrix play at the Bag O’Nails club in London in 1967. He thinks back on those days fondly and, in his sets today, picks up a left-handed Les Paul to jam through Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.”

“The electric guitar was new and fascinatingly exciting in a period before Jimi and immediately after,” the former Beatle says wistfully in a recent interview. “So you got loads of great players emulating guys like B.B. King and Buddy Guy, and you had a few generations there.”

He pauses.

“Now, it’s more electronic music and kids listen differently,” McCartney says. “They don’t have guitar heroes like you and I did.”

[Meet the critic who panned Sgt. Pepper]

Nirvana was huge when the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, 38, was growing up.

“And everybody wanted a guitar,” he says. “This is not surprising. It has to do with what’s in the Top 20.”

Living Colour’s Vernon Reid agrees but also speaks to a larger shift. He remembers being inspired when he heard Santana on the radio. “There was a culture of guitar playing, and music was central,” adds Reid, 58. “A record would come out and you would hear about that record, and you would make the journey. There was a certain investment in time and resources.”

Vernon Reid found the music of Jimi Hendrix after he discovered Carlos Santana. He talks with The Post's Geoff Edgers about how the two guitar icons influenced his playing style. (Erin Patrick O'Connor/The Washington Post)
Lita Ford, also 58, remembers curling up on the couch one night in 1977 to watch Cheap Trick on “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert.” She was 19 and her band, the Runaways, had played gigs with them.

“It was just a different world,” Ford says. “There was ‘Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert,’ Ed Sullivan, Dick Clark, and they would have one band on and you would wait all week to see who that band was going to be. And you could talk about it all week long with your friends — ‘Saturday night, Deep Purple’s going to be on, what are they going to play?’ — and then everybody’s around the TV like you’re watching a football game.”

By the ’80s, when Ford went solo and cracked the Top 40, she became one of the few female guitar heroes on a playlist packed with men, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Joe Satriani and Eddie Van Halen.

Guitar culture was pervasive, whether in movie houses (“Karate Kid” Ralph Macchio outdueling Steve Vai in the 1986 movie “Crossroads”; Michael J. Fox playing a blistering solo in “Back to the Future” and co-starring with Joan Jett in 1987’s rock-band drama “Light of Day”) or on MTV and the older, concert films featuring the Who and Led Zeppelin on seemingly endless repeats.

But there were already hints of the change to come, of the evolutions in music technology that would eventually compete with the guitar. In 1979, Tascam’s Portastudio 144 arrived on the market, allowing anybody with a microphone and a patch cord to record with multiple tracks. (Bruce Springsteen used a Portastudio for 1982’s “Nebraska.”) In 1981, Oberheim introduced the DMX drum machine, revolutionizing hip-hop.

So instead of Hendrix or Santana, Linkin Park’s Brad Delson drew his inspiration from Run-DMC’s “Raising Hell,” the crossover smash released in 1986. Delson, whose band recently landed atop the charts with an album notably light on guitar, doesn’t look at the leap from ax men to DJs as a bad thing.

“Music is music,” he says. “These guys are all musical heroes, whatever cool instrument they play. And today, they’re gravitating toward programming beats on an Ableton. I don’t think that’s any less creative as playing bass. I’m open to the evolution as it unfolds. Musical genius is musical genius. It just takes different forms.”

An industry responds
Tell that to Guitar Center, now $1.6 billion in debt and so fearful of publicity that a spokeswoman would only make an executive available for an interview on one condition: “He cannot discuss financials or politics under any circumstances.” (No thanks.)

Richard Ash, the chief executive of Sam Ash, the largest chain of family-owned music stores in the country, isn’t afraid to state the obvious.

“Our customers are getting older, and they’re going to be gone soon,” he says.

Over the past three years, Gibson’s annual revenue has fallen from $2.1 billion to $1.7 billion, according to data gathered by Music Trades magazine. The company’s 2014 purchase of Philips’s audio division for $135 million led to debt — how much, the company won’t say — and a Moody’s downgrading last year. Fender, which had to abandon a public offering in 2012, has fallen from $675 million in revenue to $545 million. It has cut its debt in recent years, but it remains at $100 million.

And starting in 2010, the industry witnessed a milestone that would have been unthinkable during the hair-metal era: Acoustic models began to outsell electric.

Still, the leaders of Gibson, Fender and PRS say they have not given up.

“The death of the guitar, to paraphrase Mark Twain, is greatly exaggerated,” says Fender’s chief executive, Andy Mooney.

He says that the company has a strategy designed to reach millennials. The key, Mooney says, is to get more beginners to stick with an instrument they often abandon within a year. To that end, in July the company will launch a subscription-based service it says will change the way new guitarists learn to play through a series of online tools.


Paul Reed Smith, the Maryland-based guitar designer, says the industry is just now recovering from the recession that struck in 2009. He points to PRS’s sustained revenue — the company says they’re between $42 million and $45 million a year — and an increased demand for guitars.

“This is a very complicated mix of economy versus market, demand versus what products are they putting out, versus are their products as good as they used to be, versus what’s going on with the Internet, versus how are the big-box stores dealing with what’s going on,” Smith says. “But I’ll tell you this: You put a magic guitar in a case and ship it to a dealer, it will sell.”

Then there’s Henry Juszkiewicz, the biggest and most controversial of the music instrument moguls. When he and a partner bought Gibson in 1986, for just $5 million, the onetime giant was dying.

“It was a failed company that had an iconic name, but it really was on its last legs,” Ash says. “[Juszkiewicz] completely revived the Gibson line.”

Juszkiewicz, 64, is known for being temperamental, ultracompetitive and difficult to work for. A former Gibson staffer recalls a company retreat in Las Vegas punctuated by a trip to a shooting range, where executives shot up a Fender Stratocaster. In recent years, Juszkiewicz has made two major pushes, both seemingly aimed at expanding a company when a product itself — the guitar — has shown a limited ability to grow its market.

In 2014, he acquired Philips’s audio division to add headphones, speakers and digital recorders to Gibson’s brand. The idea, Juszkiewicz says, is to recast Gibson from a guitar company to a consumer electronics company.

There’s also the line of self-tuning “robot” guitars that Gibson spent more than a decade and millions of dollars developing. In 2015, Juszkiewicz made the feature standard on most new guitars. Sales dropped so dramatically, as players and collectors questioned the added cost and value, that Gibson told dealers to slash prices. The company then abandoned making self-tuners a standard feature. You can still buy them — they call them “G Force” — but they’re now simply an add-on option.

Journey’s Neal Schon says he battled with Juszkiewicz when he served as a consultant to Gibson.

“I was trying to help Henry and shoo him away from areas that he was spending a whole lot of money in,” Schon says. “All this electronical, robot crap. I told him, point blank, ‘What you’re doing, Roland and other companies are light-years in front of you, you’ve got this whole building you’ve designated to be working on this synth guitar. I’ve played it. And it just doesn’t work.’ And he refused to believe that.”

Juszkiewicz says that one day, the self-tuning guitars will be recognized as a great innovation, comparing them with the advent of the television remote control. He also believes in the Philips purchase. Eventually, he says, the acquisition will be recognized as the right decision.

“Everything we do is about music,” Juszkiewicz says. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s the making of music with instruments or the listening of music with a player. To me, we’re a music company. That’s what I want to be. And I want to be number one. And, you know, nobody else seems to be applying for the job right now.”

The search for inspiration
If there is a singular question in the guitar industry, it’s no different from what drives Apple. How do you get the product into a teenager’s hands? And once it’s there, how do you get them to fall in love with it?

Fender’s trying through lessons and a slew of online tools (Fender Tune, Fender Tone, Fender Riffstation). The Music Experience, a Florida-based company, has recruited PRS, Fender, Gibson and other companies to set up tents at festivals for people to try out guitars. There is also School of Rock, which has almost 200 branches across the country.

On a Friday night in Watertown, Mass., practice is just getting started.

Joe Pessia runs the board and coaches the band. He’s 47, a guitarist who once played in a band with Extreme’s Nuno Bettencourt and has worked at School of Rock since 2008.

Watching practice, it’s easy to understand why.


With Pessia presiding, the school’s showcase group blasts through three songs released decades before any of them were born.

The Cars’ “Bye Bye Love” blends quirky, new-wave keyboards and barre chords. Journey’s “Stone in Love” is classic ’80s arena rock punctuated by Schon’s melodic guitar line. Matt Martin, a 17-year-old guitarist wearing white sneakers, jeans and a House of Blues T-shirt, takes the lead on this.

The band’s other Stratocaster is played by Mena Lemos, a 15-year-old sophomore. She takes on Rush’s “The Spirit of Radio.”

As they play, the teenagers dance, laugh and work to get the songs right. Their parents are also happy. Arezou Lemos, Mena’s mother, sees a daughter who is confident and has two sets of friends — the kids at School of Rock and her peers at Newton South High School.

“There are a lot of not-easy times that they go through as teenagers,” she says, “and having music in her life, it’s been a savior.”

Julie Martin says her son Matt was a quiet boy who played in Little League but never connected with sports. She and her husband bought him his first guitar when he was 6.

“It was immediate,” she says. “He could play right away. It gave him confidence, in the immediate, and I think long term it helps him in every aspect of his life.”

She remembers her own childhood in working-class Boston.

“I know exactly what he could be out doing,” Martin says. “That enters my mind. We are so lucky to have found School of Rock. He’s there Thursday, Friday and Saturday every week, all year.”

Rush’s prog-metal is not for beginners, with its time shifts and reggae twist.

“They’ve never played this before,” Pessia says, turning to whisper in awe. “The first time.”

So who are these kids? The future? An aberration?

It’s hard to know. But Matt Martin didn’t need to think long about why he wanted to play a Strat as a kid.

“Eric Clapton,” he says. “He’s my number one.”

To Phillip McKnight, a 42-year-old guitarist and former music store owner in Arizona, the spread of School of Rock isn’t surprising.

He carved out space for guitar lessons shortly after opening his music store in a strip mall in 2005. The sideline began to grow, and eventually, he founded the McKnight Music Academy. As it grew, from two rooms to eight, from 25 students to 250, McKnight noticed a curious development.

Around 2012, the gender mix of his student base shifted dramatically. The eight to 12 girls taking lessons jumped to 27 to 59 to 119, eventually outnumbering the boys. Why? He asked them.

Taylor Swift.

Nobody would confuse the pop star’s chops with Bonnie Raitt’s. But she does play a guitar.

Andy Mooney, the Fender CEO, calls Swift “the most influential guitarist of recent years.”

“I don’t think that young girls looked at Taylor and said, ‘I’m really impressed by the way she plays G major arpeggios.’ ” Mooney says. “They liked how she looked, and they wanted to emulate her.”

When McKnight launched a video series on YouTube, he did an episode called “Is Taylor Swift the next Eddie Van Halen?” He wasn’t talking about technique. He was talking about inspiring younger players. The video series, in the end, grew faster than guitar sales or lessons. Earlier this year, McKnight shut down his store.

The videos? He’ll keep doing them. They’re making money.
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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post

Offline sybersitizen

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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2017, 02:04:22 PM »
I don't claim to know much about the industry; but I happen to have recently been picking up a few inexpensive oddball guitars here and there just for the heck of it. I've poked around on the usual websites, on craigslist, and in Guitar Center, Sam Ash, and one or two other retailers that are within reach. I've checked out electrics, acoustics, and acoustic-electrics. I've come away with a few impressions:

1. There is an incredible range of competing choices out there. I don't know what draws someone to a specific brand or steers them away from a specific brand.

2. Most of the choices are good. I come across very few lousy guitars. Maybe it's because I'm not very discriminating, but maybe not.

3. Price is not a reliable guideline to goodness. I've handled oodles of sub-$200 guitars that are perfectly fine in terms of construction and playability and sound - the vast majority of them are Asian imports, of course. In many cases I cannot discern a significant functional difference between a $200 guitar and a $3000 guitar.

4. I can't imagine what inherent advantage anything out there would have over my Deluxe, which cost me about $900 back in 2009.

Given all of the above, I have difficulty understanding how anyone ever plunks down several grand for a guitar unless money is no object or maybe it's a collector's item expected to appreciate; so I can imagine there's some difficulty for manufacturers to remain profitable.

The most recent guitars I've brought home were a Strat copy (about $50 in used mint condition), a Glen Burton GE47 (about $120 new), and a Savannah acoustic-electric ($65 in mint used condition). All are perfectly satisfactory - after appropriate setup by me - for noodling or whatever if I have an urge for something a bit different from the Deluxe or the SG. In other words, I myself am not supporting the guitar industry in any noticeable way ... and haven't been for quite a while.
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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post

Offline ParkerPlayer

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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2017, 03:16:26 PM »
Thanks for sharing the article, PDF.  Pretty interesting !

It always blows my mind to think of how many new guitars are made and sold each year.  1.5 million, wow !
I wonder how many are being destroyed each year?  Probably a few being smashed on stage, a few accidentally run over by a car (I know two guitarist who have actually done this), and maybe a couple of 60-year-old guitars that finally wore out, oh yeah and Gibson's annual Vegas Strat-shooting party.   So the world population of guitars must be growing a lot!  I think that Syber is correct about there being a lot of low-price, high quality guitars out there.  I know the expensive ones are generally better than the cheap ones, but it's not proportional.  It's not like a $2000 guitar is 10 times better than the $200 anymore.   Still, I just can't bring myself to buy the cheap ones.  I'd rather buy one USA made axe than collect a bunch of imports.  The reason is this:  the musical instrument consists of the whole chain of pieces:  hands -> strings -> guitar structure -> guitar electronics -> instrument cable -> effects -> amp(s) -> speakers -> speaker cab.   So if you skimp on quality for one piece, you could sabotage the whole instrument.  Now which piece is the most important?  The hands.  Most people don't realize that because they pay exactly $0 for hands, but have you ever tried to buy a hand?  You could probably spend $50,000 on a prosthetic hand than can't play guitar worth a darn.   So my point is that we should strive to increase the quality of the other parts of the instrument chain since they are all inferior by design.
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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post

Offline JamieCrain

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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2017, 05:11:36 PM »
Yes good article. IMO guitarists like tradition, hence why Fender and Gibson remain top. I cannot understand why, I would never buy a new device that has largely remained the same for 50+ years. And yet new innovations like Variax really struggle to become accepted in the mainstream. It's all mad.
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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post

Offline ParkerPlayer

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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2017, 06:06:44 PM »
... Fender and Gibson remain top. I cannot understand why, I would never buy a new device that has largely remained the same for 50+ years...

I was shocked to find out that Gibson made the robot tuners a standard feature on their guitars a few years back.  They should know better than anyone not to mess with a recipe for success.  I tried out a couple of LP's with the robot tuners and I was thoroughly underwhelmed.  They look super cheesy, and I've heard that you can break them easily.  So, I think being able to switch tunings is cool, but they did a lame job of implementation. 
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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post

Offline TheGrail

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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2017, 11:17:55 PM »
Robotic tuners are a classic example of a "solution looking for a problem".  Tuning one's guitar is such a basic part of playing the instrument, it's insane that they tried to push that down buyer's throats by making it standard on all guitars.  It does show the arrogance and lack of deep understanding of the market that has led Gibson down the path they are on.
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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post

Offline sybersitizen

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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2017, 01:52:24 AM »
Quote
'... custom-built creations such as the 5-foot-4-inch mermaid guitar crafted of 15 kinds of wood.'

Apparently this is it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGQ3pAFXARI

Good effort on the sculpting, I guess ... but am I the only person who thinks watching someone play it is just ludicrous?
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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post

Offline Mr303

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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2017, 06:15:19 AM »
Quote
'... custom-built creations such as the 5-foot-4-inch mermaid guitar crafted of 15 kinds of wood.'

Apparently this is it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGQ3pAFXARI

Good effort on the sculpting, I guess ... but am I the only person who thinks watching someone play it is just ludicrous?

 
Why ruin a perfectly good guitar by incorporating it into a perfectly good sculpture?
Does it come with a gig bag or a hard shell case?
It's actually a good idea for less than handsome people like m'self...
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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post

Offline billy

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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2017, 11:35:45 AM »
The problem with this article is the same problem with the old companies in this industry (or any industry for that matter)- it looks to "experts" who have not kept up with changes in how product is developed, made, sold, distributed, and consumed in today's market.

Gruhn might know a lot about guitars but things have changed quite a bit since he sold a guitar to Clapton. Btw this doesn't make him an expert, it just makes him lucky. It's unfortunate that he isn't aware of where the market has shifted, yet he's still positioned as an authority by the author.

Modern guitar heros are plenty, but they're on youtube now, not the radio or mtv.  Flashy techniques aside, I am frequently amazed at some of the people making these videos today, and how the standard of playing has grown since I was a kid plunking out "ain't talkin' 'bout love."  The problem isn't finding great players, it's rather that there's so many it can be hard to wade through all of them.  Also, I have noticed a profound increase in the number of female players who absolutely shred, but I see very little aimed at meeting their needs and desires in equipment.

Fender bought almost all the other competing brands, and then homogenized everything to the point that virtually nothing but the reissues stand out.  Even those are often a bit disappointing relative to the price and competing products, often from their own lower level offerings. The only truly interesting stuff they have is the EVH line up. Again, it points to not understanding the market. I'm glad they're investing in education, but again they're probably missing something to make it relevant at all.  I can remember recently watching a setup video with one of their custom shop guys that was poorly produced and the content was pretty much worthless.

Gibson's problem is that they have often compromised the product but also raised prices by large amounts in the last 10 years or so. Solutions looking for problems indeed.  To have a guy like Schon advising (ego aside), and then ignoring what he says, tells almost all.  Why would anyone spend $5400 on a gibson les paul when you can buy practically the same exact guitar with an epiphone label for far less?  Or a less expensive but better version from PRS, Schecter, Ibanez, etc, that stays in tune and a headstock that won't snap off?

Both companies had space at NAMM that likely involved investments of several million dollars each- and this is a 4 day trade show with a closed audience that is probably already buying some of their products.  Clearly they invest more heavily in marketing what they already sell to people who already buy it vs market research and new product development.  Ibanez sells many guitars too but their display was probably half as big.

Both companies use borrowed money to supply large amounts of inventory to guitar center, which uses debt to carry relatively large amounts of inventory and underutilized retail space. 

That practice of trading debt is certainly unsustainable to those companies. It's only frustrating that its continued for as long as it has.

What the article also misses is that many of the sales today are on the internet via small independent shops that offer modern players fine quality, one of a kind instruments, which also reflect the money invested.  I'd much rather see smaller innovative companies take a piece of the pie than continue with the same lackluster offerings from the old guard, only now with higher prices. 

Innovation and problem solving stopped when Les and Leo left those companies.  Today those companies seem to not have much if any of the interest Les and Leo had in helping players realize their vision more effectively.  Their margins are shrinking because newer companies are getting the business instead- but that doesn't mean the market is slowly dying, just their companies.  Kiesel (carvin) is (imho) mostly a fast follower in terms of innovation, but offers a model of where I believe the industry is headed in the short term.

Further, while the musical instrument industry in the US is seemingly flat, it has been for decades.  These old companies don't seem to realize that there is a growing female market here, and a market in asia and south america that they practically ignore.  Just because they don't notice it doesn't mean it isn't there.

It's unfortunate that the "experts" are too busy moaning about their lost profits with their head in the sand to do anything about it, but hopefully that just means there's even more room for newer brands to become established and thrive.

It was an interesting read, in places, but out of context opinions and limited data made it hard for me to agree with the weird premise and sensationalist conclusion.

Billy

[always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question.  e. e. cummings]

Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post

Offline Big Swifty

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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2017, 10:16:59 PM »
OK, random thoughts in no particular order..

Bricks and Mortar stores are taking a hit across all sectors due to Amazon and all the rest of the online shopping options available these days..

Best part of the online revolution is the ability for all the small boutique guys to get their wares and ideas out there.

Fender, Gibson have milked their "classic" legacy for all it's worth, seems like that time is coming to an end. Maybe they'll have to think of something actually new...

Have they released any 7 or 8 or etc string guitars lately?

Ever?

Coz seems to me like that's the growing market..

The whole guitar hero thing..i think it's just shifted to the Metal world as opposed to the mainstream popular music/radio thing, which it most definitely was when i was a kid, Zeppelin, Santana, etc etc.

Still plenty of great guitar players entering the jazz scene too.

And then there's all the ultra cheap chinese guitars and kits...some of which can be quite good, apparently.

Just because the Big 2 have a slow in sales doesn't equal the end of guitars.

Can't see how the local corner music shop is going to survive though..unless they find a way to expand their business model.

Went to an interesting place last night, first time there, my mates band was playing. On the outskirts of Melbourne, a semi-industrial area, as far as i can tell a large rehearsal room facility with a full stage/perfomance area in the middle. Whole box and dice, backline provided, big PA, mixer, lights, smoke machine, a bar and it was full of punters. The band played Australian pub rock covers from the 70's 80's, everyone there was of equivalent vintage.
The facility also had a big guitar store attached, lots of guitars hanging on the walls.
That's one way to do it.

Thinking about it, there's 3 guitar stores within quick drive of where i live, one normal commercial, the other two do vintage-ish/boutique stuff.

I guess the other thing is there's just sooooo much more stuff available for kids to try and play, synths synths synths!

Apps!

And there's just so much more exposure to various musical styles these days, not all guitar based. Feels like you can't take more than two steps without bumping into (yet another) Gypsy style band around here somedays...

The end of guitars?

No, a dilution.

B.S.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 10:42:36 PM by Big Swifty »
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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post

Offline Paul Marossy

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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2017, 12:08:56 PM »
These days people paste together sampled sounds in a rhythmic fashion and call it "music", you don't even need a guitar, or drums, or much of anything else. Guitar solos in songs are verboten these days as well. And maybe there was too many guitar heroes in the past and it's just not on people's radar anymore. Rock and roll is old and stale now for the younger generation (like my kids 15 & 13). So what would motivate someone to pick up a guitar these days other than the people that already have 30 guitars but think they still need more?

Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post

Offline PDF105#

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Re: Interesting article from the Washington Post
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2017, 12:40:02 PM »
I'm an "old timer" when it comes to guitars, having started playing when I was 14 years old. I'm now going on 72. I fostered/mentored my son and grandson who now each own and play very well, at least 3 guitars, both acoustic and electric. They both outshine me as far as playing ability, even though I play every day for at least 1/2 hour. I have purchased musical instruments from both my local family-owned music store and online. The family owned store has been in business for over 45 years and has remained competitive with the online vendors and has shown no hint of going out of business because they offer nearly every kind of instrument known to mankind plus lessons on many instruments. I am a HUGE Parker fan and the 2 Parkers I own are the envy of my son and grandson. I don't know the background of the author of this newspaper article, but I would disagree with some of the assertions he makes. I offered to share the article for your reading "enjoyment" and to get some conversations going with your opinions. "Long Live Parkers, eh?"

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