Hold your obituaries!
Iconic musicians and industry leaders have been concerned about the survival of the guitar until now. However, a half-year into a pandemic that threatened to sink many industries, people started turning to the guitar as a quarantine companion. This spurred sales for some of the most storied guitar companies like Fender, Martin, Gibson, and Taylor, shocking even industry veterans.
“I couldn’t predict that we will be looking at having a record year,”–Andy Mooney, the chief executive of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation, said.
With more time on their hands, aspiring musicians, young and old, took the opportunity to start learning to play the guitar. Did this revive the industry? Keep reading to look at the resurgence of guitar in popular music, its popularity, how to get started playing it, famous guitarists and their contributions to the music industry.
The Resurgence of Guitar in Popular Music
Besides the amazing and unexpected comeback year for a beaten-down guitar industry, the question remains; what could this COVID trend mean to music?
For those that had written off the guitar as “dead” or came up with alternatives to this music, the resurgence of guitar sales, guitar lessons, and the infusion of younger buyers and players have initiated a sea change that so many hoped for in the past couple of decades.
The pandemic spiked a true societal and cultural shift. A young, hungry segment of skilled musicians that want to change the world, picked up the guitar to bring back this music to life.
Why Guitar Is Gaining Popularity Once Again?
A Surge of New Players
According to the research done by Fender, in October 2021, 7% of the U.S. population began to learn the guitar over the past two years. The survey featured 10,644 guitars “beginners, aspirers and appreciators of 13-64 years in the U.S. Out of all who took part in the survey, 62% chose to pick up the instrument during the pandemic. Interestingly, half of the new guitarists were women and two-thirds between the ages of 14 and 34years old.
A Wide Resource of Learning Material
Since playing a guitar requires ongoing learning support with a teacher or online instruction, guitar brands Fender and Gibson developed apps with guitar learning instruction. There is a Gibson App that integrates exclusive access to Gibson TV and virtual guitar tech. Then Fender is on TikTok with Fender Play, which is tailored to younger guitar players.
The COVID Pandemic’s rise of TikTok
The COVID pandemic partly played a big role in the rebirth of the guitar due to people wanting to play while at home. There is also a new generation of guitarists flocking the famous TikTok for inspiration to find new guitar players or to feature themselves playing.
How To Get Started Playing Guitar
Learn the basics- Names of Guitar Parts
Learning the names of different guitar parts will make it easier to follow along with lessons.
Hold the guitar correctly.
Before you start playing, ensure you are holding your guitar correctly. If you are a right-handed individual, you can play the guitar by strumming halfway between the sound hole and the bridge using your right hand. Then you can fret the strings on the neck with your left hand. Additionally, you must sit in a straight-backed chair or stool with your guitar held mostly with your leg and cradling it in your body.
Tune the guitar.
Tune regularly will help you to familiarize with which string and fret combinations correspond with which notes. To start tuning, you need to learn the name of each string- beginning with the lowest to highest pitch (thickest to thinnest strings). These strings are named E, A, D, G, B, and E. You can also use electric tuners which are easy to use and very accurate
Practice fretting the strings.
Fret refers to the metal strips that run perpendicular to the strings that mark each note. To play a note, press your finger between the metal strips- for example, to say that you are playing the third fret is placing your finger on the string in the gap between the second and third fret. If you hear buzzing, move your finger away from the lowest fret and closer to the higher fret. Hold the string firmly, so it only vibrates between your finger and your strumming hand, with the tip of your finger pressing.
Hold the pick.
A pick, also known as a plectrum, is a small piece of plastic used for picking out individual notes or strumming the guitar. You can get them at any music retailer. Although they are not essential to learn to play guitar, it is generally the way to start.
Famous Guitarists and Their Contributions To The Music Industry
He is the most influential guitarist of all time. Regardless of the format, Eric Clapton has always kept his brilliant blues-inspired guitar playing in the forefront, influencing Eddie Van’s and others.
Jimi Hendrix is one of the most important electric guitar players and arguably the modern electric guitar sound creator.
This guitarist is rock music’s ultimate riff master, guitar orchestrator and studio revolution. He gained international recognition for being the founder of the popular rock band Led Zeppelin.
Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen became one of the greatest rock bands in history. He receives credit for popularizing the tapping technique, which is today used extensively by guitarists all over the world.
Final Take Away
Guitar has gained popularity again especially during the lock down period of the pandemic where it got new players, a bigger volume of learning materials and more. Whether you are a classical fan, folk, rock, or funk music, every genre has a canon of great guitarists who popularized it and propelled it forward. The bottom line remains that guitar is not dead but on a steady rise with new guitarists in the game!