Washington Post Says Guitar Is (Nearly) Done!

Image placeholder title

In a story published today at washingtonpost.com, reporter Geoff Edgers filed a well-researched state-of-the-guitar-industry piece under the headline, "Why My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Slow, Secret Death of the Six-String Electric. And Why You Should Care."

 You can read it right HERE.

Obviously, Guitar Player has its own concerns over the supposed aging of the guitar market, as well as the seeming reluctance of teens and millennials to embrace the guitar with the same enthusiasm, drive, and gear frenzy as those born in, say, the '50s, '60s, '70s, and '80s.

In fact, we published our own online thought piece back in February, and we devoted a cover story to the subject for our March 2017 issue.

Image placeholder title

You can read the article HERE. 

The Washington Post report presents some sobering financial numbers regarding the health of stalwart manufacturers such as Gibson and Fender, as well as long-time storefronts such as Guitar Center. It ain't pretty.

We also hear revered vintage dealer — and former GP columnist — George Gruhn launch the time-honored lament that there are no guitar heroes any more.

It's certainly a "truth-y" statement (to conjure Stephen Colbert) — at least as far as my generation defined guitar heroes.

But, then again, it's not my generation that will be called in as a "person of interest" if the guitar ends up murdered, or even killed under suspicious circumstances. It appears that mature players in their 40s and beyond still love gear, still buy gear, still talk (somewhat incessantly) about gear, still buy guitar magazines, and still aspire to absorb at least a tiny beam of reflected glow from the guitar gods they worshipped in their youth.

"I didn't see a thing officer, but you might want to talk to that suspicious teenager sauntering around the crime scene."

The challenge — and I truly believe most every guitar manufacturer is explicitly aware of this terror-fraught mission — is engaging young people about playing guitar on their terms. How do we interest them in the guitar? How do we keep them playing guitar once they get interested?

Young people don't care about guitar heroes like I did? Fine. Done. Not gonna whine about stuff that ain't happening.

I'm also not going to wait for time's pendulum to swing back and bring with it the era of guitar heroes again, because I'm not certain that's a sure thing, and I don't want to wait for providence to save the day.

There are a lot of points to ponder in the Guitar Player and Washington Post stories, and there are tons of yet unclaimed guitars out there hoping that you or me or someone — or a whole bunch of someones — can get young people of all ages, styles, sexes, and artistic levels to adore those planks of wood and rescue them from being orphans.

How Would YOU Save the Guitar?

All of us at Guitar Player would love your insights, strategies, and wild ideas. After all, the magazine turned 50 this year, and wouldn't it be nice if the brand could celebrate a 75th or 100th anniversary.

If you don't believe the guitar needs saving — well, please feel free to share that view with us, as well.

Here are three ways to join the discourse:

[1] Post a comment at the bottom of this article page.

[2] Go to Guitar Player's Facebook page and jump into the comments section in our post about the Washington Post article.

[3] Send me an email at mmolenda@nbmedia.com, and I'll compile the comments for a follow-up web article.

Okay! Let's get a communal party of hope and action cooking. I'll be waiting for your counsel and commentary!