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Too long a read at this hour, but there's one flaw I saw immediately.

They're looking at retail guitar sales when making the claim (online retail as well, I assume). Have they considered there may be an increase of sales in the used online market?

Just for shits and giggles I search for Reverb.com's growth:

How Reverb’s social strategy grew it to 7 million users and $100 million in revenue in just 3 years (VB Live)

How about kijiji, craigslist or Gbase?

Lack of guitar gods is a weak culprit imo.
 

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Lack of guitar gods is a weak culprit imo.
This is possibly the death of the "vintage Guitar values". As told By one collector to me.

The appreciation of these things will reduce when those born before 1980 are dead and gone. Unless something huge revives the Guitar heroes of some future generation. Imo
 

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This is possibly the death of the "vintage Guitar values". As told By one collector to me.

The appreciation of these things will reduce when those born before 1980 are dead and gone. Unless something huge revives the Guitar heroes of some future generation. Imo
It is up to us as parents to revive those heroes.

My son knows and respects what each have to offer. He wanted to chill to Niel Young yesterday on the way home from swimming class. On the way there he requested EVH, Hot for Teacher.
 

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I'm of the younger generation; born in '92. I think it's mostly to do with the fact that very few of us can afford to pay the prices on retail instruments. 9 chances out of 10, I buy used.

With the costs of everything rising (food, housing, insurance, education, etc.) its nigh on impossible for me to consider buying any instrument even at the $1000 mark at a retail chain. I usually scrape together some savings and wait for the item I want to show up used; it's easier to swallow when the depreciation has already taken it's toll.

I guess being younger has also made me skeptical of the vintage market. I understand all the mojo behind it, and I get that it's from an era of meticulous craftsmanship, but I don't understand how even the guitars that were crappy in that era have come to be so costly. It'd be cool to own one, but I'm not from that generation, so the nostalgia holds very little significance for me.

There are still a lot of guitar heroes today, but there's so damn many and it's hard to pick just a few in modern music. One things for sure, you'll no longer find them on radio rock; it's become too generic in recent years.
 

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i've been telling you guys this for a few years now. it's not it's difficult to see. i've said before. all you need to do is stand on the street corner for a little while. you see those young men riding around in their cars? what's bumpin' on their stereo? it ain't rock. it's edm, it's warbly girl singers. it's rap. none of those types are guitar driven. rock itself is dying, and the guitar is going with it. face it, the golden age is long over. you can point all you want to about the obscure bands no one but you and 3 other guys ever heard of, and how they are new and pretty good. they might be fucking great, but nobody is buying their stuff, and nobody gives a shit who they are.

rock and guitar driven music isn't dead yet, but it's undeniably beginning to die. sure, you can look on youtube and see tons of little kids who are insanely good. a large portion of them learned because of a video game. they didn't learn because they want to be as cool as joe perry. those kids don't form bands and rock school gymnasiums. i haven't sen a high school host a battle of the bands in 30 years.
kids also listen differently now. they aren't as into the high fidelity that helped make rock so good. these days it's shitty ear buds that came with your phone. people rarely play whole albums anymore. now it's a fav list generated electronically by how often you play a particular song. we had the mix tape, but it is a different thing.
most kids listen to music now as a distraction, not as an inspiration. everything about music from the way we make it, to the way we listen to it, and why, has changed. sure it's kinda sad. it's like when you see your dog getting old. a great friend who's time is near. like you r ancient dog, rock was a great and loyal friend. now it's old and it's hips are bad, so it doesn't chase a frisbee anymore.
it's the way it goes.
lastly, music is marketed differently now. so you can partially blame the industry itself for it's own slow death.
 

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Everything dies eventually. I cant see the upcoming cyborg generation really giving a shit about the music industry.......
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
In 1982, when I was passing through Kalamazoo, I stopped by what was left of Gibson in town, at their Parsons Street facility. Being a lucky SOB, they were sort of closed for inventory, but the guy I spoke to on the phone, said "C'mon over and I'll show you around"" At that point, they were relocated to Nashville and Memphis, but the Kalamazoo facility still handled archtops and repairs to heritage instruments (hence the name "Heritage" when the folks working there bought out the facility from Gibson and started their own company). The fellow who showed me around took me through the facility built in response to the "folk boom" of the 60's, when Gibson couldn't turn out acoustics fast enough.

Remember the last few episodes of Mad Men, when Sterling Cooper was bought out, and there was just all these empty offices and hallways in their previous facility after everyone moved? That's what this looked like, with 60's office furniture (lots of tubular steel desks and swivel chairs) abandoned, and bulletin boards with the odd memo still pinned up. It was like a mighty empire in ruins, and this was all that was left. It took up most of a city block, with the original building occupying just a tiny corner.

Cheezy makes some very good points above:
1) There's a change in the style of popular music
2) There's a change in the way that music is integrated into daily life
3) There's a change in the way that music is marketed

In part, I suppose, this stems from the omnipresence of youth culture. I recall well, lying in bed with mononucleosis during high school, timing things just right so that I could catch the opening riffs of the Hollies' "Look Through Any Window", before my radio batteries died. There was a fixed playlist and predictable order, but more importantly, MY music was only available 2-3 hrs a day on the Montreal stations that played it. Compared to the availability of 2017, rock/pop in the 60's was like handouts of rice in a refugee camp from the back of a truck. Because it was such restricted access, and because it was played on guitar for the most part, it was important to us. I don't know that present circumstances allow quite as many to feel committed to their music, and committed to guitar. For me, that explains the regular flood of cheap new Strat knockoffs being sold on Kijiji every day - many accompanied by the phrase "I thought I would learn but I gave it up".

That said, George Gruhn deals in guitars, and not amps (though, to be fair, a great many of the guitars he buys and sells do not require amps). While Fender and Gibson may have some struggles, any "death of the electric guitar" would need to be gauged not only by sales figures from those big two, but also amplifier sales. And if the ads I see in Vintage Guitar each month are any indication, there are a LOT of both guitar and amplifier companies. I'm not entirely convinced they all make a decent living, but the effectsdatabase ( DiscoFreq's Guitar Effects Database ) regularly announces the introduction of several new pedal companies every single week. So, not quite dead yet.
 

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I'd say we're quickly approaching the tipping point where the number of guitars produced outweighs the number of guitars required. I know a handful of people with 20, 30 or 40+ guitars; I know at least 100 people that only have one or two guitars. We on this forum are pretty much outliers in our guitar buying patterns.

If all of the companies have been producing guitars regularly for 60 or more years at this point, you eventually get to where the market is over saturated. I think the article in the OP is more of a nod to that phenomenon; there's not enough demand to back current supply because there's already a huge amount of guitars available for cheaper on the used market.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I'd say we're quickly approaching the tipping point where the number of guitars produced outweighs the number of guitars required. I know a handful of people with 20, 30 or 40+ guitars; I know at least 100 people that only have one or two guitars. We on this forum are pretty much outliers in our guitar buying patterns.

If all of the companies have been producing guitars regularly for 60 or more years at this point, you eventually get to where the market is over saturated. I think the article in the OP is more of a nod to that phenomenon; there's not enough demand to back current supply because there's already a huge amount of guitars available for cheaper on the used market.
With clothes and cars there is a certain extent to which "style" influences the continuing purchase of more. Plenty of closets get pruned and the results left on the doorstep for some charity to pick up, or left at a Goodwill or Value Village drop-off box. Cars get traded in for a newer model with more snazzier features. It's not often that people leave their "old guitars" on the doorstep for the Diabetes Foundation to pick up, or that folks bring in their '72 les Paul for a newer model with robo-tuning. Hell, we even PAY to have guitars look like they're old and beat up.

So while the continuing production of clothes and cars doesn't appear to result in a "saturated market", the same sort of pattern does not seem to appear with guitars because they do not get worn out or used up and fashion plays a much smaller role.

I'm reminded of an uncle of mine who owned a very successful baby-furniture manufacturing business in Montreal. He made cribs and similar things. Business was initially good. Trouble was, the products were well made and lasted. Plus, people weren't having quite as many babies. There'd be a bit of a bump in sales whenever new safety standards were introduced and an existing model of crib was designated out of spec. But too many folks would buy one crib, use it for both of their two kids, then give the crib to someone they knew. New purchases were getting fewer and farther between. So, being the former yo-yo champ that he was, he understood the ups and downs of business, and he went into things that broke down, like strollers, and eventually, when my cousins assumed reins of the business, they ended up making pillows and mattresses for patio furniture. The big guitar-makers are sort of in a similar position. If customer X buys a decent guitar and likes it, they may never buy another. But even if they do, it may be an existing 2nd-hand one, rather than a newly-made one. Furthermore, their guitars may get passed on to their kids. So, nothing broken down, no need for new purchases. Ergo, easy for the market to get saturated.

Again, notwithstanding the cogent observations Cheezy made, we need to distinguish between the electric guitar manufacturing industry, and the role that electric guitar has in contemporary (and future contemporary) music. Just because I'm not buying a new guitar, doesn't mean I play or value my existing guitars any less.
 

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I think it's just logical that guitar music would eventually fade away. I heard once that once the Beatles break up, that will be the end of it. Perhaps a bit premature, but they got the sentiment right, in the long run.

I've known for decades now that the guitar would eventually fall out of fashion. I was guessing by 2020 or 2025. It has to be gone from our collective memory long enough that the resurrection of 'guitar and it's music' will occur in precisely 95 years. So-eth spake Soothsayer and Prophet Peart. So it be Done!


I guess being younger has also made me skeptical of the vintage market. I understand all the mojo behind it, and I get that it's from an era of meticulous craftsmanship, but I don't understand how even the guitars that were crappy in that era have come to be so costly. It'd be cool to own one, but I'm not from that generation, so the nostalgia holds very little significance for me.
The funny part is, like Kawasaki two-stroke bikes, our memories of these things are tainted by time. We seem to have a fonder recollection of these things than their actual existence would explain. Compared to today's builders, 'meticulous craftsmanship' didn't really exist. There were quite a few bad guitars from Fender, Gretsch, Rickenbacker and Gibson in 'the golden age', but they get forgotten about through the hazy lens of history and our passion for these things. Quality of natural materials was better, IMO, but a lot of the manmade stuff had a ways to go. We like a lot of that old stuff as much for it's flaws as for it's perfections, IMO.
 

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I think that the shift in how we (in the Western World) spend our leisure time has also had an effect. People spend so much time working and commuting, plus even when they are home, they can still be reached via mobile technology, so there is less time available for leisure activities. On top of that, the leisure time that is left is largely occupied with much more addictive pastimes like social media and porn.

The rise of women playing guitar and the "Taylor Swift Effect" are consistent with my observations as a music teacher.
 

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Don't care myself if it is on its way down. My age group will be doing it to the end with each other. If they don't re sell for great numbers I don't care. They look way better in the living room than a expensive painting on the wall. Play on.

Cover band work has slowed but open jams are getting more popular in my area. That means more players playing each night.
 
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