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Author: Subject: The death of the electric guitar?

True Peach





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  posted on 7/6/2017 at 11:30 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.

'Rock is the Devil's music' Embed Share Play Video3:31
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.”

The spell of Hendrix and Santana Embed Share Play Video3:16
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.

[How much did this guitar story cost me? $2, 376.99.]

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.

[Behind the scenes: how we got paid to set a guitar on fire]

“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.’&#8201;” 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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World Class Peach



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  posted on 7/7/2017 at 05:16 AM
Interesting question - who is the last guitarist who really caught the public attention and inspired a ton of people to start pickin'?

Eddie Van Halen sold a lot of pointy guitars. SRV got a lot of people playing his blues. Anyone post-2000?

 

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  posted on 7/7/2017 at 06:30 AM
My best educated/uneducated guess for post 2000 would be Joe Bonamassa. He seems to be the present "IT" guy for the electric/acoustic guitar.
 

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  posted on 7/7/2017 at 07:45 AM
I'm thinking more like guitar heroes who become household names.

My wife is a music fan, not obsessed like us, though. She finds bootlegs too harsh and most guitar solos too long. Still, she loves Zepp and Jane's Addiction and Pink Floyd. She knows Eddie VH and SRV by their sound - she could pick them out of a crowd.

I don't think she will ever know who Joe Bonamassa is.


 

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  posted on 7/7/2017 at 07:55 AM
The days of every kid wanting to start a garage band are over. they'd rather spend all day on their smart phone, rather than learn to play guitar. I overheard some kids talking at midas the other day, "hey man I got some beats, some really cool beats, we should hook up dude". so that what you have now. I guess there are exceptions, a few kids want to play guitar, far far less these days.
 

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  posted on 7/7/2017 at 01:16 PM
Really interesting. I don't think it is as simple as a need for guitar heroes, but I feel bad for Gruhn, sad to see his incredible shop suffer.

Seems there is an acoustic guitar revival though, lots of interest there, and a demand for craftsmanship that didn't exist until recently, except among an elite pro guitar cult, so I wonder how sales are?

It might be cyclical, Bert Jansch said something re this, wish I could find the quote- how folk tranforms into rock, then rock morphs into commercial pop, then people want roots again so a folk revival happens.

Gibson and Fender might go down, but in a way the huge commercialism of Guitar Hero-ism trivialized electric guitar to where most guitars being sold are crap anyway, so in some ways rock is a suicidal industry.

But then, Nigel returns to the stage, all is forgiven, and the Majesty of Rock arises from its ashes, like the phoenix of yore.

 

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  posted on 7/7/2017 at 03:16 PM
In the last maybe 8 or 9 years I have gone to Guitar Center, (and alot of other guitar and music instrument stores) it's like a ghost town everytime I go in. No one there most of the time If any customers are in there it's 20 somethings looking for turntables to DJ or synthesizers. The very few times I ever see anyone checking out or playing guitar are old timers at least a decade older than me. Very sad.

I am happy to hear that more ladies are now taking up guitar. While I'm not a Taylor Swift fan if it gets ladies and girls interested in playing guitar, fantastic.

I do lament the end of the era of the true guitar virtuoso. I have no musical talent whatsoever and have only played a little acoustic but I have always been in awe of the "magic" created by the fleeted fingers of so many brilliant guitar players.

Clapton, Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, Santana, B.B. King, Page, Townshend, Rory Gallagher, Robert Johnson, Howe, Hackett, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker, Jeff Beck, SRV, Eric Johnson, and so many more, all had their own signature artistry and style and for lack of a better word, a sort of mystical ethereal quality and aspirational appreciation of the guitar themselves and their own appreciation and wonder and respect for other unique and talented players, all which made people appreciate their music in awe and really did seem like "magic" that was crafted by "wizards" or "gods" which is why people looked up to them or wanted to aspire to be a guitar player.

That era of honing your craft and wanting to be the very best at making music and via the vehicle of guitar, at inventing and pioneering new sounds and tones, that's gone or at least dying.

Now everyone wants to see what digital loop or sample (and ironically they often sample the classic rock artists, LOL!), beat or rap battle or boy band or bland teeny bopper pop they can make asap and upload to the internet or youtube so they can get zillions of views and be the next Daft Punk or Skrillex or JayZ or Brittany Spears & Justin Bieber and play at Coachella or The Download Festival. UGH! Count me out.

With rare exception I have not heard any decent new music or artist since about 1998. That's about when music and guitar started to officially be replaced by crap.

Since this is majorly depressing me, here's something to lift us all up. And I'm still getting chills listening to it. Guitar GODS Steve Howe of YES and Steve Hackett of Genesis in my very favorite Guitar Supergroup (something of which the likes you will never see again I lament), the aptly named 80's supergroup GTR with "When The Heart Rules The Mind". THIS is magic folks!! Check at all those guitars that Howe and Hackett have next to them on the stage that is a replica of a guitar! What a great antidote to crap rap and electronica. Take that Skrillex!! LOL! :-)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uc6rVEulARA

As the song says..."Follow your dreams". THAT is what guitar was about to so many, aspiring to be and do something better, with substance, meaning, and purpose, and I think that's what music has lost, now it's all profanity and violence fueled nihilism and bland pop. You will never see songs like the Allman Brothers Band's "Dreams" or YES's "Lift Me Up" and "Wondrous Stories", or Robert Johnson's "Dust My Broom" where musicians and guitarists who were true artisans wanted to be true masters of their craft and to SAY SOMETHING POSITIVE and INSPIRING via their musical voice, their guitar. Guitarists wanted to make people feel good, feel better, make people happy, give people a moment of meaning and light, joy, and positivity, they wanted to lift people up and give them a temporary oasis away from the harsh realities of life. I've read Duane Allman, Carlos Santana, Steve Hackett, Buddy Guy and many other guitarists say these very things in many of their interviews over the years.

Duane Allman said in a rare interview for a promo album called Duane Allman Dialogs: “There’s a lot of different forms of communication, but music is absolutely the purest one, man. You can’t hurt anybody with music. You can maybe offend somebody with songs and words, but you can’t offend anybody with music – it’s all just good.

“There’s nothing at all that could ever be bad about music, about playing it. It’s a wonderful thing, a grace.”

That time has gone. It's not about an era, it's about a feeling and way of thought, the 60's love and peace that spilled over into the 70's and 80's, using music as a vehicle of change to make a difference and a better world to lift people up and make a positive difference and social comment morphed into rap and grunge. Now it's not about music and uplifting people, it's about spreading hate, division, profanity. Very sad.









[Edited on 7/7/2017 by ArleneWeiss]

[Edited on 7/7/2017 by ArleneWeiss]

 

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  posted on 7/7/2017 at 03:34 PM
After the Final Great War, when tattered rebels leave the remains of the Great Civilization, they leave at night, and a cloudy one at that. Horses and pack dogs on a dark trail to the remote highlands of freedom. Gray, brown, and tan the colors of their clothes and safety. And a last mule catches up to the pack train, and it’s burden is different….. Maskull the Wanderer said “It’ll be last to join us and the first to go if needed, but go it does”….. and on the poor mule was a wooden flute, a bellied drum, and cracked and beat bit of solar gear, with frayed wires and leaky batteries, a box-less speaker, and the last, an old burlap woven sack, with a twin eared headstock and the words “Gibson” on it. Maskull never mentioned the second extra mule, lugging the Twin Reverb…..

 

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  posted on 7/7/2017 at 05:43 PM
wow Bird, did you write that? Here's a good pic for your book cover (gotta get permission from Tinariwen):

 

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  posted on 7/7/2017 at 05:43 PM
Well if Fender and Gibson are bitching it's their own fault. Their instruments are too expensive especially Gibsons.

Plenty of kids in my town play something one way or the other.

Here's to all of us "Rockers" keeping the vibe alive!

[Edited on 7/8/2017 by StratDal]

 

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  posted on 7/7/2017 at 06:40 PM
Hey hey my my

 

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  posted on 7/7/2017 at 08:23 PM
In a just world everyone, even in the mainstream, would know who Derek Trucks is. He's as good at guitar as any of the guys who became legendary pop culture figures.

 

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  posted on 7/7/2017 at 09:03 PM
It is a shame theat guitars are not selling but I have this thought. Maybe the guitar companies have over produced and there is just a lack of buyers for the amount produced. Also, the dealers get old guitars and ask a fortune for them and people will not pay the amount. One thing that hurts is the fact that a cheaper guitar can produce the sound of a 59 Les Paul or a 56 Strat because of the modern electronic pedals out there. Another thing is that new guitars are not as well built as the old ones. I have said that if Gibson kept making a 58 Les Paul just like they did in 58 it would be a good thing. Cheaper built guitars and not as good quality seems to hurt everyone. I have a 72 Les Paul and will not get rid of it becUse the newer stuff is not as good.

 

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  posted on 7/8/2017 at 09:12 AM
quote:
In a just world everyone, even in the mainstream, would know who Derek Trucks is. He's as good at guitar as any of the guys who became legendary pop culture figures.


I doubt if I could find one out of a hundred kids at my local high school who would know of Derek.

Worse, I doubt 2 or 3 out of a hundred would know of Duane.

 

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  posted on 7/8/2017 at 10:00 AM
quote:
It is a shame theat guitars are not selling but I have this thought. Maybe the guitar companies have over produced and there is just a lack of buyers for the amount produced. Also, the dealers get old guitars and ask a fortune for them and people will not pay the amount. One thing that hurts is the fact that a cheaper guitar can produce the sound of a 59 Les Paul or a 56 Strat because of the modern electronic pedals out there. Another thing is that new guitars are not as well built as the old ones. I have said that if Gibson kept making a 58 Les Paul just like they did in 58 it would be a good thing. Cheaper built guitars and not as good quality seems to hurt everyone. I have a 72 Les Paul and will not get rid of it becUse the newer stuff is not as good.

A "pedal" will not make a junk guitar sound like a 59 les Paul [or play like one]If gibson made les pauls like they did in the 50s, nobody could afford to buy them, there are luthiers out there who do, but they are really expensive. saying the "newer stuff" is just not good quality, is just not so, there are plenty of great guitars out there that are affordable, and I think the prices on good vintage stuff will continue to drop.

 

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  posted on 7/8/2017 at 01:42 PM
As boomers we move in tandem; like turning a cruise ship rather than a row boat. Generational differences are not just in Guitars. Quality furniture; antiques; expensive tile and materials. The millennials just either have different tastes or shallower pocketbooks. Out parents complained we didn't go to the opera. Life just goes forward
 

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  posted on 7/8/2017 at 05:29 PM
Totally anecdotal, so take it for what it's worth but my local guitar shop is HOPPING. I jog by it every day and always see one or two kids walking in for lessons with axes slum on their backs.

I've thought to myself several times who interesting it is that so many people appear to be playing / buying guitars and taking guitar lessons.

At the same time, my cousin produces rap records, has been making beats since he was a young teenager. From doing that he got into drums and piano which he taught himself. I'm a rap fan so I'm biased but if any of you think that making good beats is easy, I think you should reconsider.

There's a reason Dre is a billionaire.

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 7/8/2017 at 07:06 PM
Electric guitar isn't going away.

 

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Maximum Peach



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  posted on 7/9/2017 at 01:34 PM
Interesting read , thanks for posting. I have been wanting to start a thread along the same lines of ...guitar heroes/gods, the current state of rock based music and etc.

This is an interesting quote from an Ian Paice interview I read.

You can make the best record at the wrong time and it will disappear without a trace. You can make the worst record at the right time and have a major hit. There’s no logic to anything that goes on in our business


I believe the notion of today's electric guitar and the state/culture of today's music go hand and hand.

How long can we say Rock N Roll has been around 55-60 yrs? Early 60's on I guess. Rock started with bass, drums, guitar, singer. That form of music took fire in the early days with kids and just exploded. Thats what was needed to produce some of the greatest music known to man kind, that is all they had and knew during the infant years. Yardbirds, Stones, Beatles and it just escalated into being louder,more in your face, dangerous sounding bands like Zep, The Who,Cream . Different off shoots of rock music with jazz, blues,folk, prog and etc began to be born. I could name bands and genres or Rock for days.

What is the common thread of all (well most of ) the classic rock we know of the 60's to the mid to late 80's? IT"S THE RIFF! For the most part what produces the riff?
A NASTY SNARLING LOUD ELECTRIC GUTAR! Sadly you dont hear it these days to often. Why ? Not sure. Music can go through fads and rock based riff guitar driven music has been almost a lost art. It's still around , but not what we all are and were accustomed to.

It was mentioned earlier by someone ,who was the last guitar player to catch someones attention to make people play, anyone post 2000. Me , I would personally put that back to the late 80's, maybe early 90's. To me that's when the world of riff based guitar driven music seem to step down the ladder to other forms of rock or genres of music that do not rely on guitar driven songs.

There have been a few guitar players of the last 25-30yrs emerge no doubt. Warren, Derek, Joe Bonamassa , Zakk Wylde,Jimmy Herring, maybe more I am missing, but it pales in comparisons to the 60's-80's. All the ones I mentioned are great guitarist and always should be mentioned with the legends Of Duane,Clapton, Sanatana, Blackmore,Beck,Page Hendrix, but there is a difference for me. You don't hear the signature riffs ,hooks,melody lines in guitar based bands anymore. Nobody writes riffs anymore.
Well I think it is being done to a small degree but its buried by other forms of music and not the taste of a good part of the music listening world sadly.

Why did I pick up the guitar 30 plus years ago? It was because of hearing Jimmy Page play
Bring It On Home, Aerosmiths Same Old Song And Dance, Deep Purple's Highway Star from Made IN Japan and Blackmore abusing his Strat with mastery . Unfortunately music like that is not being made anymore.

It's sad to hear that Gibson and Fender are struggling. I had no idea it was to the degrees that were mentioned. Instruments can get expensive. I do not own a Gibson or Fender due to those reasons. Great gear ,but to rich for me. I play Epiphone's and they work and sound great to me. Some I have modified some I have not. You can definitely get a nice playing and working Epi LP without breaking the bank. I don't play Marshall amps. Peavey Classics and Vox work for me. You can get a lot of great gear out there without going broke. Dont let the guitar snobs tell you different.

I do not think the electric guitar is dying, and never will. Music just changes and it is just not the main flavor these days, or being used the way it should in my opinion. Dont get me started on country music.


I read a few things awhile back in some guitar mag's that kinda stuck with me.
Malcolm Young was talking about guitarist these days where they don't let they're playing swing and let the music breath as far as when to play and not to.

Joe Satriani mentioned that you don't always have to write and play highly technically pieces,he just chooses to do that. He went on to play a simple riff and said that was just as good or exciting as anything else.

John Fogerty talked when writing a song that he felt if you came up with a catchy sounding guitar riff melody to build around you should have a great song.

If you are a father or know any young people who are getting into play guitar, buy them Derek and The Dominoes, Zep's Physical Graffiti , Purples In Rock. Aerosmiths Rock's,ABB first release, any AC/DC, First three Santana and ZZ top releases and sprinkle in some Free,Faces,Peter Green , Hooker and Django and let them go. Just my choice's!












[Edited on 7/9/2017 by jszfunk]

[Edited on 7/9/2017 by jszfunk]

 

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True Peach



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  posted on 7/9/2017 at 02:02 PM
Heres an example of a les paul copy, made just like they did in the late 50s [Gil Yaron] it will cost you over 10 grand though. this guy is a master craftsman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJh-uSkSphE

He loves making classic Fender style guitars https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INr3KUKsWM4

[Edited on 7/9/2017 by pops42]

 

Maximum Peach



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  posted on 7/9/2017 at 02:31 PM
If that's a challenge to the piggy bank, you could always cobble together something like this, wouldn't set you back too much I think:

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 7/10/2017 at 12:37 AM
Well, one thing that has been interesting to see is the "School of Rock" thing. Lots of kids who take lessons at a local store but have not been able to put a band together can get placed in one to learn how to play with other people. It has some cool aspects.
 

Peach Extraordinaire



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  posted on 7/10/2017 at 08:10 AM
The death of electric guitar is just another symptom of the death of rock music/rock radio by corporate entities like Ticketbasturd and Clear Channel. There is no outlet to get new guitar oriented music to the public because there is only classic rock radio. Bands can only make money touring and those extortionist racketeers Ticketbasturd taking almost a third doesn't leave much for the band and they price out the true fans. Pearl Jam was right. And now everybody is paying the price ...

 

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