| Visit Our Catalog at SteelGuitarShopper.com |

Post new topic Why My Guitar Gently Weeps
Reply to topic
Author Topic:  Why My Guitar Gently Weeps
Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 30 Apr 2019 10:51 am    
Reply with quote

Interesting article on guitar sales and marketing. Does it parallel the steel guitar story of the past couple decades? The final few paragraphs are alarming, in a ridiculous kinda way.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2017/lifestyle/the-slow-secret-death-of-the-electric-guitar/?utm_term=.49393c3b8d63
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Curt Trisko


From:
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Post  Posted 1 May 2019 7:39 am    
Reply with quote

Here's the part of the article I bet Fred is talking about:

Quote:
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.


The first part of the article talks about the shift towards younger people making music with computer software instead of electric guitars. I was slow to become enthusiastic about that shift and have come to realize that there are some strong upsides with it. For one, people making musically digitally tend to be a lot more conscious of how the music actually sounds - texture, volume, density, etc. and disregarding how it looks or the glamorous aspect of it. Haven't we all seen too many concerts where the guitarist is way too loud, over-plays, and is too appearance-focused? Also, I'm getting old and so I'd rather listen to nice music than watch a self-absorbed person wiggle around with a guitar.

For the people I know getting into steel guitar, it's not because of the glamour or because they want to emulate a musical hero... it's totally because of what it adds to songs and expression. In that way, I don't think it parallels.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 1 May 2019 8:59 am    
Reply with quote

At least the big hair wigglers were actual players. I didn’t care for 90% of the music they were playing and never went to their concerts, but I did respect their talent.

The real shift in music production was in affordable home recording equipment. Digital/desktop recording was the catalyst, and when that happened, it put production directly in the creators’ hands. You didn’t have to play guitar particularly well to cut and paste and speed up the take, just as now you don’t have to be a particularly inspiring writer or be able to sing your way out of a paper bag to get a song on YouTube. And don’t get me started on digital compression abuse.

Curt, if you are saying that the musical end product is more important than the means of producing it or how you look when you’re playing it, I understand that point and agree. It is similar to the Frank Zappa philosophy, that music can be played on a bicycle if you know what you’re doing. But...

The Taylor Swift factor seems to be taking the guitar right back to the Elvis glamor of it - being more about how you wear it than how you play it - and for all the rejection of superficiality that preceded her, that appears to be why the girl kids of today are attracted to her. Maybe the big guitar makers could care less, as long as she’s selling guitars. But guitar players be like, wuhthuhfugg is going on around here?

I think the message is that every style of guitar playing has been taken as far as it will go. The kid down the street can weedily-deedily-wee like Eddie Van Halen, and any guitarist who wants a gig is expected to be a monster in a variety of styles. Well, that is a lot of chops to keep up for a few gigs a month, and that’s how the instrument could very well drift into mediocrity as far as pop stylings go. It is already going through a “devo” period just as horns did after the big band era, and before reclaiming their supportive niche in modern pop.

Maybe I shouldn’t have brought up the pedal steel parallels - probably a whole nuther bag o’ beans.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Dennis Brion


From:
Atwater, Ohio USA
Post  Posted 1 May 2019 9:05 am    
Reply with quote

Think that last statement is right on Curt, I'm learning to play at 65 cause I was overwhelmed at 17 when my dad was trying to show me a few things! Love the sound and the way it fills up a song along behind the singer. Mostly songs with no steel generally could use that little bit of accent and not " chops" just add a little goes a long way!
_________________
1969 Custom built d10, Fender 25R practice amp,Dunlop pedal, Peavy Special 130 w/15" Blackwidow, Gretsch resonator, 41 Gibson 7 string lap steel, Epiphone flat top, 67 Epiphone Olympic
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Curt Trisko


From:
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Post  Posted 1 May 2019 9:14 am    
Reply with quote

Fred Treece wrote:
Curt, if you are saying that the musical end product is more important than the means of producing it or how you look when you’re playing it, I understand that point and agree. It is similar to the Frank Zappa philosophy, that music can be played on a bicycle if you know what you’re doing.


I'm just saying that after resisting the idea of the musician being totally digital instead of playing an instrument competently, I'm coming to terms with it. Despite the loss of the physical aspect of playing music, I can't deny that it removes the distraction of superficiality.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 1 May 2019 9:36 am    
Reply with quote

As I said, I didn’t go see many big hair band concerts, but I have been and still do go see other great musicians play their instruments and sing great songs. It will probably be a long time before I would pay to watch somebody play a guitar sound module, but you never know. I think that will always be the difference, that it is more fun for some of us to watch somebody actually playing an instrument than manipulating a digital gizmo. Now if the gizmo operator wore big green glasses and a sparkly suit and could dance on stilts, now that’s entertainment baby, and I can sell that...
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Donny Hinson


From:
Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 11 May 2019 3:20 pm    
Reply with quote

Guitars aren't like smartphones. They don't go obsolete, and the technology in them doesn't (have to) change; they last for decades. It's pretty foolish to think that at some point their market won't get saturated. When guitars were relatively expensive and imports were crappy, there was less chance of this happening. But now, with decent quality low-cost imports flooding into the country, the market can't help but make an eventual downturn.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 13 May 2019 4:41 pm    
Reply with quote

Au contraire mon frere, sayeth Rolling Stone:
“Some of the perception that guitars are dying has been brought on by the retail world – of physical guitar stores on the street – shuttering fast.....Robert Miles, an IBISWorld research analyst, says that while guitar manufacturing revenue is on the rise, it’s the reverse for guitar retailers, which are being squeezed out by big-box stores and online sellers like Amazon.”

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/guitars-are-getting-more-popular-so-why-do-we-think-theyre-dying-630446/

As Curt’s quote from the article linked in the OP indicates, it’s the guitar’s role in pop music that is changing. The raw market numbers are still fairly strong, probably due in no small part to outsourcing the manufacturing.

You’re right, Donny; guitars don’t go obsolete. But maybe pop song stylings that feature that 8- or 16-bar solo section do. It’s one of the the things I always looked forward to when listening to a song, and sometimes it could make an otherwise crappy song worthwhile.
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

All times are GMT - 8 Hours
Jump to:  
Please review our Forum Rules and Policies
Our Online Catalog
Strings, CDs, instruction, and steel guitar accessories
www.SteelGuitarShopper.com

The Steel Guitar Forum
148 S. Cloverdale Blvd.
Cloverdale, CA 95425 USA

Click Here to Send a Donation


BIAB Styles
Ray Price Shuffles for Band-in-a-Box
by Jim Baron