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Author Topic:  Pedal Steels Will Soon Be A Dime A Dozen
Melvin Farmer

 

From:
Saraland, Alabama, USA
Post  Posted 5 Mar 2020 5:11 pm    
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtAr9b-bBR0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GM7Fi2tqGo0
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Last edited by Melvin Farmer on 5 Mar 2020 5:20 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Melvin Farmer

 

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Saraland, Alabama, USA
Post  Posted 5 Mar 2020 5:14 pm    
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ttt
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Donny Hinson

 

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Glen Burnie, Md. U.S.A.
Post  Posted 9 Mar 2020 5:25 pm    
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David Mitchell wrote:
17 million views, nearly a half million subscribers and 264,000 likes is pretty good evidence. Find any pedal steel player living or dead that has done that. David Hartley is the closest with 2 or 3 million views. These girls are good. There's another one with 23 million views. It's the song Amazing Grace.


Of course, there are cat and car-crash videos do just as well. Oh Well I think that YouTube video counts are a poor judge of the overall popularity of anything with substance.


Quote:
I think the reason people are not going nuts over a steel player is because most look like they are playing chess. It's about that interesting to watch and also the majority are old men. They simply don't put on a show for the young record buyers and concert goers.


Quite true. They also don't play music that most young people are interested in. And even if they did, instrumental music is (mostly) dead.


Quote:
Robert Randolph puts on a show but he's more the standard blues slide player than a pedal steel guitarist. I thought Sarah Jory would be the one to put steel guitars in the limelight but for whatever reason it never really happened. I'm not talking about the Grand Ole Opry. I'm talking about Sarah herself packing 80,000 fans into the Superdome.


I don't think any instrumentalist in the world could do that anymore. As I said above, instrumental music is mostly dead, except for a few niche markets. It's a visual world these days. And thanks to videos and smartphones, the majority of young people today are visually fixated and programmed to respond only to the sexually-oriented and totally bizarre stuff.

Different world today; I'm thinking the best is behind us. Thank God for memories! Mr. Green
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Rich Upright


From:
Florida, USA
Post  Posted 10 Mar 2020 12:41 am    
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There are so many other forms of music that can employ a steel guitar other than country music.

Yea, but only a country band is gonna wanna pay for it.
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Dustin Kleingartner


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Saint Paul MN, USA
Post  Posted 10 Mar 2020 7:01 am    
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Sure, I don't think it will ever be as mainstream as it was, but in my experience there is quite a bit of steel in music and in clubs.

I think that a lot of people have this idea that there is no live music with steel around them. This probably isn't true. It's just happening at places they would never think of going to. Places where they may assume young people are listening to music that made with computers. It's a niche thing, yes, but it's on tons of modern records (TONS), and I bet I could find a band with steel playing somewhere in my town 3 nights a week, every week.

Trash talking the music that young people are listening to probably won't help much either. Take Post Malone for example. This is someone I have a suspicion that a lot of people on internet forums would write off. I don't even know his music, but he is extremely popular... and he plays guitar. His music isn't guitar heavy at all, but he loves guitars. He played on the All-Star Elvis Tribute a few years ago and he's been on Dwight Yoakam's XM show. This is the kind of person that might actually help out the guitar industry's bottom line. Tomorrow's guitar heroes are going to look nothing like those of the past, and realistically, most of us will probably hate the music they make
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Rich Upright


From:
Florida, USA
Post  Posted 10 Mar 2020 7:36 am    
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"Trash talking the music that young people are listening to probably won't help much either."

Couldn't hurt!
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Dennis Montgomery


From:
Western Washington
Post  Posted 10 Mar 2020 8:02 am    
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Rich Upright wrote:
There are so many other forms of music that can employ a steel guitar other than country music.


That's how I fell in love with the instrument. I came to pedal steel through seeing Steve Howe of Yes playing one in the mid 70's. He already played a lot of steel on a Dual 6 Fender Stringmaster, but began recording with a ShoBud D10 on a couple albums and brought it on the Yes tours of '74 & '75. Just then I was starting to play bass in progressive rock bands and while we were all used to seeing him on the Stringmaster, none of us even knew what to call that new thing he was playing in it's place, but we knew we liked it!
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John Drury


From:
Gallatin, Tn USA
Post  Posted 11 Mar 2020 8:51 am    
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Dennis Montgomery wrote:
Erv Niehaus wrote:

I have a Scottish friend and he says that bagpipes are the missing link between noise and music! Very Happy
Erv


Good one Erv Laughing


Q: What's the definition of a gentleman?

A: Someone who knows how to play the bagpipes but chooses not to Winking


What is the similarity between bagpipes and a hand grenade?

Ans.: By the time you hear either one, it is too late!
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 11 Mar 2020 8:54 am    
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Good one! Laughing
Erv
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Bill C. Buntin

 

Post  Posted 11 Mar 2020 9:32 am    
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You guys know that some of us forumites play both? Ie pedal steel and the great highland bagpipe??

Btw most pipers tend to be “not sensitive” to bagpipe jokes. I’ve heard most all of them and they are pretty funny. A bad piper or professional “wannabe “ piper unfortunately causes a negative impact on the serious pipers. Because a badly setup and poorly played highland bagpipe is about as nauseating of an experience as I’ve ever heard.

However, give a listen to field marshal Montgomery or Simon frasier
University pipe band. And you will hear the bagpipe equivalent of the kind of steel playing that you hear at isgc.

Or listen Bruce gandy, jack lee or Richard parks.. those guys are to highland bagpipe like what the Big E and Paul Franklin are to pedal steel.

😀
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 11 Mar 2020 10:11 am    
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I played "Amazing Grace" at some get together on my pedal steel and afterwards a lady came up and said it was nice to hear that song played on something other than a bagpipe. Very Happy
Erv
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Bill C. Buntin

 

Post  Posted 11 Mar 2020 10:27 am    
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Very true. Amazing grace and the bagpipe (in the USA at least) is the equivalent of steel guitar rag anytime someone comes up with a request. Those tunes are most requested probably because how many lay people would know “any steel tune we like” or “any common variety highland bagpipe tune” ? They don’t know. So they ask for amazing grace and steel guitar rag.

I quit advertising for funerals etc because that is ALL I was ever requested to play.

And I quit agreeing to play the bagpipe in churches because amazing grace is all they want to hear. Ironically, amazing grace is not really a bagpipe tune at all. 😂

So alas now I play only for aesthetic and personal reasons. Not too many people can truly appreciate the great highland bagpipe. Or at least where I live.

Bill
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Paul Wade


From:
mundelein,ill
Post  Posted 11 Mar 2020 5:02 pm     .steel guitar
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Erv Niehaus wrote:
I played "Amazing Grace" at some get together on my pedal steel and afterwards a lady came up and said it was nice to hear that song played on something other than a bagpipe. Very Happy
Erv


😆 lol that's what my father in law said when I played
Amazing Grace. He is Scottish...
...
Pw
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Patrick Huey


From:
Nacogdoches, Texas, USA
Post  Posted 11 Mar 2020 7:13 pm    
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Erv Niehaus wrote:
Even a blind squirrel gets lucky every once in a while. Whoa!
Erv

Erv
David Mitchell is one of those very few individuals that could, without looking, find a showroom condition ‘67 Emmons for $200 in the middle of the Sahara Desert that’s been played three times for 45 minutes total and sat in its case undisturbed ever since....
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Matthew Walton


From:
Fort Worth, Texas
Post  Posted 11 Mar 2020 7:50 pm    
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Dustin Kleingartner wrote:
Trash talking the music that young people are listening to probably won't help much either.


Or the young folks listening for that matter. I come here, as a 24 year old, to learn and get inspired. And every time I see one of these threads come up, I just can't help but stop and rubberneck like a bad accident, and inevitably walk away pissed off. Call me overly sensitive or whatever you want, but if this forum was full of young folks doing nothing but talking about how guys older than 60 are ruining the instrument, you probably wouldn't spend much time here either.

To be fair, I'm not exactly the best person to be defending modern music since 90% of my iTunes library is stuff that came out before 1980, is by artists who got their start before 1980, or is in the style of music before 1980! But wouldn't it be cool to hear some jazz fusion a la Chick Corea etc. with steel guitar? Or maybe play a (gasp!) video game that includes pedal steel in the soundtrack, whether prominently or not?

David Mitchell mentioned steel excelling at moaning and crying. In my opinion, this is a subset of my favorite aspect of the instrument, which is its ability to change the pitch of just one or two notes. What other instrument can seamlessly change from CMaj9 to a Cmin7 by moving only the notes that need changing?

I think folks need to decide what they value more: The healthy proliferation of the steel guitar, or keeping the instrument pure to country music? Because I don't think both are possible.

...I should go practice.
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David Mitchell

 

From:
Tyler, Texas
Post  Posted 11 Mar 2020 8:07 pm    
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I started this thread and it never was about whether steel guitar music is alive or dead or the type of music that's played on it. I think it will only grow and get more popular with age. This thread was about older players are dying off and they are the majority of instrument owners as we speak. When they are dead and gone in less than 20 years there will be semi-truck loads of pedal steels for sale. This has nothing to do with whether steel guitar is alive or dead in the music world. I'm simply saying the numbers are gonna start cashing in. We can already see nearly all the legends that showed us how to play one is deceased and many, many more will follow. New players will not keep up with the deaths because baby boomers buy or have bought the most pedal steels.
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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2020 1:33 am    
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Quote:
This has nothing to do with whether steel guitar is alive or dead in the music world. I'm simply saying the numbers are gonna start cashing in. We can already see nearly all the legends that showed us how to play one is deceased and many, many more will follow. New players will not keep up with the deaths because baby boomers buy or have bought the most pedal steels.

First, I think this does have a lot to do with whether steel guitar is alive or dead in the music world. If it's alive and thriving on the long term, it will mean more younger players are taking up the instrument.

Second, as a logical consequence, if many new younger players take up the instrument on the long haul, it will drive up the steady-state demand, and ultimately prices, for steels in general. We shall see what actually happens, but I think an obituary is far premature. I don't see any real weakening of demand for pedal steels. Prices seem to be a bit cyclic with the economic cycle. When the economy hit the skids in 2009 or so, prices came down some, as they did for vintage guitars. But not anywhere near as much as the vintage guitar market collapsed, since they hadn't hyper-inflated as much. But as the economy recovered, prices recovered also.

And - if you're using the apparent age of most people on this forum to infer the average age of steel players in general, I wouldn't. I think to assume most younger pedal steel players are heavily involved in this forum would be faulty. There is a "geezer quotient" here, for sure. Hey, I'm getting there too.

Tell ya' what again - I said the same for vintage guitars - but when y'all want to sell your Bigsbys, wraparound Emmons, Franklins, and Zums for pennies on the dollar, let me know! Cool

And I really don't know what the blazes any of this has to do with bagpipes. Yeah, they're a niche instrument too. But like it or not, you can't kill them. I personally love the pipes. And I'm also one of those damned guitar players that seem to be so reviled around here. Let's see - can we have a few more guitar-player bashing threads?
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Curt Trisko


From:
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2020 5:52 am    
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David Mitchell wrote:
I started this thread and it never was about whether steel guitar music is alive or dead or the type of music that's played on it. I think it will only grow and get more popular with age. This thread was about older players are dying off and they are the majority of instrument owners as we speak. When they are dead and gone in less than 20 years there will be semi-truck loads of pedal steels for sale. This has nothing to do with whether steel guitar is alive or dead in the music world. I'm simply saying the numbers are gonna start cashing in. We can already see nearly all the legends that showed us how to play one is deceased and many, many more will follow. New players will not keep up with the deaths because baby boomers buy or have bought the most pedal steels.


I hear you. What you're saying is incredibly obvious to me, but I guess no one likes thinking about death. I can tell you that there is a large pent-up demand for cheap steel guitars among steel-curious musicians. Whether that means those steel guitars will go from a dead guy's closet into the closet of a musician who lacks the patience to learn to play is a different question.
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Curt Trisko


From:
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2020 6:01 am    
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Matthew Walton wrote:
Dustin Kleingartner wrote:
Trash talking the music that young people are listening to probably won't help much either.


Or the young folks listening for that matter. I come here, as a 24 year old, to learn and get inspired. And every time I see one of these threads come up, I just can't help but stop and rubberneck like a bad accident, and inevitably walk away pissed off. Call me overly sensitive or whatever you want, but if this forum was full of young folks doing nothing but talking about how guys older than 60 are ruining the instrument, you probably wouldn't spend much time here either.


The irony of THE steel guitar forum not being a great place for steel guitar discussion and sharing of ideas about steel guitar. I think it's actually not too many people here who feel the need to aggressively gatekeep (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gatekeep) on here, but we're not good at holding them accountable for it. And I get it, those are the kind of people who would quit the forum in a storm of anger... and the forum means a lot more to them than to us, so it feels like a mean thing to do.
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David Mitchell

 

From:
Tyler, Texas
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2020 7:18 am    
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Dave Mudgett wrote:
Quote:
This has nothing to do with whether steel guitar is alive or dead in the music world. I'm simply saying the numbers are gonna start cashing in. We can already see nearly all the legends that showed us how to play one is deceased and many, many more will follow. New players will not keep up with the deaths because baby boomers buy or have bought the most pedal steels.

First, I think this does have a lot to do with whether steel guitar is alive or dead in the music world. If it's alive and thriving on the long term, it will mean more younger players are taking up the instrument.

Second, as a logical consequence, if many new younger players take up the instrument on the long haul, it will drive up the steady-state demand, and ultimately prices, for steels in general. We shall see what actually happens, but I think an obituary is far premature. I don't see any real weakening of demand for pedal steels. Prices seem to be a bit cyclic with the economic cycle. When the economy hit the skids in 2009 or so, prices came down some, as they did for vintage guitars. But not anywhere near as much as the vintage guitar market collapsed, since they hadn't hyper-inflated as much. But as the economy recovered, prices recovered also.

And - if you're using the apparent age of most people on this forum to infer the average age of steel players in general, I wouldn't. I think to assume most younger pedal steel players are heavily involved in this forum would be faulty. There is a "geezer quotient" here, for sure. Hey, I'm getting there too.

Tell ya' what again - I said the same for vintage guitars - but when y'all want to sell your Bigsbys, wraparound Emmons, Franklins, and Zums for pennies on the dollar, let me know! Cool

And I really don't know what the blazes any of this has to do with bagpipes. Yeah, they're a niche instrument too. But like it or not, you can't kill them. I personally love the pipes. And I'm also one of those damned guitar players that seem to be so reviled around here. Let's see - can we have a few more guitar-player bashing threads?


Dave I'm a guitar and bass player myself. I started playing guitar at 7 years old but was 18 before I took up steel. I'm 66 now. I like bagpipes and suggested some videos of these young women playing them that was really good but they went largely ignored. I'm also a recording engineer and record producer of all kinds of music so I certainly don't have a closed mind on anything. I hope you are right that it only improves and they sell as many as 6 string guitars in the future not for my sake but for everyone's sake because it is such a beautiful sounding instrument that can be used in so many different ways that a 6 string Spanish guitar cannot do. Very versatile. I never intended to make anyone angry by bringing this subject up but death is a fact of life. When a player dies they leave behind musical instruments. Whether there is a fresh young player ready to buy that instrument as you said still remains to be seen. Maybe I should just keep my thoughts to myself from now on.
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Matthew Walton


From:
Fort Worth, Texas
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2020 8:48 am    
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David, I think the fact that your initial post managed to so quickly devolve (myself included) into yet another discussion on "is/why is the steel guitar dying?" probably says something about this community. I don't know what that is, but something! Laughing

Back to the topic at hand, I think you're correct about prices going down. I got my MSA S-12 at an estate sale a few years ago for a good price (I thought it was a great price until I had to invest the time and money to get it set up!). My dad pointed out that there will probably be quite a few pedal steels at estate sales in the upcoming years, and I probably ought to not get in the mindset of "gotta buy every one I see!"

As much as I wouldn't like it when I tried to sell one, I think it would be good to see a bunch of decent-to-good PSGs start going for $500. That's cheap enough that somebody who's been stewing over it for a while, but isn't sure, might just go for it.

One last thought that occurred to me last night regarding the price of the instrument: Let's assume a teenager takes a summer job and makes $2000 that they plan to spend on an instrument. Now let's imagine two scenarios:

1) They've been playing a decent-enough $50 Squire for 10 years and know they love the instrument. They decide to take the plunge and buy a really nice Fender and vintage Deluxe Reverb at the end of summer for $2000. Hey, maybe there's even some cash left over for some cool pedals if they got a good deal.

2) They've heard of this neat thing called the PSG. After working all summer, they buy a decent PSG (let's hope it's set up!), buy a probably cheap amp, figure out lessons, and maybe they'll even like playing the instrument!

I've heard the Les Paul referred to as a "lawyer guitar": A well-off guy decides he finally wants to learn to play. So he buys a $3000 guitar, a $2000 amp, and $2000 worth of pedals before he even learns to play Smoke On the Water. That guy is mocked in most guitar circles, but that's essentially what we're asking a teenager to do when we say "it's only $2000. Why won't you work for it? Obviously the problem is instant gratification." When quite likely, the problem is risk management.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2020 8:57 am    
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I don't think the problem is necessarily exclusive to the steel guitar.
I think today's youth do not have the sticktoitness to actively take up an instrument, any instrument.
They are so into smart phones and the like that it is occupying the majority of their time.
I have tried to get my grandkids interested in playing guitar and have even given them some but much to no avail. Sad
Erv
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2020 9:11 am    
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There's pedal steel guitar being played all over the place. I would imagine the builders would have the best barometer of how pedal steel sales are. I'm guessing, judging by how many builders there are currently building them, that they are doing OK.

I don't think cost has much to do with the quantity of players. It's all a matter of priority. If one wants to play it, they'll find a way. There will always be people that are intrigued with it's unique sound and will want to play.

When people are spending $90K+ for an SUV, a couple 3, 4 thousand dollars for a pedal steel doesn't seem like a lot to me.

I don't think we'll ever see a dumping off of these instruments where they'll be selling for peanuts either.
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Curt Trisko


From:
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2020 9:34 am    
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Erv Niehaus wrote:
I don't think the problem is necessarily exclusive to the steel guitar.
I think today's youth do not have the sticktoitness to actively take up an instrument, any instrument.
They are so into smart phones and the like that it is occupying the majority of their time.
I have tried to get my grandkids interested in playing guitar and have even given them some but much to no avail. Sad
Erv


That's one perspective, but here's another way to look at it:

For a young person today, the goal of playing music and creating beautiful sounds doesn't have to be the same as the goal of learning an instrument. If we look at them as not being the same - then which one is the better of the two? All of us here think learning an instrument is a great thing to do for its own sake, even if it means sacrificing time, energy, and $$ for it. But the fact that most people don't do it means that we can't pretend to be shocked that it's not universal.

On the flip side, we have all seen instrument-focused people who never make it to the level of being able to create whole, solid musical works. With modern musical tools, young people that have no musical training or instrument skills can create gorgeous and complete pieces.

I think the mentality of favoring the love of music over the love of playing an instrument works in favor of pedal steel more than other instruments.
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Dave Mudgett


From:
Central Pennsylvania
Post  Posted 12 Mar 2020 10:09 am    
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Quote:
I hope you are right that it only improves and they sell as many as 6 string guitars in the future ...

Ha, don't we wish. I said earlier that PSG is a niche instrument and I think it will continue to be for the forseeable future. I think I can safely say that pedal steels will never, ever sell anything like Spanish guitars. That's fine with me, and I don't think that bodes ill for the future of steel guitar or pedal steel guitar in particular.

Quote:
When a player dies they leave behind musical instruments. Whether there is a fresh young player ready to buy that instrument as you said still remains to be seen.

Yes, they definitely leave behind instruments. This has been going on in the vintage guitar market for quite a while also, and I think the verdict is still out on its impact on vintage guitar prices. I don't think the spectacular growth of the vintage guitar market as occurred in the 1990s and early 2000s will ever happen again. But it's still $15,000-50,000 for a nice pre-CBS Strat or Tele, and $200,000 and up for a decent sunburst '58-60 Les Paul Standard. And newer guitars are generally keeping up with inflation as production costs continue to increase. There's a lot of hoopla about guitar demand being down, but last I looked it was still around a million guitars a year.

Quote:
Maybe I should just keep my thoughts to myself from now on.

Nowhere have I suggested or even implied anything like this. I do think the thread title is, I assume intentionally, a bit hyperbolic. But we talk about stuff like this all the time. And btw, my comment about guitar-player rant threads was directed at a different set of threads, not this one.
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