It Isn’t Dead Yet
Yep, we all know it. Guitar isn’t dead. And my opinion is that it never will die out of popular music. Sure we’re not hearing the same amount of new music coming out with guitar as the primary instrument, but it’s there.
It’s in an amazing amount of modern music, considering the simplicity of the instrument – and it’s amazing that it can do all that it can do.
The Historical Ebb And Flow
Back in 2013, the weirdos here at Guitar-Muse decided to investigate whether or not the doom & gloom naysayers were right about the theory that guitar was dying off. You can find the results of that inquiry here. Five years later, we’re here to report that pretty much nothing has changed, except that sales are increasing and “pop” music is making use of guitars more than ever, just in new and creative ways.
When the guitar first started to make its way into popular music, it wasn’t with the same intensity or … volume that we hear in heavier rock bands like Zeppelin or Metallica. There were no “virtuosos” making it the whole point of the music. It was an addition to the music – it helped the music be better.
Then, of course, everyone realized how freaking cool this instrument was, and how many different things you could do with it, and it kinda naturally became the whole point of music – for at least 20 or 30 years.
Now, as far as popular music goes, it has taken somewhat of a back seat, but it’s still there in everything from Bruno Mars (who is actually a good guitar player) to (still) bands who use it as their main instrument – we know who they are.
Matt Bellamy from Muse has gone as far as to say that the guitar is no longer a “lead instrument”. He told BBC News that it’s there more to provide texture – and he even thinks that’s a good thing. This is reflected in Muse’s most recent music – and it’s an attitude they are embracing.
You wonder why we covered Stella Donnelly a few months back? It’s not because she’s shredding – its because she’s honoring the instrument as a huge part of her music, and doing a great job of it.
So, in some ways, we’re back where we started. And we’ll probably end up back in another era, someday, where it’s a lead instrument again.
“You just have to love the instrument.” – Me, just now.
You have to love everything it can do, and everything you can do creatively with it. It’s not just about leads and solos anymore. Those things are still mind-blowingly cool, but we’re taking a step back and looking at the instrument as a part of the music as well, as something that lends texture, mood, and emotion to the music.
Don’t cling to crunchy riffs or solos too hard. Just be glad that your favorite instrument is flexible enough to go the distance, and make almost any kind of music better.
The sales numbers back up the fact that the guitar still holds the interest and hearts of the world. Guitar sales are on the rise, and are projected to increase at least until 2022. ( IBIS World says so )
So as far as popularity – they’re still selling, and people are still learning how to play them. And if you remember, way back, this is a whole lot of the reason we started Guitar-Muse in the first place. To get folks interested, and re-interested in the instrument. Especially kids. And then we expanded into providing tools and resources for those who already knew they wanted this to be a part of their lives. And then, well, now – we’re just one hot mess, but we’re loving it.
“Here’s to you and all your guitars – rock on!” – Me, even more recently