Who said rock is dead? The guitar certainly isn’t. Fender has reported it will sell more guitars in 2020 than any other year in its history. Other leading manufactures such as Gibson, Taylor, and Martin have also seen sales spike this year.
The obvious reason for the surge is that people have been at home more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. And there’s really no better time for guitarists to work on their skills or for aspiring musicians to pick up a new instrument.
To put Fender’s sheer numbers into perspective, the company’s “Fender Play” instructional app saw its user base increase to 930,000 from 150,000 between late March and late June. Twenty percent of the new users were under 24, and 70-percent under 45, as young people try their hand at the instrument.
“ will be the biggest year of sales volume in Fender history, record days of double-digit growth, e-commerce sales and beginner gear sales,” Fender chief executive Andy Mooney told The New York Times.
To say the guitar is dead has been a vogue statement for think pieces attempting to overanalyze the musical zeitgeist over the past decade. In actuality, the guitar is trending younger, and if the recent success of young guitar-based artists like Clairo, Snail Mail, and beabadoobee is any indication, the instrument is flourishing. The latter even teamed with Fender to endorse the new affordable Offset series, designed specifically for “non-conforming” musicians.
“It’s not just graying baby boomer men looking to live out one last Peter Frampton fantasy,” Mooney said. “Young adults and teenagers, many of them female, are helping to power this guitar revival, manufacturers and retailers said, putting their own generational stamp on the instrument that rocked their parents’ generation while also discovering the powers of six-string therapy.”
The sudden commercial revival of the guitar was a reversal of fortunes after the universal halt on manufacturing nearly crippled the industry early in the pandemic. It’s bounced back, to say the least.
“I never would have thought we would be where we are today if you asked me back in March,” Mooney said.
Brendan Murphy, a senior salesperson at online instrument retailer Sweetwater, added, “I’ve been in the instrument retail business for 25-plus years and I’ve never seen anything like it. It feels like every day is Black Friday.”
If you’re looking to get into the guitar game, you can purchase a Fender here.