And Now For Something Completely… Familiar

by Christian Wissmuller • in
  • Editorial
  • September 2018
• Created: August 31, 2018

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Whether the catalyst has been the now-infamous Washington Post article from last summer, the hopes/ questions brought about by the (now long ago) cultural phenomenon of “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band,” or simply the observations and concerns of dealers and players, for the longest time – seemingly forever – many have been analyzing and discussing the relatively poor health of the guitar market and wondering when or if it’ll rebound.

Well, I have good news. We can finally put the subject to bed: “The American Guitar Industry is Making a Serious Comeback!”

At least according to Yahoo Finance.

In late August, Yahoo’s Aarthi Swaminathan penned a piece outlining how, “despite a lot of bad PR in recent years, manufacturers and sellers say demand is strong for American-made guitars 10 years after the 2008 financial crisis hammered the industry.”

Swaminathan goes on to quote Fender CEO Andy Mooney and cite stats provided by NAMM supporting this assertion. People are paying for streaming services, going to concerts – “Interest in recorded music is at an all-time high,” Mooney says – and (as Swaminathan adds), “That interest has translated into an impressive retail guitar market.”

So, I ask you – MMR readers, the folks who are in the trenches, who actually know what’s happening on a street-level with guitars – whether Yahoo! and Mooney and others have got it right, or if they and their kind are simply putting a positive spin on a topic that benefits them to portray in an upbeat manner. What are your experiences? My email address is right there (look to the literal right of this copy) in our masthead and you also likely get my weekly e-newsletter every Monday.

In this issue’s UpFront Q&A feature, Warwick & Framus’ Hans-Peter Wilfer offers his take on the matter. “I believe the guitar market is not dead,” he asserts. “It’s maybe not the same quantity as with the Baby Boomers – a time which is close to over and may not be coming back – but it will still be a good market if you have quality products, give value to your customers, have innovative products, and love what you do.”

I hope Yahoo Finance, Wilfer, Mooney, and others are correct. I hope it’s not just “spin” that the guitar market is truly on the rebound. I know, however, that there is something real about making one’s own fate and creating one’s own success. Can’t win if you don’t play, as they say (sorry, Hap Kuffner – I stole your line!). Yes, it’d be great if a new Slash or Kurt Cobain stumbled into the zeitgeist and suddenly stores were flooded with kids who already knew they were going to buy a guitar pack before they even walked in the doors. While we’re at it, I wish I had a pony.

The guitar may be on the way back for real this time. Once again, I hope so. Even if it’s not, my money’s on the creative and knowledgeable MI dealers who sell plenty of six-strings even when the salad days are temporarily in the rearview. I’d love to hear from any of you on this (or any!) topic. Here’s to positive thinking!

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