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Thread: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with it?

  1. #51

    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin Cafe View Post
    . . . The article isn't really about fewer electric guitars getting played, it's about fewer being sold. Boo hoo. . . .
    'Zackly!

  2. #52

    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    Quote Originally Posted by T-E-F View Post
    The electric guitar will die when young men grow tired of making noise while pompously strutting about, wagging long objects they hold at waist level.

    In other words, never.
    YOUNG? What about the rest of us?!?!

  3. #53

    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    . . . For the last twenty years, I've been building partscasters out of the best components available. I'd be hard pressed to spend six hundred bucks on a telecaster style guitar, and I end up with a nitro laquer paint job, boutique pickups, and better wood. Equivalent Fender would be two grand. . . .
    Yup! I have three partscasters - a Tele, a Strat, and a hardtail Strat. They all eat Fenders for lunch.

  4. #54
    Scroll Lock Austin Bob's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    Ok, this boomer has a very nice Strat and Les Paul, neither of which gets played very often. But that's mainly because my taste in music has shifted.

    But if we look at violins as an example, one would think the market would be absolutely flooded with violins made during the last 200+ years, yet there still seems to be a market for cheap starter models made overseas. But along side that, there are a few upper end makers that seem to survive and do well.

    That makes it hard for me to believe the market is saturated. Maybe from a 60's rock star wanna be looking at a $2000+ purchase. But there's still sales being made, just to a different segment.
    A quarter tone flat and a half a beat behind.

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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    I find it refreshing that, for once, cooler heads are prevailing on the forum than in the original news story. As Austin Bob just pointed out, the electric guitar is not dying, any more than the violin is dying.

    What the Post story fails to address is that the instrument market is ever-changing, as technology and musical trends change. Some dealers and manufacturers have had a hard time adjusting. Guitar Center's problems, for example, have been discussed in detail in The Music Trades, and one of their major problems is competition from online sellers (Amazon in particular), who wouldn't be in business if the guitar market were dying.

    Nor is Gibson's financial situation the result of a dying guitar market, as the Post story would have us believe. Gibson's financials are not public, but it is estimated that musical instruments only account for 15 percent of Gibson's revenue, now that Gibson is so heavily invested in consumer electronics. With no actual sales figures for Gibson guitars, it's a stretch to connect the company's overall performance to the alleged conditions in the guitar market.

    To cut to the chase, I can say that in my day to day experience running a guitar store, I haven't seen any lack of interest in electric guitars - vintage or new. A quick look back at the cyclical history of the guitar market would tell you that reports of electric guitar's death are premature.

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  7. #56
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    Quote Originally Posted by walter carter View Post
    ... A quick look back at the cyclical history of the guitar market would tell you that reports of electric guitar's death are premature.
    Amen. I will say that one of the things that heavily influenced guitar-market cycles, was popularity of various musical styles, and the performers associated with these styles. Neil Young with a D-45 probably sold a ton of Martins; it's conventional wisdom how Mike Bloomfield's Les Paul stimulated Gibson sales a half-century ago.

    Hip-hop artists don't feature electric guitars out front the way rock bands do, but jeez, there are still enough rock bands out there to show new potential buyers what they need to get to emulate their influences. (I emulate my influences daily, just to avoid medical side effects.)

    My totally unscientific observation, is that there are still droves of young aspiring musicians acquiring instruments. Thing is, they're getting them from different sources, and are not as influenced by the traditional "big names" -- Martin, Gibson, Fender, et. al. In the electric-instrument area, the proliferation of sophisticated effects devices, means you needn't invest in a Stratocaster to sound like you have a Stratocaster; you can get your Chinese axe to sound pretty identical, and save a lot of money in the process.

    Many of us are beneficiaries of a mandolin fad that peaked a century ago, going into steep decline, so that mandolin production after, say, 1930, was a shadow of what it had been around the turn of the 20th century. We own the products of that "mandolin bubble," the Gibson A's, the Washburn bowl-backs, the Vega cylinder-backs, the Weymann mandolutes. Factories now are still cranking out hundreds of thousands of electric and acoustic guitars, for a fad-sensitive market where they compete with all the interesting used instruments that older musicians are releasing for sale.

    This year has set a record for retail store bankruptcies, my TV tells me. I assume a fair number of music dealers are in that total. We need to consider how the ability to walk into a store, look at an inventory of instruments, take some down off the wall, try them, compare them, and "fall in love" with a particular one, affects overall sales. Honestly, looking at a picture in a catalog or on a website ain't the same thing.

    A few scattered thoughts...
    Allen Hopkins
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    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
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  9. #57
    Isolated enthusiast Caleb's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    "Hey hey, my my... rock and roll will never die..."
    ...

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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    I can tell you I've had a huge desire to acquire a Gretsch White Falcon lately. I recently picked up a used, but in brand new condition black with white trim, and a bigsby, Taylor T3B and its killer( and the vol and tone knobs pull out to convert the Humbuckers to single coils). I've been an acoustic diehard forever, but lately, the electric ways are tugging at the heart (and wallet).

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    And this has nothing at all to do with the current topic, but friday a killer Hummingbird landed at my doorstep-had been a demo with some players marks and all, but the tone and playability are excellent. This is the vintage model and has a torrefied top and a thinner finish. feels weightless in the hand-4.2 lbs
    never been a dread player either, always a small body kind of guy(think 0 and 00 size), but this Bird fits extremely well and the shortscale neck and the killer Gibson neck profile shape make it a dream to play.

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  11. #59
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    The top brands of any goods on the market will price them at a level that they think (hope ?) will sell. The 2 guitar brands mentioned before,Fender & Gibson would do the same - however. We all know of the Asian brand guitars on the market,some very good,some not so good,but - the 'best' of them are terrific.

    Several years ago,i was in a music store in Manchester UK & there was a lady there with her young son who wanted an elec.Guitar. The salesman dealing with her set up a Marshall amp. & 2 guitars,a Fender Strat. & a Yamaha 'Pacifica', & proceeded to demo.both,back to back. In his hands,i honestly couldn't tell the difference in the sounds he was getting from both guitars. The Fender was 600 + & the Yamaha was 179 UK. so - realistically,if its just the guitar you want for it's ''sound'',you'd go for the Yamaha. However,if it's the 'name' that you need,just for the ''street cred.'',then you could waste your cash buying the Fender.

    My own Japanese made Tokai ''Breezysound'' Tele-alike (crap name for a superb guitar IMO),sounds better to me through my Roland amp.than my previously owned Fender 'American Standard' Strat,& it was 1/3 of the cost. As in most things 'you pays your money & makes your choice',
    Ivan
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  13. #60

    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    Quote Originally Posted by walter carter View Post
    Nor is Gibson's financial situation the result of a dying guitar market, as the Post story would have us believe. Gibson's financials are not public, but it is estimated that musical instruments only account for 15 percent of Gibson's revenue, now that Gibson is so heavily invested in consumer electronics. With no actual sales figures for Gibson guitars, it's a stretch to connect the company's overall performance to the alleged conditions in the guitar market.
    Maybe we can expect a Gibson smartphone in the future, like this Marshall phone that came out a couple of years ago. While this may sound intriguing to Gibson geeks, I'm not sure there's a huge market for such an item, though.

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  14. #61
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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    The top brands of any goods on the market will price them at a level that they think (hope ?) will sell. The 2 guitar brands mentioned before,Fender & Gibson would do the same - however. We all know of the Asian brand guitars on the market,some very good,some not so good,but - the 'best' of them are terrific.

    Several years ago,i was in a music store in Manchester UK & there was a lady there with her young son who wanted an elec.Guitar. The salesman dealing with her set up a Marshall amp. & 2 guitars,a Fender Strat. & a Yamaha 'Pacifica', & proceeded to demo.both,back to back. In his hands,i honestly couldn't tell the difference in the sounds he was getting from both guitars. The Fender was 600 + & the Yamaha was 179 UK. so - realistically,if its just the guitar you want for it's ''sound'',you'd go for the Yamaha. However,if it's the 'name' that you need,just for the ''street cred.'',then you could waste your cash buying the Fender.

    My own Japanese made Tokai ''Breezysound'' Tele-alike (crap name for a superb guitar IMO),sounds better to me through my Roland amp.than my previously owned Fender 'American Standard' Strat,& it was 1/3 of the cost. As in most things 'you pays your money & makes your choice',
    Ivan
    Because of my business, I spend a lot of time at wine festivals and similar wine events. I hear a lot of bands. Twice in the very recent past, I've heard electric guitars that really caught my attention with their great sound. Both times I spoke with the player after the event (I am stuck at my table during the event). Both times they were Yamahas.

    I am not an electric guitar guy, or a guitar guy at all, really. But both of those Yamahas stood out in the crowd.
    Purr more, hiss less.

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  16. #62
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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    I don't know much about this dying or not dying thing, but I do know that everything evolves. The business climate we were in a few decades ago is gone, the one we are in now will soon change. Peoples' interests move from one thing to another. And this is all accelerating. No sense in getting too wound up in it, as it will happen regardless of whether we like it or not. And in the grand scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. Life goes on.

    Even if electric guitars decline in popularity, there will always be enthusiasts and the guitars will persist. Mandolins were once incredibly popular and that popularity waned. Yet here we are. And we probably have available the widest range of mandolins and the highest quality mandolins that have ever existed.

    So, fear not for the electric guitar. Ultimately, all is well.

    Just my two cents worth. I have enjoyed this thread though
    Purr more, hiss less.

  17. #63
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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    We are experiencing a possible world recession fuelled by ever increasing debt. People are thinking really hard about their purchase choices. Hence large music stores are feeling the brunt of the economic blues. Sure there are music store outlets that are still selling electric guitars. Millennials are in the forefront trying to make do with less. We can a learn a lot from them.
    Nic Gellie

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  18. #64

    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    Gruhn and others sound like archaic dinosaurs. Back when I was young.......

    The author also completely failed to make me care about this apparent crisis. There are floods of amazing used guitars on the used market and he mentions prices slashing due to stagnated sales. Where is the downside to those still playing?

    Henry has made horrible choices. He had keys to the kingdom and has done nothing with them. Fender on the other hand is just suffering from being the kid brother or second cousin in the guitar market because they just are not cool right now.

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  20. #65

    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    Maybe 17-string, six-pickup hybrid double neck harp-slide-guitar hybrids will become the next thing.

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  22. #66

    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Kelsall View Post
    My own Japanese made Tokai ''Breezysound'' Tele-alike (crap name for a superb guitar IMO),sounds better to me through my Roland amp.than my previously owned Fender 'American Standard' Strat,& it was 1/3 of the cost. As in most things 'you pays your money & makes your choice',
    Ivan
    This doesn't surprise me at all. I've heard lots of good things about Tokai, while hanging around forums with folks who like to play/collect older Japanese Fernandes strats. Anything actually made in Japan tends to be more sought after, and considered higher quality, than guitars made in Korea, China, etc. A lot of those Japanese Fender copies rival actual Fenders in quality, and now they're old enough that many of them have become "vintage" in their own right.

    Speaking of Japanese strats, Fender actually manged to to get Ken to endorse them, so they make a Ken Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster. Since I'm not paying $5,000 to $7,000 for the "team built" or "master built" versions, not in a million years, the upside is that a lot of the big money Japanese Ken fans are selling their old Fernandes Ken strats to be able to afford the Custom Shop one.....which puts more Love Drivers and such on the market for the rest of us!


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  24. #67
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    Quote Originally Posted by Stompbox View Post

    Henry has made horrible choices. He had keys to the kingdom and has done nothing with them.
    Well, he turned a $5 million dollar investment into a multi-billion dollar biz...not so bad, no?
    It's how he did it that a lot of folks have issues with...

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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    ..sidenote, I'm skeptical at the very least of Anything the Post says. Fodder for blather at best.
    Billy Packard
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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    Well, the article promised to tell me why I should care ... but I just don't.

    The guitar is a great parlour instrument, and always will be, as will the mandolin.

    Whether people will pay to see someone play one on a stage ... that's another question.

    The Baby Boom is petering out.

    Didn't the guitar have a great run though?
    Bren

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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    I think there tends to be too much emphasis on people like Clapton and Page and boomers and not enough on the current big names.

    I was watching Radiohead headline at Glastonbury on BBC this weekend. They're not so young now, but they are massive and are principally an electric guitar band. However you really can't compare their approach to their electric guitars to the guitar heroes of old. They don't go in for long solos and I notice tend to use capos a lot - often pretty far up the neck.

    There are plenty others using electric guitars in the current wave of bands. I wouldn't have thought it was going to die out any time soon.
    David A. Gordon

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    Registered User mandocaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    I think that part of it is that Fender and Gibson are diluting their own market with countless variations of their classic designs, while there isn't anything very noteworthy in the way of innovation. I'm not sure what that might be, but a special custom players vintage deluxe custom fifties modern strat is just not compelling to me.

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  31. #72
    Registered User Billy Packard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

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    I have a '91' Strat and a '90' Tele and they both sound rippin.
    Billy Packard
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  32. #73
    Registered User Ivan Kelsall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    I'm not 'quite sure' - but !. I did a bit of a dig on the 'net yesterday,& it would seem that some Tokai 'Breezysound' guitars are now made in China & are quite a bit less expensive that the Japanese originals. In the UK they're around the 350 price range,whereas a Japanese one is typically 900 ($445 / $1,144 US).

    Gordon - I was watching 'Nile Rodgers & Chic' at Glastonbury last night - That Fender Strat. of Niles' need a re-paint !!. You can actually buy a 'relic'd' copy of it for 3,901 UK. Nile's own 'Hitmaker' fender Strat. is a 1960 body with a 1959 neck. He needs a new one,he can pass his old one over to me,
    Ivan
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  33. #74

    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    Posted without comment.

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  34. #75
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    Default Re: Is the electric guitar dying, taking Gibson and others with i

    Quote Originally Posted by Petrus View Post
    Posted without comment.

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    Some of the things happening in between songs are a bit strange, and I certainly wasn't always sure what was going on. They're pretty out there in many ways, and frankly I'm not sure I really get why they're quite so big.

    Still, I'm in no doubt that they are a very significant influence on lots of people. I sometimes think 'Ah, there's a bit of Radiohead in there' in all sorts of music.

    They're also very outspoken, particularly Thom.
    David A. Gordon

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