We’ve been hearing a lot of negativity about the state of the guitar lately - hardly helped by pessimistic soundbites from Eric Clapton and, of course, Gibson’s recent bankruptcy - but a recent study has found the guitar market looking healthier than it has in some time.
According to a 2017 report from IBISWorld (opens in new tab), the acoustic and electric guitar industry has undergone sustained growth over the past five years, and is expected to continue until at least 2022.
Gibson’s failings have been blamed on its electronics business, which has been shed as part of its post-Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection restructuring.
That’s good news for guitarists, CEO Henry Juszkiewicz told Rolling Stone (opens in new tab), as it will enable Gibson to “clean the slate” and “concentrate 100 per cent of our energy into our competency in musical instruments”.
It should also be noted that Gibson’s electric sales increased more than 10 per cent between January 2017 and January 2018, according to the company’s bankruptcy filing.
The future is female
A big part of the industry’s growth is being attributed to an increasing number of female players taking up the instrument; according to Fender’s research, 50 per cent of new guitarists today are women.
The Big F’s marketing materials have reflected the change, and Fender CEO Andy Mooney has noted better results than ever.
“There’s very, very healthy growth in the guitar market,” he told Rolling Stone.
“From our perspective, the industry has actually never been in better shape. People are focusing on the Gibson situation which has nothing to do with guitars. For Gibson, the problem child has been everything else.”