Half of all new guitar players are female, reveals study

Anna Calvi performing at Greenman earlier this year.

Anna Calvi performing at Greenman earlier this year. (Image credit: Andrew Benge)

Against an occasionally gloomy backdrop of declining sales and major-player bankruptcy dramas, a new survey of US and UK first-time buyers has offered a cheerier glimpse at the future shape of the guitar playing masses.

The study, conducted and published by Fender, reveals that 50% of new guitar buyers are female.

That's just the click-catching headline, however, and there are a few more interesting insights into the entry-level market tucked away in the small print.

72% of respondents said they picked up guitar for the first time to gain a life skill or as a means of self-betterment, for instance, while 42% viewed guitar as part of their identity. 61% of guitar players admitted to wanting to learn songs to play by themselves or socially, while 46% specifically wanted to play with others.

There's a small Transatlantic divide between the UK and US players surveyed, too. Perhaps unsurprisingly, US players are more outgoing, with 32% citing "playing privately" as their favoured environment, versus 50% in the UK.

"Today's players have grown up in a different cultural context and popular music landscape,"commented Fender CEO Andy Mooney "and rising artists like Mura Masa, Tash Sultana, Youngr, Daniel Caesar, Grimes and Ed Sheeran are changing the way guitar is being used."

Will Groves

I'm lucky enough to be MusicRadar's Editor-in-chief while being, by some considerable distance, the least proficient musician on the editorial team. An undeniably ropey but occasionally enthusiastic drummer, I've worked on the world's greatest music making website in one capacity or another since its launch in 2007. I hope you enjoy the site - we do.