THE PANDEMIC GUITAR BOOM :
A NICE BLIP , OR NEW REALITY ? BY KEVIN YOUNG
There ’ s been a lot of talk about the death of the guitar in recent years . Then again , some predicted the death of drums in the post-808 eighties . Didn ’ t happen . As for guitars , sales are shredding along quite happily , thank you very much .
During the financial crisis of 2008 , sales dropped to roughly $ 821 million in the U . S ., but since The Great Recession of 2009 , bounced back , topping $ 8 billion worldwide in 2019 ( not including the sales of used instruments ).
Enter COVID-19 . In 2020 , U . S . guitar sales were $ 1.67 billion , and global guitar sales topped $ 9.2 billion , approximately , for a year-over-year increase of 15 %.
There ’ s nothing like a global pandemic to put things in perspective . One of the things many
20 CANADIAN MUSIC TRADE people have rediscovered since March 2020 is that – although they have more time-wasting options in the palm of their hand than ever before – real world , back to basics , hands-on activities are great ways to de-stress , recharge , and reinvigorate themselves .
The effects of the pandemic vary from person to person and household to household . Some people found themselves with more or less money and time . Some people found it increasingly difficult to focus . Others found themselves unable to focus on anything other than things they ’ d rather not focus on constantly . Few , if any , regarded COVID times as a holiday . Most folks likely needed a holiday more than ever at some point during the past almost two years ; be it away from family , or with them , to escape the constant tyranny of Zoom meetings , or block out those first few weeks when we were sanitizing our groceries before bringing them into the house . This is ( at least partly ) why learning / re-learning or just playing guitar captured the imaginations of so many people since mid-2020 .
As it turns out , self-prescribing a regular course of six strings , a chunk of wood , three chords , and the truth ( whether that truth is found in an old folk tune , modern chart-topper , or AC / DC tune ) provided an escape for many , many of them .
As Gibson CEO James ‘ JC ’ Curleigh told Canadian Music Trade in March 2021 : “ In a world of digital acceleration , time is always your enemy . All of a sudden time became your friend .” In that interview , Curleigh also said : “… The truth is that guitar has always been synonymous with music … Without the guitar , music wouldn ’ t be where it is .”