Think the guitar is dying and outdated? Think again.
The COVID-19 pandemic has spawned an unlikely comeback story as guitar sales have thrived and sent a much needed jolt into an industry that was struggling.
The New York Times detailed the resurgence reporting on the record year of sales legendary guitar companies like Fender, Gibson, Martin, and Taylor are experiencing.
Fender’s chief executive Andy Mooney said the company was having a record year of sales. “I would never have predicted that we would be looking at having a record year,” he said.
“We’ve broken so many records. It will be the biggest year of sales volume in Fender history, record days of double-digit growth, e-commerce sales and beginner gear sales. I never would have thought we would be where we are today if you asked me back in March.”
Gibson CEO James “JC” Curleigh had similar experiences as the company had guitars flying off the virtual shelves. “We literally couldn’t deliver enough,” he said. “Everything we were making, we could sell.”
Taylor co-founder Kurt Listug said his company “had the biggest June, in terms of orders received, that we’ve ever had since we’ve been in business.”
It’s not the older generation using the pandemic as a means to get back in touch with the once popular instrument. The New York Times attributes the guitar’s revival to “young adults and teenagers, many of them female.”
Another interesting perspective came from guitar instructor Jensen Trani, who runs a popular YouTube channel offering guitar lessons. “There was this point with my students where I could tell that numbing out on Netflix and Instagram and Facebook was just not working anymore,” Trani said.
“People could no longer go to their usual coping mechanisms. They were saying, ‘How do I want to spend my day?’”
As people were getting burnt out on social media and Netflix, they turned to the guitar. Trani saw a huge spike in traffic on his YouTube videos and tripled the number of students taking remote lessons.
It remains to be seen how long this uptick in sales will last, but it certainly points to a successful year for an instrument that had a murky outlook at the onset of 2020.