"The biggest threat to the guitar? It could well be guitarists..."

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Interesting article here:

The biggest threat to the guitar? It could well be guitarists: how online hate endangers the instrument we love

For a decade or more, headlines featuring the word ‘guitar’ on mainstream news outlets have been reliably prefaced with ‘the death of’. These premature obituaries blame everything from the rise of EDM and bedroom producers to declining attention spans, not to mention the demise of the guitar hero as we know it. But all have failed to blame another culprit: guitarists themselves.

We all love guitar in one shape or form, but in recent months, takedown videos have become a worrying trend, online commentary is at peak hysteria and a new shred arms race has erupted - something that even led to allegations of fake playing - all of which doesn’t exactly create a welcoming environment for anyone seeking to pick up a six-string for the first time.


Silver Supporting Member
Manufactured drama about manufactured drama. Guitar World linking two other Guitar World articles when trying to show that "guitarists" are ruining things by being petty and dramatic is hilarious. There's always some contingent inventing a crisis for YouTube hits and GW is legitimizing them for pageviews. It's a closed system perpetuated exclusively by people within it.

It is currently, by a pretty wide margin, the best time ever to start playing guitar. Quality of entry-level instruments is incredible, there are a trillion teachers on youtube begging to show you how to play anything you'd ever care to learn for free, and Guitar Center is still in business.

For a small sliver of players, sure, it's annoying that there's drama on insta or youtube or whatever. But the Taylor Swift generation of learners is in full swing and acoustic sales are on the rise. That market doesn't give a rip about who's faking shred videos. You heard it here first: the Taylor Swift club are the ones ignoring the drama and spending time learning to play guitar. We should all try to be more like them.


Robert Heinlein once wrote about an alien race that reached bizarre and incorrect conclusions about human anatomy after the aliens examined a simple wooden chair.

Declaring the world's most popular instrument to be threatened, endangered, etc. because a few drama queens are trading barbs and making strange, meandering confessional videos is on a par with the aliens' guesswork.


Silver Supporting Member
The problem that immediately jumps out at me is that Youtube is an absolute cesspool when it comes to the comments - it's not just helpful 'how too's about guitar playing, it's pretty much any video I watch that has the comments enabled has some dufus spouting idiotic remarks. It's a sad indictment of human nature that the internet has given everybody a voice and it turns out what a lot of people want to use it for is being incredibly nasty about things other people have done. So I think the only thing we can draw from reading Youtube comments is that a lot of people are really objectionable human beings.

I think there are some kind of good points in there even if I don't really agree with the overall premise. It's very apparent from reading SHL threads how many people here bemoan the lack of any interesting new music whilst refusing to accept anything with the slightest suspicion of digital recording techniques, drum machines, samplers, rapping, fire or the wheel - there are only so many times we can rehash music from the good old days and if we want guitar to continue to be relevant in original music in the future I think we have to embrace the fact it needs to co-exist with newer technologies. Having said that, I don't think TGP is necessarily the demographic that needs to do that- it's more whether younger players are willing to mix the two and from what I can see most younger players in the indie/alternative scene are more than happy. Remember for 20 year olds rap and EDM is something your dad probably listen to, it's not exactly a new thing anymore.

The point by the Fender CEO is a really good one as well - lots of youngsters taking up guitar today aren't wannabe rockstars, they just want to enjoy the challenge of learning an instrument and playing songs they know. I see that all the time in retail, the parents always make jokes about 'he/she can pay us back when they're a famous rock star!' and the kids don't care in the slightest, it's just something cool they can do in school if they're not sporty. And I don't think that's a bad thing for the longevity of the instrument - the more people learning the better, whatever they do with it.


Silver Supporting Member
The best thing that has happened to the guitar is the death of the rock star. Sure, in the 80’s every kid had an electric guitar but how many of those kids stuck with long enough to play in their chosen genre? Not many.

The guitar will be rediscovered when all the cliche has been played out of it and new players approach it with a different set of ears. It’a too flexible of an instrument to die, but the shadow of the pioneers of rock have cast a shadow that many people simply cannot get out of (hence all the clones of rock’s ‘glory days’ guitars). We’ll know that day has come when preamps don’t come with presets named after hit songs/famous guitarists and people question why anyone would want a modeler.

There is no good tone, or bad tone, but thinking (or lack thereof) makes it so.

Brian N

The mean comments that article references are from Facebook; for some reason, Facebook has a way of bringing out the worst in people. The overwhelming majority of people I've seen in the online guitar community and super chill and helpful, and actually get me MORE into guitar, not less.


Platinum Supporting Member
I honestly don't worry about the future of guitar. There either will be young people continuing to play guitar or there won't. That doesn't mean the music I love will go away. For one there are so many great recordings I've yet to hear that I'll never run out of guitar things if I don't want to. Secondly, I love playing guitar, but rarely listen to it anymore. Give me sax and piano players for the last 4+ years.
I read about some guitarist who was accused of faking his videos - as proof of his ability, he released a live video that used prerecorded music!
The media world is a weird one, and it's only going to get stranger.

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