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New Study Confirms Modern Guitarists are Women, People of Color, and Driven by Identity

October 16, 2018
Written by
She Shreds
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She Shreds Media
Photos by
Emily Quirk

A new study shows that women and people of color are changing the guitar market. Researchers also found the mental and emotional health benefits behind playing the guitar.

While last year there was a constant buzz of the decline of the guitar, new research by Fender and Egg Strategy shows that the guitar market is evolving in the United States and the United Kingdom. The Illuminating State of Today’s Guitar Players research explores the vibrant and curious culture of the guitar community. The motivation behind players picking up the instrument is changing and the mental and emotional health benefits behind learning the guitar are hopeful. And oh yeah- women are behind the guitar’s emerging market.

The guitar is very much alive.

Here are some key insights from the study:

  • 50 percent of all beginner and aspirational players identify as women
  • 72 percent of respondents picked up the guitar to learn something new and better their lives
  • People don’t necessarily want to become rockstars anymore. 61 percent of guitar players just want to learn how to play for themselves and socially 
  • 42 percent said they viewed guitar as part of their identity

Guitar players are super diverse too. Their research shows that 19 percent of aspirational players are African-American while Latinx players make up 25 percent of beginners. Fender CEO Andy Mooney says in the press release, “Today’s players have grown up in a different cultural context and popular music landscape, and rising artists like Mura Masa, Tash Sultana, Youngr, Daniel Caesar, Grimes and Ed Sheeran are changing the way guitar is being used.” 

This study also found that this current generation of creators and musicians see the emotional and mental health benefits behind learning how to play the guitar. Award-winning neuroscientist, musician, record producer and author Daniel Levitin consulted this study and states, “Playing an instrument has a meditative aspect that can release positive hormones in the brain and can reduce the stress hormone Cortisol, increase productivity, and create social bonding to combat loneliness in the digital age.” 

Guitar culture in the digital age isn’t only positively affecting mental health, but new streaming  platforms provides access to new players and encourages them to create.

It’s safe to say that the future of the guitar is hopeful, young and diverse.  The future of the guitar is Black, Brown, Womxn, Non-Binary, and LGBTQIA. The future of the guitar is in good hands. 

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