Gibson and Fender say that 2020 is shaping up to be their biggest year for guitar sales ever.
The world’s biggest guitar makers and retailers are experiencing a huge upturn in sales during the coronavirus pandemic which is being recognised by the larger business community. The BBC reached out to those in the industry to see what might be behind this current trend.
As broadcast on BBC News on 12th November, James ‘JC’ Curleigh, CEO of Gibson Brands takes up the story from Gibson Headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee explaining that electric and acoustic guitar sales have performed extremely well with dealers ordering instruments at all price levels from entry-level to Custom Shop guitars. In fact, Gibson have been open about periodic production challenges throughout the year in order to meet manufacturing demand throughout the pandemic. A remarkable turn in fortunes considering the USA based company filed for bankruptcy protection only two years ago
Having an opportunity throughout lockdown has afforded time for many people to take a breather and learn a new skill, to pick up a guitar for the first time or to simply practice and improve. Downloads of Fender’s guitar teaching app, Fender Play, have soared 7-fold highlighting the increasing take-up of guitar and the migration to online tutorial resources during these stay-at-home Covid times.
Here in the UK, this time on BBC Radio’s World Business Report, Guitar Village owner, Derek Eyre-Walker was interviewed about buoyant guitar sales here at the shop. Derek spoke about the 30+ year retail journey of Guitar Village and how the shop has achieved sales throughout the lockdown by selling guitars from famous brands like Fender, Gibson, Martin to a smorgasbord of players who collect and enjoy great guitars.
The Gibson Les Paul is probably the most famous guitar with different players like Peter Green, Mike Bloomfield, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton being early adopters of the iconic instrument in the 1960’s going on to inspire the likes of Gary Moore and Slash among countless others in later years.
The current boom in sales is testament to the enduring appeal of the guitar whether as a piece of art, a tool for making music, a collectable piece of rock history or a combination of all these.