It's an old story that we've all heard before, but in case anyone needs reminding, rock and guitar-centric music is not dead. But, it has changed over the years, and one man who has seen this first-hand is Andy Moore, CEO of international guitar giant, Fender Guitars. Moore—who once decried a Washington Post article proclaiming rock is dead as the original fake news—recently spoke with Fortune magazine and spoke about the instrument's endless evolutionary process.
“At the dawn of the electric guitar, a lot of the growth was from people who wanted to be guitar heroes or virtuoso players like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix,” Moore told Forbes. “There are still heaps of virtuoso players, but there are fewer guitar gods now. More people use guitars onstage, in the studio, and in other genres as compositional, creating textures.”
Honestly, I think he's absolutely right. In the 60s and 70s, fans indulged musicians in the type of idolatry encircling any kind of narrative regarding Page, Clapton, Hendrix, and others. But today's listener isn't into that kind of thing, and as easy as that is to type, is as pure and easy as the answer itself. Starting in the '80s with punk rock, then in the 90s with grunge, then though the 2000s during the New Wave of American metal, the guitar player was—by choice, by design, by inclination, whatever—decisively the anti-hero. It's what is cool now, just as hero-worship was the thing in the 60s and 70s.
Don't get me wrong, Page is my favorite guitarist of all-time and Hendrix is a close second. But what draws me to the guitar today is what guitarists like Tom Morello and Mark Morton bring to the instrument. Not to mention guys like Tosin Abasi and Tim Henson are adding an entirely new dynamic to the instrument, and plenty of folks on YouTube are doing some truly mind-blowing shit these days.
But regardless of all that, there's plenty of factual good news: more people are playing the guitar now that ever, according to Mooney. “The guitar is being used in more genres by more people in more geographies than ever, and it’s used for more reasons than just wanting to be a rock star."
That indeed, is good news.