Guitar is Dead

So, the story begins…

For some reason I’ve lost my mojo. I say for some reason… who am I kidding? I know the reason. But let’s skip past that little detail for the moment. Let me tell you about the video that I just recorded (because I felt I ‘should’ record a video). The reason that I can only write about it is that the sound failed and the video was just me flailing my arms about, silently, like an idiot.

I mentioned a Washington Post article published yesterday headlined “Why My Guitar Gently Weeps – The slow, secret death of the six string guitar”. The gist of the piece is that the electric guitar is on its way to being consigned to history… to becoming an instrument looked upon in the same way as a violin or a cello. It is quite a balanced article and it throws up a few reasons for these assumptions. First of all it mentions the lack of profit from the likes of Fender, Gibson and PRS.  Secondly it mentions the lack of current guitar heroes. Now… I spent minutes talking about these topics and I was very funny. I can’t possibly recreate that excitement here in words. But I did focus on the definition of a guitar hero. The article said that there is no-one for the current generation to look up to like previous generations had. It threw up the same old names… Hendrix, Clapton, Van Halen etc. My cat then messed about causing a speech from me which ended in a great visual cat-woman gag. Then I belched in the most amazing place in a sentence. It was probably my best-timed belch ever. Shame.

I stated that the phrase “Guitar is Dead” has been pushed so many times in my life by the media. At the end of the 80s, Acid House, Rap, “Guitar is Dead”. Then there was grunge. Then “Guitar is Dead” again. Then there was Brit-pop. Then, during the Prodigy, Leftfield, Underworld, The Chemical Brothers, Photek, etc “Guitar is Dead”. Then Coldplay. Then rap and electronica, “Guitar is Dead”. Then the Arctic Monkeys. And every time… GUITAR IS DEAD! /long live the guitar.

The article mentioned that for the first time the sale of acoustic guitars has exceeded electrics and I said “Is that any surprise? Look at who is the KING of the World right now!” And I made some great Ed Sheeran gags. Honestly, sometimes the ineptitude of other people astonishes me. Kids see Ed Sheeran play an acoustic guitar so they buy acoustic guitars. It’s bloody simple! And… guess what? Ed Sheeran might just be your bloody guitar hero!!!

Then my cat sat on my Sonos and I told of the time he did that at 3 in the morning, switching it on with his arse, playing Motorhead at volume 10 from every speaker in the house. The moral of the story was that you should:

  1. Make sure you leave the volume of your streaming device near zero.
  2. Make sure your default playlist isn’t thrash metal.

I then went on a lengthy talk about how I currently have the ‘default’ cat-sitting-on-streaming-device-and-switching-it-on playlist as a guy with a relaxing voice hypnotising me to sleep. I went on a huge gag-fest pretending to be a sleep-whisperer. Very funny it was too. Would have made a brilliant video!

I ended by basically saying that the guitar has survived many proclamations of its demise… but that there was likely a lot of sense in the article. If we are forever striving for original music then maybe we should ‘have’ to use different instrumentation. I then said we’d probably end up playing that bloody key thing from the Masters of the Universe movie. BUT… I then remembered that the guitar evolves in the hands of evolving musicians and I brought up the likes of Tom Morello’s amazing work with Rage Against the Machine.

So, what do you think? (I said) Discuss.

Then I went to edit the video and it had no audio because my equipment let me down /not sexually. Perhaps it was a sign?

I didn’t re-film it. Because I only did it as a stop-gap in the first place. Honestly, I don’t think I should film any more videos. I think I have to accept failure. There is no appetite for my videos. And none for my music. No violins. Not fishing for sympathy. I thought I could fight and win. But I think I have to settle for the loss. I think I’ll go away and do other things. Or perhaps more writing on this site? I’ve said that before but didn’t heed my own advice.

(Oh yeah, and during the whole recording of the video I had the Glastonbury festival muted on the TV. Thousands of people watching guitar music.)

(And as I press publish on this post Radiohead is headlining the main stage with the world watching. And they will be playing guitar. Anyone can play guitar. GUITAR is DEAD!!! Remember?!?)

5 comments

  1. I put it to you that the guitar is not dead at all but is as like most things subject to fashion, which is fickle at best. It may seem that the end is nigh to those trapped in the idea that the guitar is the centre of the universe and that it requires a great soloist to get the best from it… Rubbish peddled by folk who seem to have nothing better to do. As for the profitability of guitar manufacturers let me say something that may upset the plethora of guitar builders and “experts” that inhabit YouTube and the like, it easy to make a reasonable guitar and only a little more difficult to make a good one. This is reflected in the history of guitar manufacturing as it has moved to locations of ever increasing poverty where it is cheaper to manufacture simple items. As the world develops it is becoming harder to find such places, perhaps we will soon witness guitar factories in India and Africa… I have to quickly add there will always be eye wateringly expensive “high end” guitars that are truly remarkable instruments, particularly acoustics which require much more effort to construct. It has been said that there is too much music these days and I think it is fair to say that music is just so accessible that it has become devalued. However I do think there is a place for live music at many different types of venue, what is needed is more imaginative promoters who care. There is no shortage of musicians at all levels of proficiency and lets face it, it helps to be under 25. Harsh perhaps but true nonetheless. I hope you find a way to continue, not only for my own selfish reasons, but because you genuinely have something of value to say and the occasional video is fun so long as one does not become to hung up over the whole process. Perhaps that is one thing that is forgotten by the majority in so many aspects of life. As I have aged so many things have become less important, even a little silly in hindsight. I suppose it is all just a matter of perspective and I do respect an individual’s right to opinion even if I can’t respect the opinion itself. Too much waffle, enjoy whatever you decide to do or not do, but I certainly hope you stick around in one form or another. Cheers Mr6 šŸ™‚

    1. I agree with every word you have typed!

      I am about to post a video I recorded earlier where I address some of these points. I think the most important thing to consider when you are making YouTube videos is your true reason for filming them. I am about to post a video titled “I quit” or something similar. It is a little tongue in cheek but I am sure it will garner a fair slice of negative reaction, after all, no-one likes self-pity! However, I believe I am too self-aware for self-pity. I am sitting in my studio drinking Jack Daniels and listening to Exile on Main Street on vinyl. And… it has to be said… feeling more positive about everything. When all is said and done there is something to be said for straight up ‘throwing caution to the wind’. You know as well as I do what my reasons for even having a YouTube channel/website are. It is a necessary evil. Self-promotion. I still think we should do something further together. I do have ideas. It’s just life gets in the way. And I suppose I mean that in a good way. It’s just that right now I feel in a little bit of a dip. But I’ll pull myself out! Thank you for your continued support. šŸ™‚

      1. You know where to find me and as I said last time I do not require any “credit” for any contribution I am able to make. Ha ha you may even get a better response if certain folk are unaware of my involvement (yes I do believe there are inhabitants of YouTube that stupid). I would love to hear your ideas and help out if I can Mr6 šŸ™‚

  2. The Guitar is dead, long live the guitar…very true Number Six. Many a pop act still uses the guitar as an object to hold, something to strum long with; they could just as easily be banging a saucepan lid with a wooden spoon for all the effort they make in playing the instrument. Guitarists they are not, but a guitar it is, a symbol of pop culture to be abused and used as anyone sees fit. It matters not if you wear one around your neck and a session musician records the music for you because the songs will be written by commitee and polished to perfection in a well known studio. A guitar is something you can enjoy long after others have hung them on a wall and gathered dust. A guitar does nothing until you pick it up and play it, where you the musician will create something from nothing. Nobody wants the Blues any more, it was the popular music of the day, but I’ve always been 60 plus years out of step with current trends šŸ˜ As I grow older and my face is ever drawn towards the earth with gravity I become the Blues, a legend in my own head lol life’s tortures and struggles gives me the music and the songs . I’ve only just begun my journey mate šŸ˜Ž.

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