For years, the hard rock and metal world has been populated by “guitar gods,” but the time may be coming where there are an equal amount of “guitar goddesses.” According to a new study by Fender, there is data that suggests that women now account for 50 percent of all beginning and aspirational players.
Back in March, Forbes published an interview with Fender CEO Andy Mooney in which he discussed some of the company’s marketing and services, revealing that a new line of lower priced guitars had just been issued aimed at beginning players, and in particular young women. He revealed that the decision to do so was based out of research the company had conducted two years prior in which they discovered that half of the first-time guitar buyers were women and that their tendency was to purchase online rather than at brick and mortar stores because of the intimidation factor of dealing with a sales person.
“We also found we needed to communicate more to the female audience in terms of the artists we connect with, in terms of using women in our imagery and thinking generally about the web,” stated Mooney, who was anxious to see how their strategy had paid off.
Now, according to Rolling Stone, a study released by Fender this week confirms the 50 percent rate of female beginners purchasing their first guitars has held up. The survey was conducted from a sample of players in the U.S. and the U.K., with women consistently making up half of the customer base.
“The fact that 50 percent of new guitar buyers in the U.K. were women was a surprise to the U.K. team, but it’s identical to what’s happening in the U.S.,” Mooney told Rolling Stone. “There was also belief about what people referred to as the ‘Taylor Swift factor’ maybe making the 50 percent number short-term and aberrational. In fact, it’s not. Taylor has moved on, I think playing less guitar onstage than she has in the past. But young women are still driving 50 percent of new guitar sales. So the phenomenon seems like it’s got legs, and it’s happening worldwide.”
The Fender study also analyzed the motivations of beginning players, with 72 percent picking up the instrument to gain a life skill or improve themselves, while 61 percent just wanted to learn how to play songs by themselves rather than pursue a music career. The survey also revealed that 42 percent view the guitar as part of their identity.
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