Why is guitar music becoming less popular? (or The Joy Of Electric Guitar)

brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 28,297
I started a conversation on a site mostly populated with an older boomer crowd and got some interesting answers, so I'm curious what some of you good folks think about all this.  (One of the good points made there was that, going further back from rock to jazz,  the same could be said for other non-computer musical instruments like trumpets and saxophones, so I think the same questions apply there as well.)  Here is what I wrote:

We've discussed the decline of rock ad-infinitum here so that's not really where I'm going with this. It's more about the sound of the electric guitar.

When I first got into rock and roll, what pulled me in the most were the styles of playing of six major favorites: Jimi Hendrix, Mick Taylor, Harvey Mandell, early Larry Coryell, Pete Townshend and Cream-era Eric Clapton. Many other favorites were to follow (especially J Mascis). But it wasn't just their style that drew me in, it was equality their respective tonal qualities- those magic sounds produced by electric guitars played through cranked vacuum tube amplifiers.

Those sounds still thrill me today by creating rapturous leaps, charged by the neurotransmitter acetylecholine, between the neurons in my brain. The end result is a feeling of ecstasy. And I know a lot of other people in my age group who share this kind of joy. It has to be either that or an awfully large portion of my baby boomer generation were just going along with the deal because it was "cool". But I don't think so. I think a lot of us found pleasure in the magic of the sound of the electric guitar.

So now I'm told this kind of music is not so popular today. I'm not trying to be critical of younger generations who generally seem to be less inclined to being excited about these sounds. I just don't honestly know why that is or how it could be.

Thoughts?
"Hate your job, love your stuff
If you think that's living, you are
Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong"
-Juliana Hatfield
***********
M.I.T.S.







«1

Comments

  • willbarclaywillbarclay Ottawa, Canada Posts: 2,997
    I hate the current state of popular music. 
    To me it’s a very sad state of affairs. 
  • Tim SimmonsTim Simmons Posts: 3,877
    I think it’s as simple as it’s sound being around for 80+ years. It’s been mined really well. Beats and synths are still more new and there’s a lot of room to explore there. That being said, I think there’s still plenty of electric guitar out there, it’s just not sounding like it would have in classic rock.
  • Tim SimmonsTim Simmons Posts: 3,877
    I hate the current state of popular music. 
    To me it’s a very sad state of affairs. 
    That’s too bad. I think there’s plenty of fantastic music being made today by younger artists. 
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 28,297
    I think it’s as simple as it’s sound being around for 80+ years. It’s been mined really well. Beats and synths are still more new and there’s a lot of room to explore there. That being said, I think there’s still plenty of electric guitar out there, it’s just not sounding like it would have in classic rock.
    Could not the same be said of piano or saxophone, yet even longer?  I don't think an instrument can ever be mined fully as long as people remain individuals.  There are individual subtleties in playing an instrument  that are as endless as there are people who take the time to develop their ability to play well and expressively. 

    And I think that may be what is lacking in today's music- not as many younger players have the patience or are willing to take the time to develop their craft.  Technology and commercial influences have created an atmosphere where music (and many other things) are created quickly and discarded just as quickly.  This doesn't mean there aren't some fine young players- there are- but they are fewer and farther in between than there were in last 100 plus years going back to blues and jazz players and up through rock and fusion.
    "Hate your job, love your stuff
    If you think that's living, you are
    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong"
    -Juliana Hatfield
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.







  • BentleyspopBentleyspop Craft Beer Brewery, ColoradoPosts: 6,564
    Guess it's  easier for some to learn how to play a computer than an actual guitar.

    I'm  looking  forward to seeing this exhibit next year...

    https://www.nationalguitarmuseum.com


  • willbarclaywillbarclay Ottawa, Canada Posts: 2,997
    I hate the current state of popular music. 
    To me it’s a very sad state of affairs. 
    That’s too bad. I think there’s plenty of fantastic music being made today by younger artists. 
    Sorry, but I said popular music. 
    I am sure there lots of good/young rock bands out there but they aren’t getting the credit they deserve. 
  • Tim SimmonsTim Simmons Posts: 3,877
    I meant popular music
  • Tim SimmonsTim Simmons Posts: 3,877
    edited September 8
    brianlux said:
    I think it’s as simple as it’s sound being around for 80+ years. It’s been mined really well. Beats and synths are still more new and there’s a lot of room to explore there. That being said, I think there’s still plenty of electric guitar out there, it’s just not sounding like it would have in classic rock.
    Could not the same be said of piano or saxophone, yet even longer?  I don't think an instrument can ever be mined fully as long as people remain individuals.  There are individual subtleties in playing an instrument  that are as endless as there are people who take the time to develop their ability to play well and expressively. 

    And I think that may be what is lacking in today's music- not as many younger players have the patience or are willing to take the time to develop their craft.  Technology and commercial influences have created an atmosphere where music (and many other things) are created quickly and discarded just as quickly.  This doesn't mean there aren't some fine young players- there are- but they are fewer and farther in between than there were in last 100 plus years going back to blues and jazz players and up through rock and fusion.
    I'm not saying that these instruments went away, they have just been used in different capacities as musical styles evolved. The styles that the electric guitar popularized just got stale. Maybe because the innovation in terms of playing kinda ran the gamut, or maybe its just people are always gonna flock to the new more interesting style of music. Because listeners get bored and something else is gonna come along to up the game. 

    I mean these still great guitar centric bands. But maybe the guitar isn't the forefront of the sound. I think if guitar music is to keep going, its gotta learn to be integrated with other instruments. 


    Or maybe I just don't understand what you are asking. 

    Post edited by Tim Simmons on
  • willbarclaywillbarclay Ottawa, Canada Posts: 2,997
    I meant popular music
    Well I’m not into Shawn Mendez and all that. 

  • Tim SimmonsTim Simmons Posts: 3,877
    Thats fair. 
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 28,297
    brianlux said:
    I think it’s as simple as it’s sound being around for 80+ years. It’s been mined really well. Beats and synths are still more new and there’s a lot of room to explore there. That being said, I think there’s still plenty of electric guitar out there, it’s just not sounding like it would have in classic rock.
    Could not the same be said of piano or saxophone, yet even longer?  I don't think an instrument can ever be mined fully as long as people remain individuals.  There are individual subtleties in playing an instrument  that are as endless as there are people who take the time to develop their ability to play well and expressively. 

    And I think that may be what is lacking in today's music- not as many younger players have the patience or are willing to take the time to develop their craft.  Technology and commercial influences have created an atmosphere where music (and many other things) are created quickly and discarded just as quickly.  This doesn't mean there aren't some fine young players- there are- but they are fewer and farther in between than there were in last 100 plus years going back to blues and jazz players and up through rock and fusion.
    I'm not saying that these instruments went away, they have just been used in different capacities as musical styles evolved. The styles that the electric guitar popularized just got stale. Maybe because the innovation in terms of playing kinda ran the gamut, or maybe its just people are always gonna flock to the new more interesting style of music. Because listeners get bored and something else is gonna come along to up the game. 

    I mean these still great guitar centric bands. But maybe the guitar isn't the forefront of the sound. I think if guitar music is to keep going, its gotta learn to be integrated with other instruments. 


    Or maybe I just don't understand what you are asking. 

    Sorry Tim, I'll try to clarify:

    It's not so much that I expect each generation to listen only to older music and not want to create something different.  I guess I could have made the thread question more broad and ask, "Why is all older music less appreciated ("appreciated" is a WAY more useful work there than "popular") by younger listeners?  Why do younger listeners not get excited about the massively emotional feel of delta blues from the 30's and on?  Why is not the explosive amazing sounds of bebop, post bop, modern, and Avant-Garde jazz and so forth not appreciated by more younger listeners?

    But I chose to focus on electric guitar because of the way that instrument and the equipment used with it was further developed and hugely advanced in my life time.  Before Jimi Hendrix and the like there was plinky plink surf music (which I loved and still do), and after, there was a sonic hugeness that broke the fabric of the then current universe of music.  Charlie Parker did exactly the same thing with bebop and John Coltrane after him with the Avante-Garde.  And the innovations today?  Computer programs that create sounds.  Inventive?  Yes.  Soulful, tactile, visceral?  I dare say, hardly.  

    "Hate your job, love your stuff
    If you think that's living, you are
    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong"
    -Juliana Hatfield
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.







  • mookeywrenchmookeywrench Posts: 5,340
    With only 49 notes available on guitar.. i think the appropriate question is how did guitar driven music remain popular for 80 years?
    350x700px-LL-d2f49cb4_vinyl-needle-scu-e1356666258495.jpeg
  • Thoughts_ArriveThoughts_Arrive Melbourne, AustraliaPosts: 13,742
    Why do Ed Sheeran and his clone Shawn Mendes have an acoustic guitar strapped to them when their music does not sound like guitar music?
    Adelaide 17/11/2009, Melbourne 20/11/2009, Sydney 22/11/2009, Melbourne (Big Day Out Festival) 24/01/2014
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 28,297
    With only 49 notes available on guitar.. i think the appropriate question is how did guitar driven music remain popular for 80 years?
    12 notes, 4 octaves, = 49?  Must be a "devil's note" in there somewhere.  LOL

    Also, I would say guitar driven music has been popular for closer to 65 to 70 years max.  It's been around longer, but not widely appreciated before the early 1950's.  And the thing is, other forms of music have lasted longer, some much longer.  Of course, a lot of them are dying out as well.  (But that's a whole other discussion.)

    Besides unusual or difficult chords and weird modal scales like Aeolian and Mixolydian, the thing about guitar is there are so many ways to create unique styles and sounds-- more, I think, than the average listener is aware of.  I've been totally crazy about guitar music since the mid 1960's- about 55 years or around out 75 to 80% of that period of popularity- and I'm still discovering players that have a unique sound and approach.   Give me another 55 years!





    "Hate your job, love your stuff
    If you think that's living, you are
    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong"
    -Juliana Hatfield
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.







  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 28,297
    Why do Ed Sheeran and his clone Shawn Mendes have an acoustic guitar strapped to them when their music does not sound like guitar music?
    Yeah, kind of weird.  His style is simplistic strumming of basic chords on an acoustic guitar that is patched into electronics that make it sound techno.  Not really what I would call guitar music.  More like pop guy with guitar used as stylish accoutrement.  He's very popular and seems to make people happy.  That's cool, just not my thing. 
    "Hate your job, love your stuff
    If you think that's living, you are
    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong"
    -Juliana Hatfield
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.







  • Thoughts_ArriveThoughts_Arrive Melbourne, AustraliaPosts: 13,742
    brianlux said:
    Why do Ed Sheeran and his clone Shawn Mendes have an acoustic guitar strapped to them when their music does not sound like guitar music?
    Yeah, kind of weird.  His style is simplistic strumming of basic chords on an acoustic guitar that is patched into electronics that make it sound techno.  Not really what I would call guitar music.  More like pop guy with guitar used as stylish accoutrement.  He's very popular and seems to make people happy.  That's cool, just not my thing. 
    Their music is dance pop. If anyone calls that rock or as a former colleague of mine "alternative rock" I am going to scream.
    Adelaide 17/11/2009, Melbourne 20/11/2009, Sydney 22/11/2009, Melbourne (Big Day Out Festival) 24/01/2014
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 28,297
    brianlux said:
    Why do Ed Sheeran and his clone Shawn Mendes have an acoustic guitar strapped to them when their music does not sound like guitar music?
    Yeah, kind of weird.  His style is simplistic strumming of basic chords on an acoustic guitar that is patched into electronics that make it sound techno.  Not really what I would call guitar music.  More like pop guy with guitar used as stylish accoutrement.  He's very popular and seems to make people happy.  That's cool, just not my thing. 
    Their music is dance pop. If anyone calls that rock or as a former colleague of mine "alternative rock" I am going to scream.
    Dance pop sounds like a good description.  You're right, it sure doesn't sound like alternative!    But just for the hell of it, on three, let's both scream.
    1...
    2...
    3...
    :lol:
    "Hate your job, love your stuff
    If you think that's living, you are
    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong"
    -Juliana Hatfield
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.







  • Thoughts_ArriveThoughts_Arrive Melbourne, AustraliaPosts: 13,742
    haha, pop music sure does make me want to scream. It's so shallow. Just like a lot of society.
    Adelaide 17/11/2009, Melbourne 20/11/2009, Sydney 22/11/2009, Melbourne (Big Day Out Festival) 24/01/2014
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 20,011
    brianlux said:
    I think it’s as simple as it’s sound being around for 80+ years. It’s been mined really well. Beats and synths are still more new and there’s a lot of room to explore there. That being said, I think there’s still plenty of electric guitar out there, it’s just not sounding like it would have in classic rock.
    Could not the same be said of piano or saxophone, yet even longer?  I don't think an instrument can ever be mined fully as long as people remain individuals.  There are individual subtleties in playing an instrument  that are as endless as there are people who take the time to develop their ability to play well and expressively. 

    And I think that may be what is lacking in today's music- not as many younger players have the patience or are willing to take the time to develop their craft.  Technology and commercial influences have created an atmosphere where music (and many other things) are created quickly and discarded just as quickly.  This doesn't mean there aren't some fine young players- there are- but they are fewer and farther in between than there were in last 100 plus years going back to blues and jazz players and up through rock and fusion.
    I used to play sax and it's a boring instrument just like the damn bagpipes.

    It takes a lot for me to enjoy a good sax player and to me there aren't many.

    What flies for a "sax solo" is very boring to me but people just eat that shit up.

    So here is the problem with rock music in general today, there is too much of it out there and it's more difficult to get noticed in a sea full of music.

    At one time you had a Music Television station to watch and discover bands.  You had magazines that you could read up on.  Now everything is on websites that you most likely click right on by.

    One of the more consistent places to find new music is NPR stations like KEXP or WFUV but even they play shit that somehow passes for music.

    Pop rock is today's country music.  
  • tempo_n_groovetempo_n_groove Posts: 20,011
    brianlux said:
    With only 49 notes available on guitar.. i think the appropriate question is how did guitar driven music remain popular for 80 years?
    12 notes, 4 octaves, = 49?  Must be a "devil's note" in there somewhere.  LOL

    Also, I would say guitar driven music has been popular for closer to 65 to 70 years max.  It's been around longer, but not widely appreciated before the early 1950's.  And the thing is, other forms of music have lasted longer, some much longer.  Of course, a lot of them are dying out as well.  (But that's a whole other discussion.)

    Besides unusual or difficult chords and weird modal scales like Aeolian and Mixolydian, the thing about guitar is there are so many ways to create unique styles and sounds-- more, I think, than the average listener is aware of.  I've been totally crazy about guitar music since the mid 1960's- about 55 years or around out 75 to 80% of that period of popularity- and I'm still discovering players that have a unique sound and approach.   Give me another 55 years!





    Brian the truly great guitar players have their own "sound".  That is what made them great.  I can tell when Morello, Hammett or Van Halen are playing, you just know their sound.
  • Tim SimmonsTim Simmons Posts: 3,877
    brianlux said:
    brianlux said:
    I think it’s as simple as it’s sound being around for 80+ years. It’s been mined really well. Beats and synths are still more new and there’s a lot of room to explore there. That being said, I think there’s still plenty of electric guitar out there, it’s just not sounding like it would have in classic rock.
    Could not the same be said of piano or saxophone, yet even longer?  I don't think an instrument can ever be mined fully as long as people remain individuals.  There are individual subtleties in playing an instrument  that are as endless as there are people who take the time to develop their ability to play well and expressively. 

    And I think that may be what is lacking in today's music- not as many younger players have the patience or are willing to take the time to develop their craft.  Technology and commercial influences have created an atmosphere where music (and many other things) are created quickly and discarded just as quickly.  This doesn't mean there aren't some fine young players- there are- but they are fewer and farther in between than there were in last 100 plus years going back to blues and jazz players and up through rock and fusion.
    I'm not saying that these instruments went away, they have just been used in different capacities as musical styles evolved. The styles that the electric guitar popularized just got stale. Maybe because the innovation in terms of playing kinda ran the gamut, or maybe its just people are always gonna flock to the new more interesting style of music. Because listeners get bored and something else is gonna come along to up the game. 

    I mean these still great guitar centric bands. But maybe the guitar isn't the forefront of the sound. I think if guitar music is to keep going, its gotta learn to be integrated with other instruments. 


    Or maybe I just don't understand what you are asking. 

    Sorry Tim, I'll try to clarify:

    It's not so much that I expect each generation to listen only to older music and not want to create something different.  I guess I could have made the thread question more broad and ask, "Why is all older music less appreciated ("appreciated" is a WAY more useful work there than "popular") by younger listeners?  Why do younger listeners not get excited about the massively emotional feel of delta blues from the 30's and on?  Why is not the explosive amazing sounds of bebop, post bop, modern, and Avant-Garde jazz and so forth not appreciated by more younger listeners?

    But I chose to focus on electric guitar because of the way that instrument and the equipment used with it was further developed and hugely advanced in my life time.  Before Jimi Hendrix and the like there was plinky plink surf music (which I loved and still do), and after, there was a sonic hugeness that broke the fabric of the then current universe of music.  Charlie Parker did exactly the same thing with bebop and John Coltrane after him with the Avante-Garde.  And the innovations today?  Computer programs that create sounds.  Inventive?  Yes.  Soulful, tactile, visceral?  I dare say, hardly.  

    Ah.

    I just think every generation wants its own thing that sound new. 
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 28,297
    brianlux said:
    I think it’s as simple as it’s sound being around for 80+ years. It’s been mined really well. Beats and synths are still more new and there’s a lot of room to explore there. That being said, I think there’s still plenty of electric guitar out there, it’s just not sounding like it would have in classic rock.
    Could not the same be said of piano or saxophone, yet even longer?  I don't think an instrument can ever be mined fully as long as people remain individuals.  There are individual subtleties in playing an instrument  that are as endless as there are people who take the time to develop their ability to play well and expressively. 

    And I think that may be what is lacking in today's music- not as many younger players have the patience or are willing to take the time to develop their craft.  Technology and commercial influences have created an atmosphere where music (and many other things) are created quickly and discarded just as quickly.  This doesn't mean there aren't some fine young players- there are- but they are fewer and farther in between than there were in last 100 plus years going back to blues and jazz players and up through rock and fusion.
    I used to play sax and it's a boring instrument just like the damn bagpipes.

    It takes a lot for me to enjoy a good sax player and to me there aren't many.

    What flies for a "sax solo" is very boring to me but people just eat that shit up.

    So here is the problem with rock music in general today, there is too much of it out there and it's more difficult to get noticed in a sea full of music.

    At one time you had a Music Television station to watch and discover bands.  You had magazines that you could read up on.  Now everything is on websites that you most likely click right on by.

    One of the more consistent places to find new music is NPR stations like KEXP or WFUV but even they play shit that somehow passes for music.

    Pop rock is today's country music.  
    "I used to play sax and it's a boring instrument just like the damn bagpipes.
    This made me laugh out loud!

    "At one time you had a Music Television station to watch and discover bands.  You had magazines that you could read up on.  Now everything is on websites that you most likely click right on by."
    The days of great music journalism are currently all but dead.  Early Rolling Stone was great reading.  Musician magazine, which ran from 1976 to 1999 was great, especially in the 80's.  The only one I still read is Jack Rabid's excellent The Big Takeover.

    "Hate your job, love your stuff
    If you think that's living, you are
    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong"
    -Juliana Hatfield
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.







  • rgambsrgambs Posts: 12,183
    30 years of the same three songs by Def Leopard, ACDC, and Guns n Roses on loop at rock radio stations will do that!
    Monkey Driven, Call this Living?
  • josevolutionjosevolution Posts: 21,643
    Friday & Saturday night checking out The Raconteurs no fluff at their shows ! Guitar driven music at it’s best ..
    jesus greets me looks just like me ....
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 28,297
    rgambs said:
    30 years of the same three songs by Def Leopard, ACDC, and Guns n Roses on loop at rock radio stations will do that!
    LOL, for sure. 

    Kind of sad when you consider the other thousands of great songs they could be playing. Back in the day, KSAN out of San Francisco did exactly that- played lots and lots of great music- especially the Abe "Voco" Kesh show starting at midnight.  Good times!
    "Hate your job, love your stuff
    If you think that's living, you are
    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong"
    -Juliana Hatfield
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.







  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 28,297
    Friday & Saturday night checking out The Raconteurs no fluff at their shows ! Guitar driven music at it’s best ..
    Good stuff, enjoy!
    "Hate your job, love your stuff
    If you think that's living, you are
    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong"
    -Juliana Hatfield
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.







  • rgambs said:
    30 years of the same three songs by Def Leopard, ACDC, and Guns n Roses on loop at rock radio stations will do that!
    Who listens to radio anymore besides college radio anyways?
  • rgambsrgambs Posts: 12,183
    rgambs said:
    30 years of the same three songs by Def Leopard, ACDC, and Guns n Roses on loop at rock radio stations will do that!
    Who listens to radio anymore besides college radio anyways?
    More people than you think.
    Besides, it was the 20-30 years of it before radio took a backseat that did people in.
    Monkey Driven, Call this Living?
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 28,297
    rgambs said:
    30 years of the same three songs by Def Leopard, ACDC, and Guns n Roses on loop at rock radio stations will do that!
    Who listens to radio anymore besides college radio anyways?
    My wife does.  She listens to the classical music station when she drives (not my idea of driving music, haha!)  Other than that though, I honestly can't think of anyone I know who does. 

    College radio used to be the best!  I do miss that (nothing up our way).
    "Hate your job, love your stuff
    If you think that's living, you are
    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong"
    -Juliana Hatfield
    ***********
    M.I.T.S.







  • mookeywrenchmookeywrench Posts: 5,340
    brianlux said:
    With only 49 notes available on guitar.. i think the appropriate question is how did guitar driven music remain popular for 80 years?
    12 notes, 4 octaves, = 49?  Must be a "devil's note" in there somewhere.  LOL
    Open E
    350x700px-LL-d2f49cb4_vinyl-needle-scu-e1356666258495.jpeg
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