by Rob Ward
New York Studio of Music and Art
1967 (Hendrix Emerges) – 1992 (Grunge Explodes):
The 25 Golden Years of Guitar
For veterans involved in the guitar world, ever feel like time has stood still since grunge ascended into the mainstream music consciousness in 1992? If you’ve been looking at guitar magazine covers over the last 22 years, you most likely have been looking at the same faces over and over again… the faces of musicians who had career highlights sometime in this 25-year time frame. This applies to all styles as well.
Rock: (Hendrix, Clapton, Page, Beck, Santana, Gilmore, Iommi, Young, Van Halen, Rhoads, Malmsteen, Satriani, Vai, Slash, Hammett, Hetfield, Frusciante)
Jazz/Fusion: (Benson, Martino, DiMeola, McLaughlin, Metheny, Scofield)
Classical/Flamenco: (Bream, Williams, Parkening, Barrueco, Russell, Isbin, Assads, DeLucia)
Sound familiar? Many names of great players were left out, but you get the gist. So, what’s the point of talking about this? For many guitarists who love playing and listening to music… seeing and hearing the same players all the time… well, frankly, it gets kind of boring! Granted, that’s not to say these players don’t deserve the recognition they get because they do… for many of us, they were/are our idols and our inspiration to play! Though, for the sake of keeping the guitar world fresh and vibrant… there’s also a real need to have more attention given to new blood as opposed to recycling articles about guitarists who, in some cases, haven’t done anything new or relevant in 10, 20, 30, or even 40 years!
However, raising awareness about new artists is no easy task. There’s a wide range of obstacles keeping the modern guitar world from achieving this… most notably, the overall decline of the music business. Why is this important? It’s simple: lack of sales = lack of funds for recording & advertising. In addition, when big profits aren’t being made, there’s also a lack of enthusiasm from labels/investors, managers, promoters, etc. Furthermore, while many artists may not admit to it, the lack of earning potential also affects their work. There’s always been a romantic notion that musicians create for the love of playing (for sure they do!), but I can pretty much guarantee that more artists would be walking around with a little extra pep in their step if they knew their efforts had a chance to provide them with an income rather than succumbing to the idea that their projects are destined to float into the ether and amount to little. So, in essence, small profit potential has a negative snowball effect on everything. We can put guitarists aside for a second, and really apply this to the whole music/entertainment industry.
Anyway, we could go on talking about the problems forever… but, perhaps what’s more important are the solutions. One small step in the right direction may be to increase the amount of new music reviews to help budding guitarists get their name out. So, if you are a guitarist and would like to have your music reviewed, please send a CD to our address, or a link of your music to our email. If your music gets considered for reviewing, we will notify you and post a review which you can freely use as publicity!
New York Studio of Music and Art
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