Study: Who Are the 16 Million Americans Who Learned to Play Guitar in the Last Two Years?
The pandemic has given us all a little more time at home and many Americans, approximately 16 million Americans according to a new study conducted by Fender, have used some of that time to pick up and finally learn to play the guitar. But who are these new players and where are the going to learn how to play? The guitar company has now shared some data to better pinpoint who the fresh crop of guitar players are.
The study was initially commissioned by the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation (FMIC) in coordination with YouGov® and the study revealed that seven percent of the U.S. population between the ages of 13-64 started to play within the last two years. Of those, 62 percent cited the COVID-19 lockdown as a major motivator in their decision to pick up the guitar. In total, over 10,000 people were surveyed to better determine the needs and wants of the aspiring guitarist.
According to the New Guitar Player Landscape Analysis, 72 percent of new players come from the age group of 13-34. And of those, the majority of the respondents had played another instrument prior to the guitar, with piano/keyboards and bass being the most popular instruments.
A solid 58 percent of the users are actively using TikTok weekly to seek out and consume guitar content. Family also plays a role in those seeking out the guitar, with 33 percent of the current beginners having a family member who has owned a guitar.
The study also showed a shift in the motivations for playing, with 67 percent of the players having full-time careers and viewing guitar more as a hobby rather than a passion.
As for how the new players view themselves, women, teens, adults 40+ and black beginning players all classify themselves as "self-improvers" when it comes to their playing. Meanwhile, 53 percent of the beginners spend two hours or less practicing a week, but on average they believe practicing for four hours a week for one or two years will allow them to "get good" at guitar. And the survey revealed that those who aspire to play the guitar view significantly more barriers that those who have already started playing. Another issue for the beginning guitarist is the time it takes to learn and progress as a player with 17 percent feeling that a reward opportunity would help further their interest.
And finally, out of the 16 million new players, approximately one in four have stagnated in their progress, showing that an ongoing learning support system is crucial in sustaining an interest amongst players.
Fender has since taken the data and applied it to their existing programs that have been dedicated to supporting new players.
“The pandemic rapidly accelerated the already healthy growth in beginner guitar players and we accelerated our investment in tools to support them,” said Andy Mooney, CEO Fender. “Our suite of Beginner Tools enables new players to enjoy the process of learning to play music they love and perhaps go on to create music we all will love.”
The Fender Play Foundation™ has been working with Los Angeles Unified, the 2nd largest school district in the U.S since 2020 to expand music education programming in their schools and hopes to expand to school districts across the nation in the coming years.
Realizing that the younger demographic also discovers their music and hobbies digitally, Fender joined TikTok last month, with the #Fender and #GuitarTok accounts rapidly gaining viewership.
They've also launched their Beginner's Hub that helps demystify some of what may be intimidating in picking up a new instrument and the Fender Play® online learning app helping guide players through guitar, bass and ukulele lessons. Artists from a variety of genres have also joined in to provide first person insight.
The Hub also helps put you take the initial steps as well, starting with a Find Your Fender quiz that will help match your taste and aesthetic interests to suggest the perfect instrument to learn on. There are also curated bundle packages for electric and acoustic guitars, bass and ukulele, also breaking it down to skill level.
So, with a surge in interest in playing guitar over the past two years, Fender's Beginner's Hub is breaking down some of the barriers to starting playing and making it easier for those who do to maintain their interest and see things through.