samedi, août 26, 2006

Rock and Guitars

Guitar bands strike a chord to send instrument sales rocketing

Audrey Gillan

The Guardian

The rise of skinny-tied guitar bands such as Franz Ferdinand and the Kaiser Chiefs has fuelled the popularity of the instrument, with UK sales at an all-time high.

Figures released yesterday show that musicians spent £110m on electric, bass and acoustic instruments last year. This was up from £102m in 2004. Sales may have also increased through the success of once little-known artists such as 19-year-old Paolo Nutini, who has been playing the guitar for just a few years and whose album has recently gone gold.

Steve Macari, the owner of Macari's music shop on Charing Cross Road in London, which provides guitars for bands such as Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Oasis and Primal Scream, said: "I think if anything, we have noticed an upturn in acoustic guitars and electric-acoustic guitars.

"It's probably got a lot to do with guitar bands and kids being inspired by young singer-songwriters."

Howard Whatley, a musician and salesman at Macari's, said: "I think it's because there's so many young, good bands out there and this is encouraging people to get out and do it. They are looking at bands like the Libertines and the Arctic Monkeys that are pretty talented and it encourages people to try it for themselves. We have a lot of kids aged between 10 and 18 who have never played a guitar before but are so into these bands and they want to be able to play their singles."

At Macari's, acoustic guitars outsell electric by eight to one - probably because this is what most people learn on - but they have noticed a steep rise in the number of electric guitars sold in the last year.

The Music Industries Association (MIA) said an influx of cheaper models made in China had pushed down prices. Guitars are the bedrock of UK instrument sales, with nearly a million sold last year, up 200,000 on 2004. Electric and bass guitars are the most popular, making up £70m of 2005 sales compared with acoustic at £40m. The average electric guitar now costs £150, compared with £75 for the average acoustic version.

MIA chief executive Paul McManus said: "The popularity of the guitar in the UK is clearly going from strength to strength." The MIA figures are based on government statistics for UK guitar imports. The MIA is the UK trade association for the musical products industry.