Guitar heroes, hand cramps and evolving guitars
In April 2016 we asked all of our social media followers to offer their opinion on all things guitar and amazingly hundreds of you replied, stating who your favourite guitarist is, how you prefer to shop and the real reasons why we all don’t practice as much as we should – hand cramps i’m looking at you! The results make for some very interesting reading, as unexpected guitar heroes were crowned, some brands were left for dead and almost everyone agreed that they should be changing their strings a lot more than they do! Check out the results from our Facebook survey below.
Everybody has a guitar hero they look up to, or in many cases a selection of musicians who have been an inspiration to them musically. When you think of the guitar greats, a few obvious names really spring to mind and surely the results would be neck and neck? Not so! When we asked “Who is your guitar hero?” there was one clear winner in our survey – Jimi Hendrix took majority of the vote closely followed by Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page both garnering a great deal of votes.
What type of guitar do you play the most?
A tough question considering most people own more than one type of guitar! But nearly 60% stated that they were predominantly an electric guitar player, with around 20% stating that the acoustic was more their style.
Those Gibson G Force tuners…
An extremely controversial choice by Gibson that divided guitar lovers all over the globe. This idea was loved and loathed in almost equal measure when Gibson announced this mandatory inclusion of automatic tuners on their 2015 models. Interestingly, our survey yielded a more positive feeling with nearly 50% stating that they thought it was a great idea, whereas only 20% said it was the worst thing to ever happen to the brand.
31% took the opportunity to voice their opinions or remained on the fence adding comments such as: “Good for certain situations. Better as optional.” One other entrant said: “Unnecessary, knowing how to tune a guitar is an important part of learning” with another saying: “Pretty weird, but wouldn’t rule out using one. I imagine they’re good for beginners but every guitarist should learn to tune their own instrument.”
The learning curve
We all start somewhere, and according to our survey over half of our entrants started between the ages of 10-15yrs, with over 20% beginning their musical journey between the ages of 16-20. It was good to see that more and more people were picking up the guitar in all stages of life with a selection of participants stating they had begun to play between 30-60yrs+ proving that it’s never too late to learn an instrument!
How did you learn to play guitar?
Interestingly over half of our entrants said they were self-taught, however 40% stated they learned to play with a mixture of lessons and practicing on their own.
What was the hardest part about learning guitar?
Learning guitar can be extremely tough, especially when you don’t have enough time to actually sit down and practice. In fact, over 30% agreed that this was the hardest part about learning. 19% stated that having sore fingers was a major downfall of playing guitar. If you think you’re on your own when it comes to finding patience or the motivation to stick with playing guitar, you’re not as 12% highlighted this as an issue (among others) as a difficulty when learning to play.
Choose your genre
As far as genres of music go, there was a clear winner with Rock taking a majority of the votes. Voters were allowed to vote for a selection of different genres, but the winners were clear. Rock, Blues and Alternative cleaned up with Metal, Acoustic and Grunge following.
“Tweaking” designs on guitars?
The times they are a’ changin’… With brands constantly tweaking designs and providing players with new technology, the general consensus from our survey was that guitars should be tweaked, or changed in some way with 44% stating that guitars do indeed, need improving. Some entrants commented: “Innovation is always good but must also keep in mind what works and the classic designs have been going for decades. Locking tuners are always helpful and lighter woods reduce back problems as LPs are heavy. As long as the tone and iconic shape are intact I think a guitar can change else it stops being what made it originally so great.”
Others said: “Should have different model lines for old versions and new.” And finally one entrant said: “Changes that improve the playing experience are welcomed… change for changes sake not so much”
How often do you change your strings?
When asked, this is probably something that would cause guitarists to hang their head in shame. Most of our entrants agreed that they don’t change their guitar strings as often as they should with over 47% stating that they neglect that all important string change. Nearly 22% change them once every 6-8 weeks with 18% choosing to change once a month.
A bedroom or stage musician?
We were curious as to how many of our social media fanbase played gigs and how many hadn’t made that jump from bedroom or practice room to stage just yet. The results were quite interesting with nearly 40% stating that they would frequent a stage, whereas 29% preferred to stay away from the cheering crowds and sweaty venues. 22% would like to play and a collective 10% had previously played gigs or were about to start their journey on the live circuit. Good luck!
What style of ELECTRIC guitar do you prefer?
Of all the different styles of guitar, the Stratocaster was favourite taking 30% of the vote, with the Les Paul and Telecaster closely following behind. Hollowbody guitars took 10% of the vote with Gibson SG shapes proving to be less popular with 6%.
What style of ACOUSTIC guitar do you prefer?
Acoustic players preferred to have the option of plugging in to an amp and as such an Acoustic Electric guitar took the lead with over 43% of the vote. However, acoustic purists who opt for guitars without a pickup took up 22% of the vote. Interestingly guitars with a cutaway were much preferred to the traditional dreadnought guitar.
Online vs Brick and Mortar stores
When it comes to choosing a guitar, the results were fairly clear. Most guitarists tend to gravitate towards a brick and mortar store when buying their guitar with over 71% stating they much prefer to buy from a person rather than online. 23% said they would make a purchase from an online store without hesitation and small fraction said they would try in store then make a purchase online, buy from both or shop second hand.
What is your main criteria when buying a new guitar?
When choosing a guitar, there are a lot of different aspects to consider, 62% said that a good combination of the sound and look of a guitar was the major deciding factor, whereas others said that the feel was extremely important over anything else.
How many strings?
Extended range instruments such as 5, 7 and 12 string guitars and basses were clearly not a favourite instrument with a whopping 71% stating that they had not purchased anything other than a guitar with a commonplace string set up. However, 11% said that they own a 12 string guitar. Those with a 6 string bass or 7 string guitar were in the minority with less than 5% of the vote.
How much do you spend on your guitar per year?
As musicians, we’d love to be able to spend thousands per year on all the latest gear, however according to our results, most of us spend a more modest £100-£199 per year on equipment. Those in that 9.9% who spend £1,000+ made us totally jealous!
What software do you use to record music with?
When it comes to recording music, there are a myriad of different options, yet the most popular were The Focusrite range of recording products including the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, 2i4 & Solo with a collective 23% of the vote. The IK multimedia iRig and Alesis IO range also featured heavily.
Do you use Soundcloud to upload your original music online?
Interestingly only 32% of our voters said they would use Soundcloud to upload their music, with 64.9% stating that they did not use the streaming site. Only 3% said they used other sites such as YouTube to upload music.
Do you use social channels to promote your band/music.
When it comes to promoting your music online, social media is considered a vital tool. Facebook was the clear winner here with 46.8% of voters stating that they would use the platform to promote their music. Twitter received 23% and Instagram 16.2%. typically, Myspace only got 3.2% showing that the social media platform is still being used but on a smaller scale.
What social channels do you use to keep up to date with bands?
No surprises here when it comes to the channels people use the most to keep up to date with bands. Facebook took majority vote, with Twitter and Instagram following respectively.
What social channels do you use to keep up to date with music related PRODUCTS?
Those who followed brands across social media channels stated that Facebook was their preferred channel for finding out about the latest products. Twitter followed in second place but it was YouTube that showed up the most in the “other” section. It seems more and more people are turning to this platform to keep up to date with new products.
Thank you to all who took part in our guitar survey!
View our complete range of musical instruments and recording equipment on the Dawsons website.
Lee Glynn is a guitarist and multi-instrumentalist who lives in Liverpool, England. After moving to the UK from Perth, Australia, Lee enjoyed a successful career as guitarist in Liverpool based rock band Sound of Guns.
After releasing two albums, a myriad of EPs / singles and touring extensively around the world for 6 years including stops at Glastonbury, Latitude Festival, as well as the coveted Reading & Leeds Festivals, Lee decided it was a time for a change of scenery.
Utilising his experience in music journalism, Lee now works within the web team at Dawsons Music, where he can still relay his passion for music by producing great content for the Dawsons blog and social media. Lee is still an avid guitar player and writer.