Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Girls with Guitars = Good!

Rock just got another X chromosone in the mix: the guitar industry is
finally developing product for girls...
"The industry is looking for growth opportunities given the overall slump in guitar sales. Guitars catering to women is one area that we understand is showing some signs of strength," said Wall Street analyst Rick Nelson, who covers the industry.

The country's two top guitar retailers, Gibson Guitar Corp. and Fender Musical Instruments Corp., have each debuted lines with a girl/woman-friendly focus over the past few years.

Gibson has the thinner-necked, lighter-weight Les Paul Vixen and Les Paul Goddess guitars.

Why the surge of girl guitars now?

"Ten years ago, statistics showed that 96 percent of the instruments purchased were for men," said Gibson Chairman and CEO Henry Juszkiewicz over the phone. "The guitar is now becoming more a part of society in general."

There have been guitars aimed at kids before: Fender, via its Squier imprint, offers a kid pack, and Epiphone offers a smaller-sized kid's guitar around the holidays that's more like a toy, according to a guitar seller at the music retailer Guitar Center.

But Daisy Rock says its low-cost, lean and light line of electric and acoustic instruments jump-started the push specifically for girls. Guitars range from girly butterfly, heart and daisy-shaped gear for younger girls to glossy red, black, purple and pink standard guitars for women.
This simply rocks. Of course many other elements will need to fall into line, like making amps a little lighter and smaller and, well, colorful (lugging around a big clunky, weighty, dull dark amp may be "macho", but I doubt if someone who has purchased a guitar brand with the word "Daisy" in it would not prefer a better designed object). And, of course, bass guitars and drums will need to fall in line as well. The whole point is to get more and more women in bands of all kinds and this is a good first step.

And why should you care about a million more women in bands? Same reason why we should encourage women in sports. Women in sports learn how to work together, how to pursue collective goals and achieve success, how to develop their craft over a long period of time and learn competition. My experience from being in bands, if only for a few years in college, was that I learned many of the same lessons as did my peers. Plus, you get affirmation from your peers by doing something in public. In our culture we still teach our young women how to be all kinds of things like pretty, compliant and servile, not do. For the most part, anything that teaches young women that you can get respect by being excellent in a performance oriented arena where skill is celebrated, is a good thing in my eyes.

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