From Sister Rosetta Thorpe and Tracy Chapman to St. Vincent and Ellie Goulding, female guitarists have been shredding for centuries. But past research has shown that when it comes to marketing guitars, women are often ignored by companies as an audience.
Yet, a new study released by Fender, one of the world’s most prominent guitar makers, found that women account for 50 percent of all beginner and aspirational players across the United States and the United Kingdom. As a result, Fender plans to continue its commitment to developing products and marketing that draw in and reflect this growing consumer base.
“As a brand, we are committed to creating tools – both physical and digital – that this generation of creators needs for self-expression, now and in the future,” Fender CEO Andy Mooney told Consequence of Sound.
But what, exactly, is driving this upward trend? Mooney explained to Rolling Stone that, when Fender found similar results years ago, some people attributed the rise to the “Taylor Swift factor”: Early in her career, the pop-country singer would often play guitar on stage, reportedly inspiring young fans to follow in her footsteps. But that influence, they believed, would be “short-term and aberrational,” Mooney added.
“In fact, it’s not,” Mooney told Rolling Stone. ‘Taylor has moved on, I think playing less guitar on stage than she has in the past. But young women are still driving 50 percent of new guitar sales. So the phenomenon seems like it’s got legs, and it’s happening worldwide.”
The findings from the 2018 survey, conducted with consulting firm Egg Strategy, reflect data from a similar study Fender published three years ago. As a result, the iconic guitar marker decided to form partnerships with well-known female guitarists, as well as feature more women in marketing campaigns. Fender also teamed up with Warpaint and Bully, two popular female-fronted bands, two years ago to promote a new line of millennial-focused guitars.
It’s not surprising that more girls and women are picking up guitars. And it’s about time instrument makers started taking them more seriously.