Published Oct 17, 2018A new study from Fender reveals that 50 percent of new and aspirational guitar players are women.
In collaboration with Egg Strategy, Fender surveyed a representative sample of players in both the United States and the U.K., adding to a similar survey it had conducted in North America three years prior. That study led the company to promote a millennial-focused line of instruments in 2016, involving Bully and Warpaint in the campaign.
The results between the two surveys were similar, with women consistently representing half the customer base. Fender did not release a breakdown of the data by age or additional qualifiers.
"The fact that 50 percent of new guitar buyers in the U.K. were women was a surprise to the U.K. team, but it's identical to what's happening in the U.S.," Fender CEO Andy Mooney told Rolling Stone.
Mooney added: "There was also belief about what people referred to as the 'Taylor Swift factor' maybe making the 50 percent number short-term and aberrational. In fact, it's not. 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."
Rolling Stone notes that Fender's study also found that 72 percent of players polled began learning to guitar to gain a life skill or improve themselves. Sixty-one percent of people began learning to play with friends or family, while 42 percent said they view the instrument as part of their identity.
"The advent of punk opened up an aperture to playing the instrument," Mooney said. "It was less about virtuosity and more about having fun and self-expression. I think that applies both to bands and individuals who just wanted to pick up the instrument and master it to their own comfort level."