The appearance of a new Gibson guitar on BBC Breakfast this week has led to a huge amount of interest, putting the industry back in the limelight and generating greater interest in the instrument.
Chief executive of Gibson, Henry Juszkiewicz, appeared on the morning news programme alongside amateur guitarist and BBC business editor Simon Jack, to show off the new Firebird X, which comes 50 years after the company began.
Talking about how the guitar-making industry has been seemingly recession-proof, Mr Juszkiewicz showed off the luxury instrument.
Mr Jack cited figures from the Music Industries Association (MIA), showing that 835,000 guitars were sold in the UK last year, totalling £165 million. This is twice the number on 1998.
He suggested that sales have risen as music is often thought to arise out of a recession, while young people continue to pick up the guitar for the first time.
Speaking to Musical Instrument Professional, MIA chairman Paul McManus said: “It’s a shot in the arm for the industry and it’s good for the public to hear that about the guitar market.”
Meanwhile, playing out on the BBC show, Mr Juszkiewicz showed just how technologically advanced the instruments are, even though they retain the iconic shape and feel of a traditional guitar.
Indeed, the latest issue of Wired explains that the new Firebird X even has its own app store, allowing developers and audio engineers to customise its sound and tuning via software downloads.
The instrument connects to the computer via USB, while wireless foot pedals can load apps through a Bluetooth connection, removing the use of cables.
Mr Juszkiewicz told the magazine: “Brian May’s sound is unique, but is accomplished with a lot of gear. We can now replicate those effects using software instead of equipment.”
The Daily Mail has even taken a visit to the Gibson factory in Nashville, Tennessee, which has undergone a multi-billion dollar refurbishment after last year’s floods.
“The scale of the production is immense,” wrote Sara Nelson, who added that business is now “booming” as the iconic brand, favoured by legendary guitar players Slash, Lenny Kravitz, Jimmy Page and The Edge, launches its newest guitar.
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