Rock and roll has been on the rise since the late 1940’s and early 50’s, when Sun Records began recording and producing this new and innovative form of music that blended blues, country, R&B, and folk music into something that people had never heard before. It was pioneers like Carl Perkins, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, and Eddie Cochran that helped make the transition from blues to rock and roll and inspired musicians to bring rock to new levels and ultimately to what it is today.
Popular culture was changed forever when these early groundbreakers unleashed the gift of rock and roll to the world, but none of this could have been possible without one special tool; the guitar.
Over the last 30 years, the guitar has influenced society in very important ways. For the first time, pop culture didn’t only target actors, actresses, and athletes; people everywhere now had something different to look up to, and that was musicians.
Although in the beginning, singers were in the spotlight, but since the rock revolution, we now are seeing guitar players as role models and celebrities. In the 80’s, hair metal rapidly moved into popularity. It was driven by screaming guitars and catchy rhythms with an attitude that was rebellious and suggestive. The bands had personalities, and they connected with their fans. This relationship was not only with the singers, but the guitar players were recognized and their skills were emphasized to a greater extent.
Modern guitar players are seen for their unrelenting skill and ability to play notes and execute solos at lightning-fast speeds. A large majority of these guitarists were in bands from the late 70’s and early 80’s and are still alive today. The new wave of metal and rock has guitar players that are more concerned with speed, rather than talent and clarity of the notes.
Sadly since the millennium, guitar players come a dime a dozen, and they often are praised more for their style and look than actually their talent. It’s almost as if the frame of mind from the sixties, “if you have a guitar, you were surrounded by girls,” is still alive in their heads.
Playing the instrument is often taken for granted; it’s a lot harder than it looks. Learning how to read music, applying it to the scales and theories, and developing songs is a skill that only few posses. It takes time to learn, and as people begin playing, it becomes more understood. The real idolization of a guitar player seems to come after people start to play, as they take a liking to someone’s style or songs they write, and aspire to be like them.
As musicians have inched their way into the limelight, our generation has taken a strong liking to them as they’re an important part of pop culture. This rise of the guitar has been shown as it’s featured in numerous specialized publications like Guitar One Magazine and Guitar World. With all the resources available and a market that buys into it, guitar playing has become a very popular pastime. Famous guitarists share their skills openly with aspiring players, and fans of their music in blogs, videos, and articles in magazines.
The rise in popularity of music has influenced many kids and adults to pick up a guitar and learn to play. With the guitar comes attitude and style that people learn to develop. Hopefully, we’ll see a new generation of music that embraces the roots. Think about it, if Buddy Holly were alive today, would he be wearing a Blink 182 t-shirt, or a Metallica one?