Where is the electric instrument industry going from here ?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by RED J, Jan 20, 2015.

  1. RED J

    RED J Lol

    Jan 23, 2000
    The Carvin restructure thread got me thinking,where are things going ?
    Let's face it, the market is saturated, we see it all around us. Especially for those who have been around for decades, who of us could have imagined the amount of gear we all own now at any and all price points ?
    We see in our own classified ads things aren't moving, and the reason is many if not all are trying to cut back and the market is more or less stagnant.
    We see manufacturers and retailers going for broke in every direction they can think of to keep short term gain intact and to try to delay the inevitable.
    All we have to do is look in our own studios, closets, and living rooms to know the truth: Supply is far exceeding demand.
    All of this of course is just a gear in the bigger grinder of changing to a world economy.

    Where do you see things going as the old business models and supply / demand dynamics collapse ?
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2015
    PortlandBass77 and Winfred like this.
  2. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    completely Bluetooth and local/private WiFi, i pray.
  3. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    There will always be a small market for high end or custom instruments, so long as a handful of people love to play music. The "consumer" gear market probably faces the inevitable trend towards music that is more electronic and computer driven.
  4. mbelue


    Dec 11, 2010

    Woohoo everybody is a musician!

  5. yellowmiata


    Apr 29, 2012
    Good question!

    IMHO, the market will stratify just the way income is distributed with many high-end manufacturers going after the few folks with money and the big box stores selling under the low-cost-leader philosophy. It's like car dealers, even though both cheap and expensive cars fulfill the need to get from point A to point B, they are marketed, and profited from, in different manners.

    So where do I think its going? High end products will continue to vie for the few consumers who can afford them, big box stores will continue to sell reasonably useful gear to working musicians (who dream / save for the high end stuff).
    Winfred likes this.
  6. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I actually had a contractor come in here...he saw the (band) photos in my cube & said-
    "...hey, I am also in a band; me on guitar with a bass player, drummer & singer. We even have videos on youtube".
    Cool...except it was Rock Band or whatever that game is/was called.
    He was deadly serious about this "band" (they were actually "good enough" to win "jam" competitions).
    Oh yeah-
    He said he did not have the time to learn a real instrument.
  7. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    That's sad. A virtual band and he thinks they are real musicians.
  8. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    One significant difference between musical instrument markets and car markets is that no matter how good a car you buy, sooner or later it's going to wear out and you will have to buy another one.
  9. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    When supply exceeds demand there are piles of instruments sitting unsold in warehouses. That's not what's happening.
    What you're seeing is demand exceeding personal storage space.

    The interesting thing I'm seeing currently in the market is a shift towards more products that are designed for non-gigging guitar players. Small amps that sound good and have USB recording outputs. Inexpensive 8 and 9 string guitars that are usually crap in a band setting but make for huge sounding home solo recordings. Pedal sized drum machines.

    Manufacturers used to fight against making small amps that sounded pretty good because they made more profit on big amps that sounded really good. Now all the big manufacturers are doing that, or trying to.

    Frankly I don't see all that much change in the near future. People still want to play hunks of wood with magnets and metal strings on them. They'll add some doodads here and there like amp sims and effects control via smart phones, and wireless pedal boards, etc, but fundamentally the only thing that's going to change is that people like me who only buy instruments that they can physically touch before they pay for them are going to be fewer and fewer.
  10. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    That's what people said when the electric guitar first came out. ;)

  11. I would be so bold as to say, that the "demand" is still there. The ability to afford paying for said supply is all together another story, most likely. IMHO, and such. What I mean is, I still have massive GAS pains. If I had the loot, I'd own the gear. YMMV
  12. 48thStreetCustom


    Nov 30, 2005
    I think things will move towards Kemper Profiling amps if they can get the costs down.

  13. BazzTard

    BazzTard Inactive

    I predict the comeback of 2 inch TAPE for recording.

    It makes me laugh when they bring out all these plugins for home recording to emulate analogue sounds. Even to replicate tape wow and flutter. It's already gone full circle in a way. If only we could UNINVENT autotune......
    PortlandBass77 and orange joe like this.
  14. OldDirtyBassist


    Mar 13, 2014
    Whatever Anthony Jackson is currently doing gear wise will be the norm in the future.
    orange joe likes this.
  15. Root 5

    Root 5

    Nov 25, 2001
    I think it's because guitarists in particular, have realized they don't NEED a 50W or 100W amplifier after experiencing just how incredibly loud a 5W all tube amp is.
  16. orange joe

    orange joe I am serious and don't call me Shirley

    Sep 7, 2012
    Albany NY
    I have been interested in this subject for sometime now.I'm not sure where the industry is going but it seems like more and more folks would rather buy from a person as opposed to from a factory or company.Also alot more people are getting into DIY projects and are pretty happy with the results.From Carvin and Bulldog kits to BFM,Greenboy and beyond.more people are taking a whack at building themselves some with better success than others.The number of builders out there now is crazy.It is a very interesting time we live in
    TheBear likes this.
  17. ggunn


    Aug 30, 2006
    Austin, TX
    When I decided to shop for a vintage Fender amp, the first ones I found were Twins. What I really wanted, though, was a Deluxe. I saw what Twins were selling for, which wasn't too bad, and I thought I'd find a Deluxe for cheaper, since it's a little brother to the Twin. I was wrong; Deluxes were costing twice what Twins were going for. I found a nice '64 Deluxe Reverb, but I paid a lot for it. No regrets, though.

    In my younger days I played through a dimed 50W Marshall and I have the tinnitus to prove it.
    Root 5 likes this.
  18. strictlybass_ic

    strictlybass_ic Mediocrity is a journey

    Jan 9, 2014
    Northern Indiana
    It's tough to say. In seemingly every other part of the market the drive is for ever more overpowered, technology laden items which become almost instantly "redundant" (my primary computer was built by me in 2004, it's still good enough, but try telling that to the guy at Best Buy). BUT the instrument world, particularly the guitar side of it, is basically obsessed with "vintage" or as it seems to me "the good ol' days". There's still a huge segment of the market that thinks a '6X Fender P-Bass is the be-all-end-all (I've played an original and a relic-ed re-issue, hated them both, but that's just me). So I think if anything the electric guitar/bass market might stave off the technological de-souling that many other markets have succumbed to.

    Keep in mind though. before Leo carved out those first P-Basses we were all stuck in the doublebass forum. So all it takes is the next big leap in technology to make us all redundant. Who knows, maybe a macbook air and protools rev X.XX will be the '6X Fender P for the next generation. And instead of romanticizing guys like Jaco and Jimi it'll be Skrillex amd Deadmau5...
  19. Big namers (Fender) will start focusing more on other markets such as Latin/South America, Europe, and Asia as the US market starts losing profit.
    TheBear likes this.
  20. IconBasser

    IconBasser Scuba Viking

    Feb 28, 2007
    Fontana, California
    hmmm... I'm not sure that the statement "The market is stagnant" is really true. I'd really like to see some specific statistics for a wide range of manufacturers before anything else. As for saturation, yeah, it's undeniably true that there are way more designs and companies out there than there were 30 years ago. This inevitably means that the old market leaders are going to lose share and influence. Another result is the accelerated rate of innovation in new types of instruments and electronics. We'll see things in 5 years that we've never imagined before.

    This type of market environment is known as "Monopolistic Competition": many different sellers, variations in products between sellers, and heavy degrees of possible substitution between products. In this sort of environment, things like advertising and product development play huge rolls in market share. It's very cut throat and very fast paced - each company is looking for the next little edge on the competition to influence buyers to think "this product is the coolest thing right now, I'm going to buy it over that other amp that's been the same for 20 years", before another company beats them to it.

    Of course, that's not to say that old companies with standard products will go under; there will always be a market for classic designs. It's just that all the people way back when that wanted something weird and couldn't find it no longer have to use the standard gear. This is mirrored in what we see at NAMM this year: lots of companies pushing the bar with their designs (like that fanned fret Ibanez, that used to just be a botique thing), with a still respectable presence at the Fender and EBMM booths.

    As for the slow business in the classifieds and retail outlets, I think that has just about everything to do with a drop in the general standard of living in the US. Face it, we're still way behind pre-recession levels, and the costs of food and medical care are just going to keep rising. When that's the case, new guitars are the last things that 99% of the population are worried about buying.
    Polfuste, Root 5 and Winfred like this.
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