Fender Study Reveals That 50 Percent Of Aspiring Guitar Players Are Women

Taylor Swift performs onstage during the Z100's Jingle Ball 2012.
Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images for Jingle Ball 2012

Playing the guitar is a talent or a hobby popularly associated with men, but findings of a new study defied the stereotype of male guitarists.

Guitar maker Fender consulted neuroscientist and musician Daniel Levitin to conduct a study involving 500 beginner guitarists in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The company worked with consultancy Egg Strategy to survey the guitar players for the research titled “Illuminating the State of Today’s Guitar Players.”

The survey had interesting results, one of which is that 50 percent of beginner and aspiring guitar players nowadays are female.

“Guitar players of today are more diverse than ever before,” Fender said in a statement. “Women continue to define the emerging guitar market, accounting for 50 percent of all beginner and aspirational players – begging the question, is the future of guitar female?”

Fender CEO Andy Mooney said that the results in the UK were surprising, albeit these were similar to the results of a Fender survey conducted three years ago in the United States.

That study led the company to reassess its promotional campaigns and introduce guitars aimed for millennials with bands led by women.

Mooney told the Rolling Stone that the so-called Taylor Swift factor was suspected to be driving the interest in women, which could mean that the 50 percent is just “short-term and aberrational.”

Taylor Swift performs at the MGM Grand on April 6, 2009.
  Ethan Miller / Getty Images

It seems that this is not the case. Mooney cited that Taylor Swift is no longer as visible with her guitar now than in the past, but women are still driving a large chunk of guitar sales.

“Taylor has moved on, I think playing less guitar on stage than she has in the past. But young women are still driving 50% of new guitar sales,” Mooney said. “So the phenomenon seems like it’s got legs, and it’s happening worldwide.”

While the survey reveals an an emerging trend of women interested in learning how to play guitar in both the United States and the United Kingdom, there were some differences in how women and girls in the two countries prefer to play the instrument.

According to The Guardian, half of all respondents in the UK prefer to play privately. The number is 18 percent more than in the U.S.

The research also revealed that the diversity of guitarists grows beyond gender. African-Americans now make up 19 percent of aspiring players, and Hispanic players make up 25 percent of beginner guitarists. The field used to be dominated by white people.