Is a Digital Guitar a Good Idea?

According to this article in TechCrunch, 90% of people who try to learn how to play the guitar give up within a year. Why? It’s too hard. It takes too much practice.

Well, yeah, it’s supposed to be hard. It’s supposed to take practice and dedication and discipline. That’s the way it’s always been–until now. Let’s go back to TechCrunch:

That’s a big problem for the musical instrument industry, but also a big opportunity for one of the top guitar makers — Fender. If Fender can use digital tools like a new tuner app it’s building to keep musicians engaged, it stands to sell them a lot more guitars, amplifiers and more over their lifetime.

That’s why today Fender is announcing the hiring of one of the smartest people in music tech, Ethan Kaplan, as its new Chief Digital Products Officer.

Kaplan was a long-time SVP of technology for Warner Bros. Records before helping start Live Nation Labs, a tech arm for the concert ticket giant. He spent the last seven months as the general manager of audio fingerprinting pioneer Gracenote.

I’ve seen Kaplan speak at music tech conferences, and his no B.S. attitude about what will and won’t work is refreshing in an industry of pipe dreamers. Few have Kaplan’s historical context mixed with modern understanding that’s necessary to see how music will evolve in the face of technology.

Okay, so technology and software is going to make playing the guitar easier. But is that a good thing? Continue reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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