There’s still an unfortunate amount of angst about fake plastic rock; it’s not unusual for me to hear various forms of “Get a Real Guitar, Already!” when I mention how much I enjoy it in a public place or online forum.
But here’s the ironic thing about that complaint: enjoying fake plastic rock sometimes does lead to people picking up real guitars. Guitar Center, who unashamedly sells the fake plastic instruments side-by-side with the real stuff, commissioned a survey that backs this assertion up with data:
- Of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band players that do not currently play a musical instrument, two-thirds (67%) indicated that they are likely to begin playing a real instrument in the next two years.
- Nearly three out of four (72%) musicians who play games like Guitar Hero and Rock Band have spent more time playing their real instruments since they began playing these games.
- Eight out of 10 (81%) of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band players that have been inspired to play an instrument because of the games would like to receive a musical instrument as a gift this winter holiday season.
And they have actual sales numbers, too:
Sales of gear for first-timers at Guitar Center has surged along with the peak in sales for Guitar Hero and Rock Band. In the holiday selling season in the last quarter of 2007, Guitar Center saw a 20.7% jump in comparable store sales for beginner-level electric guitar & amplifiers. This surge grew even stronger through the first nine months of 2008, when Guitar Center’s cumulative comparable store sales for the category increased 26.9%.
Sure, not every fake plastic rocker scratches the itch to play real instruments. But the highly interactive nature of fake plastic rock is a heck of a lot more likely to encourage people to become musicians than, say, passively listening to albums on an iPod. As a commenter on my blog noted:
Btw, Alan has an interesting comment on users of Guitar Hero, however Guitar Hero has spawned a huge interest in people wanting to learn real guitar. Many of my guitar-teacher buddies are overwhelmed by the number of students they now have, mostly kids who got the guitar itch from the video game.
So the next time someone bugs you about this, remind them that a whole new generation of bands are now forming around kids who possibly wouldn’t have even begun as musicians at all — if they hadn’t picked up fake plastic instruments first.
Dana Robinson just reminded me there are guitar tab songbooks based on the songs in Rock Band and Guitar Hero, which make this transition even more painless. Perhaps these would make a nice gift for the budding young musician/gamer in your life?
Filed under Guitar Hero, Real Guitars Are For Old People, Rock Band