Eric Clapton on Declining Guitar Sales: 'Maybe The Guitar Is Over'
Eric Clapton attends a press conference for Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars on day 5 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on Sept. 11, 2017 in Toronto.
Eric Clapton, one of the greatest and most influential guitarists of all time, doesn’t seem bothered that the future of the six-string may be in jeopardy -- but it is the first he’s heard of it.
At his Toronto International Film Festival press conference Monday (Sept. 11) morning for the Lili Fini Zanuck documentary, Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars, Billboard told Clapton that guitar sales are down, teens are flocking to EDM and music education charities for schools, such as America’s Mr. Holland’s Opus and Canada’s MusiCounts, typically lean toward brass, woodwinds and strings these days. He quipped, “I didn't realize it was that bad,” laughing.
“I’m out of touch. I mean, I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know where it’s gonna go either. I think anything that has a natural process will end up where it’s supposed to be.
“My kids listen to classic rock, but that may only be because of me, because that’s what I’ve played to them. I mean, from the time of their conception, they’ve been listening to music through the womb. I played them playlists, just brainwashed my kids, and at the back of it was always the guitar or some kind of solo instrument or a singer. My belief in music is it’s all good. It’s all good. Even stuff that doesn’t appear to be so, it’s all good.”
Billboard followed up with stats from June’s Washington Post story that said sales of guitars were down to 1 million a year from 1.5 million, and that major manufacturers (Gibson and Fender) were having financial difficulties, as was Guitar Center.
“I don’t know. Maybe the guitar is over,” Clapton said, laughing again. “Good question though.”