Blog Post Three – Technology’s effect on the world of guitar and music
Like any other industry, change was inevitable within the world of music. Newfound technology and ideas helped to shape how guitar players learn theory, purchase instruments, and even interact with one another. In this post, we will dive into how the 21st century, just 16 short years, have profoundly altered the lives of musicians all over the globe.
Before the internet became popular and a regular part of the American household, people learned songs by simply listening to old records or the radio and trying to work out the music by ear; meaning that they listened to the music and tried to find the right chords and notes to play the song. The only other option for learning music was to go to your local music store and see if they had the sheet music or chord charts for sale at the front desk. However, thanks to websites like “Ultimate Guitar”, started in 1998, players can now go on internet forums and look up virtually any song that other guitar players have tabbed (figured out and notated musically often down to the individual note). For example, a user voted document, detailing so far as the individual bends of the strings, of Jimmy Page’s guitar solo from the famous Led Zepplin song “Stairway to Heaven” is available fo anyone to look up and figure out on the guitar. Websites like this allow anyone with the motivation to learn almost any song and make practicing and studying the guitar much easier than in years before.
Super amazon-esc mega music websites like “Musician’s Friend” and “ZZounds” have all but destroyed small neighborhood guitar stores. The smaller mom and pop shops are not able to compete with the larger companies inventory or prices, dooming them to extinction. Although they have destroyed small businesses, they have also opened new doors for guitarists. With the small stores, the only guitars that you could purchase were the ones available on the floor. However, with this large websites, it is possible to find almost any model and even year of guitar and buy them from anywhere in the world. The only disadvantage to this method is that you cannot play the guitar in person before you purchase it, an opportunity that many players view as crucial.
Another change to the world of guitar brought by the 21st century was the introduction of remote music software. Websites like JamKazam allow musicians to play together from different locations in real time. Sites like these allow guitarists to rehearse with a band from across the country or give/take lessons without being present. Up until recently, playing with other musicians in real time was impossible, but thanks to improvements in technology, guitarists are now able to play with other musicians from almost anywhere.
The 21st century has revolutionized what it means to be a guitarist. This technology allows musicians to improve their skills faster, with better tools in a more close-knit and responsive community.