5 Guitar Gear Trends Happening Right Now

Ever since the 1930s, with the invention of the legendary "Frying Pan" guitar, we've seen a huge shift in the world of music. And it's exactly the invention and the development of the electric guitar that made a significant change in the world of music. And just how the technology progressed in the second part of the 20th century, so did the instrument and its appropriating gear. This not only brought simpler solutions for the previously bulky equipment but also allowed guitar players to find more ways to express themselves through this instrument.

And as the years went by, the improvements and innovation just kept on hitting the electric guitar. Although some may still rely on the older principles, it's the new technologies and new trends that drive this instrument forward. And no matter the genre that you're into, there's always at least a small group of guitarists that will spearhead the change. With all this in mind, we decided to look into the modern trends of the electric guitar and what's currently going on and how it may impact our favorite instrument in the future.

1. Simplicity is back, shred is no longer that impressive

The very first thought of an electric guitar used to be a virtuoso shredder, the kind that we saw rising in the 1980s. However, things aren't that simple these days. While there are plenty of very impressive guitar players sharing their videos on social media, all with technical skills and music theory knowledge that would put old heroes to shame, the trends are drifting into a completely opposite direction. In some way, the situation reminds us of grunge and alternative rock and their rise in the early 1990s.

Once again, the focus shifts from virtuosity to simplicity. Ironically, the kind of virtuosity that has the sole purpose to impress is no longer impressive. The fans of guitar-oriented music now look for simple songs that come with an easily digestible structure. And we don't mean this in a bad way – music is not getting "worse." Musicians are just trying to say more with fewer notes.

2. Are modeling amps replacing conventional amps?

The development of guitar amplifiers was the biggest indicator of how technology made an impact on the instrument. Solid-state amps were a big advancement towards making amplifiers cheaper and simpler. Nonetheless, tube-driven amps were still the main choice for professional players due to their warm tone and amazing dynamic response.

However, with the rise of digital technology came so-called "modeling amps." While the first examples weren't as nearly as good as the real thing, we now have very complex devices that even the old school guitarists have accepted. Although what's "better" is open for debate, many experienced musicians have failed the blind tests between modeling amps and tube amps. So it's no wonder that we're seeing guitarists of all genres and different skill levels adopting devices like Kemper, Axe-Fx, AmpliFIRE, and other examples as more practical alternatives to tube-driven amps.

3. Genre boundaries are slowly being erased

Although not strictly about guitar, the fact that the boundaries between genres are being erased is evident even among guitar players. After all, genre labels were usually pushed by the labels and promoters to sell records and concert tickets. But now that the way we consume music has changed, you're seeing music fans of all ages who are willing to broaden their horizons and get into any genre. This trend has made a huge impact on the guitar-oriented music and the way guitarists approach playing their instruments and writing music. Interestingly enough, some of the impressive virtuoso shredders are slowly entering territories of "lo-fi" hip hop and are (with great success) adding this instrument to the genre.

4. "Offset" models are getting big

Sure, Les Pauls and Stratocasters and Telecasters and all the other classic models are still popular. However, we're seeing a huge rise of the so-called "offset" models like Jaguar, Jazzmaster, Firebird, and others. Aesthetics of these "unconventional"-looking instruments are aligned with the musical changes that we already mentioned. Additionally, brands are experimenting with unusual design combinations, one example being Fender's Parallel Universe series.

5. Extending the extended range

On the one hand, it is true that virtuosos are no longer that popular and that the focus is on simplicity. However, the extended range guitar community is thriving. Back in the 1990s, seven strings used to be a lot. These days, 8-string guitars are pretty much a standard among some of these guitar players. What's more, many custom guitar brands are even extending the already extended range and are bringing nine or more strings. Along with these changes come aesthetic and ergonomic innovations, all fusing into these unusual and very innovative instruments.

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