In recent decades the guitar has gained immense popularity among teens and young adults and serves as a powerful symbol of American popular culture.

image of a guitar

Since the mid-20 th century the guitar has become the most widely sold instrument in the world and has gained popularity, especially among teenagers and young adults. In the United States the guitar has become an item synonymous with popular culture. The advent of radio sparked the popularity of guitar playing in the popular music setting, leading to the emergence of guitar-based rock and roll as the dominant form of music in America. The popularity of the guitar among young people in the United States today largely results from a desire to emulate famous guitar musicians. Also, because the guitar is used in mainstream music more so than other instruments such as wind or brass instruments it is considered by some players to be more “approachable” and has consequently become more popular. Other factors that lead to a large number of people purchasing guitars in recent years are its affordability, portability, and its nature of being and instrument that is easily self-taught. These features are part of larger social trends that include fast-paced and on-the-go environments, desire for privacy, and time management. The guitar is an instrument that can be learned without lessons, in the privacy of your own home, and can be easily transported from place to place, unlike its biggest counterpart, the piano. These factors combine to make the guitar the most popular instrument in America for now and many years to come.

--Rachel Gajeski