Revisiting Some of 2021’s Biggest Guitar Trends

As we wrap up 2021, perhaps it is a good time to reflect on what this year meant for the UG and greater guitar community. We’ve covered all our reviews , given out our awards , now let’s discuss what we’ll be taking from this past year into the new one. While 2021 did have a return to live music, many rigs and gigging setups looked very different. And the attention and energy put into home recording never really went away either. Pedalmania Is In Full Force

2021 did give us the Pedal Movie from Reverb , which I thoroughly enjoyed. It did a great job exploring the musical applications and inspirations behind circuits, not just glorifying collectible pedals we all know and love. However, despite this hallmark in healthy pedal appreciation, the unhealthy ways of our beloved pedal market continued. Klon prices soared as word got out that "magic diodes" were in short supply.

Flippers kept flipping, new pedals kept coming despite the ongoing pandemic. And while I certainly love seeing our pedal world churning out great new products all the time, it is starting to feel like we are all part of the guitar industrial complex. I’m very certain 2022 won’t be any less crazy, but it is interesting to see how big this bubble can get before it pops. As of now, there is no apparent cap on what this economy can support. New builders and pedals keep coming with no 2008-like fallout on the horizon just yet. Guitar Prices Are Rising, But Interest Remains <$1000

Despite the increase in guitar prices that we’ve observed for many years now, most interest is focused on the more affordable end of the market. Squier and Mexican Fender products were all the rage. This is partly because their production didn’t take as much of a hit compared to other companies. But also, this $999 or lower price tag seems to be their golden ticket.

More importantly though, Fender has zeroed in on something people want; quirkiness. The Paranormal Series, Alternate Reality, and Player Plus all bring unique traits to $1000 or much less in the case of the Squier Paranormals. If you’re going to get attention in 2022, you can’t just rely on Stratocaster and Les Paul copies to get it done. People want something a little bit different. A new body shape, weird pickup configurations, or at least pick a few premium features to slip into an import guitar. I think we’ve seen Harley Benton employ this strategy to great effect in recent years, and Epiphone and Ibanez would be wise to hop on the trend. When those two companies have dipped their toes in, it has definitely been successful. Pedalboards Are Getting Expensive

I, myself, am guilty of following this trend to a T. I decided that I wanted to expand my board significantly in 2021. However, my board is almost entirely MXR, EHX, Boss, and Dunlop pedals so I take some solace in knowing that the high price […]

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