GL365 ACADEMY Guitar School
Hey, my name is Carl Brown and I am a professional guitarist based in Ventura, CA.
My goal for this site is to share with people all over the world the many things I've learned about the guitar and music in general through my own personal experiences and past teachers. I have been fortunate enough to study with some of the greatest guitarists in the world in many different styles. I feel I've accumulated the best they had to offer and I want to pass that knowledge on to my students.
I have been a professional guitar teacher for over 20 years and during that time have taught many guitarists, some of which have gone on to play in high profile situations and win various national competitions.
The culmination of all of my music study and teaching experience is the GL365 Academy. It is there that I have organized all of my guitar knowledge in a manner that I have found to work the best for my students over the past two decades.
I encourage anyone who is interested in these lessons to ask questions, make comments or request certain lessons in the comment sections that can be found on every lesson page on this site. I will do my best to address all of them and hopefully provide a rich learning experience for all of my subscribers.
Decline of Guitar? Insights from Carl Brown of GuitarLessons365
By Martine Ehrenclou
Since there was such a dramatic response from R&BMuse followers to the Music Radar article, “Eric Clapton: Maybe the Guitar is Over” I decided to interview Carl Brown of the popular online guitar lesson site, Guitarlessons365.com. I wanted to hear his take on the possible decline of guitar and asked for his response to the articles in Music Radar, Guitar Player and Washington Post—all three reporting that guitar is nearly done. Gasp.
Carl has an interesting perspective since he is the founder and sole instructor at the popular online guitar lesson site GuitarLessons365.com. He has an amazing online guitar community with thousands of guitar players from all over the world using his lessons daily, ever since he created the site in 2009. He has been a professional musician for over 20 years. His guitar instruction videos on YouTube have received over 140 million views. Students come to him and his site for mostly rock, classic rock, blues and metal guitar lessons.
Personally, I don’t believe that the guitar is declining in popularity except for in pop music, as I see a large community who love guitar as I do.
Let’s see what Carl Brown has to say.
Martine: Are there fewer students wanting to learn guitar now?
Carl: There are definitely less people wanting to learn the guitar these days. However, I feel like the ones who do choose to play the guitar, become far better players, in much less time than ever before due to the massive amount of info they can get online.
Martine: Do you see a decline in popularity of the guitar?
Carl: In my opinion, I see a decline in guitar but it is more based on popular music than anything else. If you check out the Billboard top 100, you will find only a small fraction of songs that have any guitar at all and it is almost never the dominant sound of a popular song.
When I was growing up in the 80’s and beginning to learn to play, the top 100 songs in the U.S. were always a lot more varied than it is now. You would have massive pop artists like Michael Jackson, right beside hard rock artists like GN’R or Motley Crue. Tons of great pop bands like Duran Duran and Tears For Fears, shared the charts with acts such as U2, Van Halen, Def Leppard and countless others. There really was a huge variety of popular music to choose from.
Martine: What’s the difference between those artists you just described and the artists today?
Carl: One thing those artists had was real talent. They had to perform all of their music for real. It was also much harder to record music in those days, so by the time a band had made it to the point of getting recorded, they had usually worked very hard at their craft. Now you can record music in your home that sounds just as good as anything on the radio, with software that is either free or costs very little. In addition to that, you don’t have to be able to play any instrument or be able to sing. With the use of sampling and auto-tune, just about anyone can create popular music these days. Perhaps that is why so many new “musicians” take that road. It is much easier than spending years learning how music works and to develop technique on an instrument, and unfortunately, I think pop culture is less focused on knowledge and more into social media. It got to the point a few years ago that most new pop artists seemed to have a reality show first before anyone would put money behind their albums.
Martine: What’s happening with the quality of music today?
Carl: These days, when I hear any top song whether it be pop, hip-hop or whatever, it is all recorded the same with the same mechanical feel about it. I think people who first started listening to music over the past 15 years or so, may have never ventured beyond what has feed them through social media, and simply don’t know what it sounds like to hear a real musician perform. If it doesn’t have the auto-tune effect on the vocals, a highly quantized drum track, and the same familiar sample based instrumentation, they think it sounds wrong. If they hear a band like Led Zeppelin which is just 4 guys looking at each in a room playing, they think “these guys sound horrible.” They simply don’t know what a real performance sounds like.
Martine: Where do you think guitar is still very popular?
Carl: I think guitar is less prominent than it was a decade or two ago, but the small niche groups of the various guitar styles are more loyal than ever. If you think about it, the styles of music that most guitar players have played are rock, classic rock, metal, blues and jazz. Of all of those styles, only rock or classic rock have ever truly dominated the music industry. But the metal, blues and jazz genres still have a loyal following since they were never really at the top of the charts, consistently anyway. It was never meant to be music of mass consumption, it was there for the people who sought it out and I feel there will always be people that do.
Martine: What’s your response to the Guitar Player and Washington Post articles regarding declining guitar sales?
Carl: When it comes to declining guitar sales, I think that has to do with a few challenges within the industry. The bigger guitar manufactures simply don’t take chances anymore. They still pump out the same guitars that they have for decades with only minor changes. One thing that has changed is the overall quality of guitars has improved dramatically over the past 10 years or so since there is so much more competition for the lower priced guitar market. Because these guitars are higher quality, players feel less of a need to upgrade. There are also many boutique makers now as well that compete for the higher priced instruments. The big manufacture’s high-end guitars are not much different than their lower priced models. They are also WAY over-priced. You are paying for the name more than anything.
Martine: What else do you think has contributed to reduced sales of big name guitars?
Carl: Another element to all of this is how these companies have been unable to adapt to the different marketing strategies out there. They will throw tens of thousands of dollars into print media for one of their new guitars, when a 12-year-old doing a review of the same guitar on his YouTube channel will have a much bigger impact on sales. From my own experience as someone who has a large YouTube following, I know that the bigger companies have failed at capturing the newer online markets like the smaller companies have. I am sure that has contributed to lower sales but for some reason, none of the big companies can ever seem to learn from their mistakes and take advantage of new advertising possibilities. it is a much different world than it was 10 years ago.
Martine: Do you think there is a solution?
Carl: In the end, this all comes down to record company executives and music instruments company executives having a little more guts. I am sure there will eventually be a new band that will breakout and top the charts with guitar based music again. Will that use a big shift in the industry when it happens? Probably not. The technology advancements of the past decade have changed who is considered a “musician” and what popular music sounds like to the point that I don’t ever think it will dominate the charts like it did before. But there will still be millions of players that are very dedicated to the instrument and playing it better than ever before.
Martine: I believe we’ll have a pendulum swing back to more natural sounding music and that will include guitar. The change may just occur in a different form
Carl: That has definitely been the case in the past. From the classic rock of the early to mid-seventies, it switched to disco. From disco back to punk rock and metal. Then synth driven pop and rock in the 80’s until the hair bands took over. Then grunge was another swing back away from the glitz to a more stripped down style of music. The one thing all of those genres had in common is that there were some great musicians in all of them. But I don’t think there is really any current genre that is dominating the charts. It is more of a style of recording driven by the ease of technology that has now been in place for well over a decade. I don’t see people giving up their technology any time soon. So the culture around that will probably not be dominated by musical instruments or musical training. It would be great if those worlds could come together though.
One great thing about the technological advancements in recording is that there are many guitar players that can more easily record themselves. They also have the ability to promote themselves on YouTube and develop a large following without any need for a record label. That to me is exciting. Because of that, I generally don’t really pay too much attention to what the current music trends are. I know what I like, and I can find plenty of players to support just by spending an afternoon on YouTube and finding them. If media writers did the same, they would quickly see that the guitar is far from dead!
Martine: I like hearing that. Thanks so much for your time and for sharing your interesting insights.
Carl: Thank you.
For more information about Carl Brown and Guitar Lessons 365:
I welcome your comments below.
Hundreds of guitar lessons for every style and level. Go beyond songs and learn to master the guitar and your musicianship.
GL365 Academy is one of the best online resources for guitar lessons and musicianship.
With access to all styles and all levels, you can learn every aspect of the guitar on any device.
In addition to class lessons taught by renowned instructor Carl Brown, GL365 Academy offers one of the most detailed courses on guitar tone available on the web! Learn to craft the guitar tone of your dreams!
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Ratings and Reviews
This Has Consistently Been A Great GuitarInstruction Resource.
I’ve been a member of Carl’s Premium level for 18 months and it has been an amazingly great investment in my opinion! Everything a guitar player (from absolute beginner to advanced) could want is here... theory/cover songs/repair/constant updates/scales/picking techniques/modes/advanced chords... everything! And the membership comes WITHOUT any ego or self-importance on Carl’s part. Can’t wait to check out these latest updates Carl is launching!
Great for any skill level
The academy in my opinion is great for any skill level, beginners, intermediate, advanced. There’s anything from technique to theory to mastering difficult licks. I’ve had a great experience with GuitarLessons365 academy and Carl brown is easily the best guitar teacher online.
Very good and well put together
The academy has taught me so much guitar techniques and has helped me so much to become a better player in every genre! Carl teaches everything! 5 Stars!!!
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