Bringing Bono on board might not be enough for Fender's slump

Jimi Hendrix's First Burnt Guitar

Jimi Hendrix's 1965 Fender Stratocaster is displayed at the Idea Generation Gallery in London, England.

Bono and The Edge – the singer and guitarist for U2 – will join the board of directors at the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation.

Fender guitars are revered by musicians.

Brian Majeski, an editor at The Music Trades magazine, says Fender does “not need these guys to burnish their credibility with musicians or the music-buying public.”

But, across the industry, guitar sales are down 10 – 15 percent from their peak in 2008.

Perhaps the issue is not supply, but too little demand.

“Maybe this slump in guitar sales is a lot of kids aren’t learning to play the guitar because it’s hard,” says Jimmy Griffin, who manages Killer Vintage, a guitar shop in St. Louis.

Griffin says he never would have bothered learning the guitar if he knew that he could be a rock star with just two turn-tables and a microphone or a computer.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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