How many people around the globe play the guitar?

I wondered this and did a little internet searching. Here’s some data from a 2019 study done for Fender and a few other sources.
Did you know:
Guitar is the most popular instrument in the world, with about 10% of people saying they know how to play. (Of course, we all know that knowing how and doing are different things.) The second most popular is piano (7%) followed by violin. There are approximately 50 million guitar players worldwide.
The countries with the most guitarists are the United States, Brazil, Japan and Mexico, with India as a growing market. (Perhaps Justin will build some new lessons on samba, mariachi and Bollywood show tunes.)
Surveys of western countries show that while about 10 percent of people say they can play guitar, the number drops to 6% for people over 50 years old. (More power to us Old Dogs still at it!) About half of new guitar learners are under age 24. During Covid-19, some 1.6 million Americans took guitar lessons.
Surveys also show that 48% of new guitar players are female, and 52% male. Obviously that historically was not the case.
Also, Australia is one of the most musical countries, with 52% of households having someone playing a musical instrument.
Here is a link to one interesting article:


Hello Michael, these are quite interesting numbers. Thanks for doing the research :hugs:.

Something is amiss in these numbers. Unless >90% of the people who say they play guitar are actually NOT guitar players :smirk:

The math doesn’t add up. There are over 8 billion people on the planet. So either a lot of people lied or the people doing the research are bad at math. :sweat_smile:

Well, there may be a big difference in the number who “say” they play guitar and what the researchers determine are actually guitar players.

So maybe somewhere around 750 million people lie about their ability to play guitar. Wannabes, as it were….:roll_eyes:

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@a0adio0 , thanks for posting this. Some comments…

You write:

Note that we’re using the term “guitar players” to note any person that has, at one point, picked up a guitar and played it

I would suggest that’s not a very useful definition. Using that I can consider myself a golfer, a skeet shooter and a water skier. I’m none of those things and could not even be remotely considered any of those things.

Exactly where does the 712 million people worldwide number come from? Your article (like others I’ve read) cite this other article as the source of that data point: Liverpool Academy of Music – The Many Roles of the Guitar in Music
But that page simply states the number without any justification.

Also in your article there’s some text regarding the “10% of the world” number:

Conducted/funded by Fender

I’ve tried to locate the Fender study that deduces the 10% number, but I couldn’t. Do you have a source for that?

I’d be very curious to see how they got the 10% (~700 million guitar players) number.

I just removed it. Probably not the right place.

To be clear: I wasn’t making any point about whether you should post that link here or not (I’ve got no problem with it).

But I am still curious about the sources of the figures you quote, so go ahead and post them (if you have them). Thx.

At the end of the day what does it matter, 500m 712m 1bn, 20 ? I have far more important things in my life than the concern of how many folk out there play the guitar. :yawning_face:


All good.

Not really. The 2 statements are not mutually exclusive.
i.e. I know how to play a trumpet. You blow in one end and press those funny little button things on top, but I am categorically not a trumpet player having never touched one in my life :wink:

The article gives absolutely no indication (as far as I can see) of sample size or how Fender conducted their survey. Should they have used data from a questionnaire returned via a mailing hit originally generated from their own database (with registrations that would be from the already musically inclined), then the figures are going to highly skewed in favour of guitar usage/competence even though Fender also make banjos, violins and also apparently a piano. The numbers then I expect are being extrapolated upwards considerably.

Compare with asking a question to the limited demographics of this forum such as “Who is the best guitar tutor in the world?” I think we would have a near 100% response of ‘Justin’. But that just wouldn’t scale and reflect a similar real world response if we questioned the nearly 8 billion worldwide population … or maybe it would … :wink:

Studies, Polls etc. are basically worthless unless the data is credible and from an extremely varied sample… to put out statistics like these is ridiculous. Not enough reliable data, no reference to sample size… it’s like asking 100 people on a city about the living conditions & then extrapolating the results and telling the world that this is a good place to live because of 51% positive responses… I NEVER believe this type of information!

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Fender did do a survey a while ago to get an updated view of the guitar playing market. 90 percent of new guitar players quit within the first year. Well done to all those that are still plucking away :smiley: consider yourself part of the 10 percent club :laughing:


@Weath72 I see this sort of thing as Click Bate to get people to click on a website.
There is no way for Fender to know how many Guitar players there are in the world and any study is all speculation and designed to waste your time.

I agree and how is anyone going to get a extremely varied sample world wide.

Absolutely. This was the one they did to understand their learning market Fender Press Releases & Products Updates | Fender Newsroom and it only had a sample size of 10k people.

I read that here in Australia waking up early after traveling to a muso’s gathering sitting around the campground last night playing music with a dozen other people, all of us aged 50 something and older with the majority of the players being women. :slight_smile:

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