The guitar is an incredibly popular instrument that’s played all over the world. And it’s easy to understand why. The guitar has a beautiful sound, is easily portable, doesn’t cost much to make, is present in many styles of music, and boasts a long and compelling history. But one wonders, how many guitar players are there in the world?
The short answer? At least hundreds of millions, if not close to a billion guitar players
. It’s a staggering number, so let’s explain how we got there.
What Defines a Guitar Player?
Guitarists come in all shapes and sizes. Some are young, some old; some are skilled, some less so. For the sake of our count, I think we should consider as “guitar players” anyone who currently plays or has ever tried to take up the guitar as an instrument.
The case for not only including active players is the reality that a lot of people pick up the guitar for a while, put it away for a few years, then pick it up again. My view is that if you ever learned some guitar, you’re still a guitarist to some extent, and you can be included in our tally.
Estimating the Number of Guitar Players in the World
As of 2024 the total world population
is around 8 billion people!
To put that number in perspective, let’s imagine you had a stack of $1 bills, each 0.0043 inches thick. If you were to stack 8 billion of those bills (instead of spending them), its height would reach about 4,400 miles, which reaches beyond Earth’s atmosphere into space!
Another way to understand 8 billion is to imagine counting to that figure at a rate of one number per second without taking breaks. It would take you over 253 years—but at least you didn’t waste your life.
Now comes the tricky part: figuring out what percentage of the world population plays guitar. Well, according to various online sources
), a reasonable assumption is between 5-10%.
Taking the world population above, that gives us a range of 400-800 million guitarists!
How Many Guitar Players Are in the US?
Given the popularity of the guitar in the US, we can assume that guitarists make up 10% of the population or more. As the current US population
is 336 million, that should give us around 34 million guitar players
, and that number may be even higher.
In fact, according to a recent Fender study
, around 16 million people picked up guitar during the COVID years alone!
The Changing Demographics of Guitar Players
Many people associate guitar playing with young and middle-aged men. However, it seems like this stereotype is becoming less true by the year.
According to a study by Fender
, about half of new guitar players are women! This is an exciting trend, and one that is likely to continue in years to come.
How Many Guitars Are Made Each Year Globally?
Another interesting question is whether manufacturers can keep up with the swelling ranks of guitar players.
It’s difficult to find data on the total number of guitars being produced each year, but it seems to range from a few million up to ten million according to some online sources
As you might expect, electric and acoustic guitars are among the most popular, but a significant share of nylon-string guitars are in demand as well.
Advice for Beginner Guitarists
If you’re a beginner guitar player yourself, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few helpful tips to get started:
- Practice slowly and carefully. Speed will come in time.
- Keep your guitar sessions nice and short, around 5-25 minutes long. This way you’ll be more focused, take more breaks, and pick up the guitar more often.
- Work on your reading skills every day. Find the tabs or chords of your favorite songs and slowly work through them.
- Learn and memorize the basic chords, starting with C, A, G, E, and D. You can play a ton of songs with those shapes alone!
For more help, check out my posts on beginner practice routines
, easy songs to start off with
, and the fastest way to learn guitar
With so many guitar players in the world, I think the future of guitar looks bright indeed. Let’s encourage and inspire each other, creating a strong international community of musicians.