Shelby Pollard: “We need to open up our definitions of guitar hero”

“The generation that ushered in the gear era has a very narrow definition.”

Shelby Pollard
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What is a guitar hero? Some cursory research will tell you that it’s “a series of music rhythm game video games first released in 2005,” which isn’t very helpful. Aside from this, the phrase often conjures up imagery of 1970s guitar gods, with flowing hair and open shirts, casually shredding away in front of stadiums. That’s a stereotype that Shelby Pollard, offset expert and founder of music store Black Bobbin, thinks should be unravelled.

As part of the latest issue of Guitar Magazine, we asked a broad panel of guitar stars How To Be A Modern Guitarist. We got their thoughts on issues spanning social media to inclusivity, sustainability and more.

Speaking on the subject of inclusivity, Pollard noted that “the generation that ushered in the gear era has a very narrow definition of ‘guitar hero.’

“That definition is perpetuated to this day. We need to open up our definitions of guitar hero to include anyone that inspires someone else to create music.”

This traditional definition, for some, comes with a healthy dose of classic rock snobbery – musician Benjamin Mah opined that “the ‘traditional’ audience (and the snobbery that often comes with that)’ is still a dominant force but social media has helped more unconventional musicians find their communities and connect with fans online.”

You can read the full feature How To Be A Modern Guitarist in the May 2021 issue of Guitar Magazine, out now.

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