The latest wave of pop music has swept the city’s young off their feet and the sale of musical instruments, especially guitars, has risen sharply, indicated a Daily Times survey. The city’s leading instrument shops, which previously sold between 50 and 60 guitars a month, have registered a five-fold increase with sales touching 250 a month.
Music World, a shop in the heart of Tibbi City, frequented by the likes of Mehdi Hassan, Aziz Mian Qawal, Atta Ullah and Ustad Fateh Ali, has seen business pick up dramatically. Its owner, Zubair Mohammad, said that due to its location they previously only managed to sell between 20 and 30 guitars every month. However, he said that even their business had kicked off over recent years because of new channels promoting bands and singers, which impressed youngsters into buying guitars.
Mateen, owner of Pakistan Electronics on the Mall and Pace, said that their average sales ranged from 60 to 65 guitars a month. “However, prior to the mass popularity of the music scene, we did not sell more than five a month.”
However, the reason for the increase in the popularity of guitars does not seem to be an increase the in desire to learn music, but means follow a fashion. Millat Music, owned by Nasir Pervaiz, and Pakistan Punjab Music, owned by Muhammad Amin, confirmed that guitars were among the most popular instruments. “The teenagers get impressed by the success of musicians and come to our shop asking for guitars,” said Amin, but added that most of the customers were boys who “simply want to impress girls by learning a few chords and tunes of famous songs”. “Acoustic guitars are in vogue because every boy wants a guitar on his shoulder,” Zubaira, an annoyed mother of a 12-year, told Daily Times. “My son had been bugging me to get a guitar for eight months. I finally got him one which he rarely plays now.”
Goher Mumtaz, vocalist for Jal, told Daily Times that acoustic guitars were hot in the market and that teenagers kept approaching him because they wanted to learn particular Pakistani songs. “I am also giving lessons to many wanna be guitarists. The music scene has indirectly affected the guitar industry’s sales,” he said.
Alam A Alam, a guitar shop owner in Liberty Market, said that the people demanded guitars which they had seen celebrities play in videos. “The pop industry has influenced this business. Many buy guitars to keep in their rooms. Only a few are serious about learning it. But you never know which kid will become serious about pulling strings for the rest of his life, so overall I support these youngsters,” he said.
Suleman Sarfraz, an accountancy student, imports branded guitars on order. “I have a lot of friends in America, England and the Middle East who help with this business,” he said.
Supporters of the growing numbers of guitar enthusiasts reason that learning an instrument is productive pastime. Dr Abdur Shakoor, a psychiatrist at Sheikh Zayed Hospital and Adil Hospital said, “Having a passion for music and getting busy with guitars is far better than unhealthy activities like teasing girls or roaming the streets without a purpose”.
Muhammad Ali Durrani, state minister for culture, youth and sports, told Daily Times that the development of the music industry in Pakistan would have positive results. It would decrease the number of frustrated youths and would give a good reputation to the Pakistani pop scene.