Why guitar companies owned by pro players are on the rise: 5 influential guitarists share their stories

Ola Englund, Zakk Wylde, Tosin Abasi, Felix Martin, Rob Chapman
(Image credit: Miikka Skaffari / Scott Legato / Tim Mosenfelder via Getty / Felix Martin/Instagram / Rob Chapman/YouTube)

If you were to ask a member of the public to name an electric guitar company, you could probably guess their response. Fender and Gibson will immediately come into the minds of many, as will the likes of Ibanez and PRS. For acoustic guitars, Martin and Taylor are usually the first port of call.

There's good reason for this: these brands have been the largest players in the guitar market throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Along with a handful of other household names, the guitar industry has been somewhat dominated by the same type of brands: large companies with historic roots. Indeed, even storied companies such as Gretsch, Charvel and Epiphone now fall under the Fender/Gibson umbrellas.

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Matt Owen
Senior Staff Writer, GuitarWorld.com

Matt is a Senior Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.