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Nearly a third of new gear is bought by church players, according to Fender

Guitar and crucifix
(Image credit: David Izquierdo / 500px / Getty)

Church bands and makers of praise and worship (aka ’P&W’) music account for roughly a third of all new instrument and audio equipment sales, according to research from Fender.

It’s not too much of a stretch to say that most guitarists will either have played with a church band, or know a musician with a background in P&W music. However, now the true scale of the P&W market has been brought to light thanks to some research by Fender. 

Ultimate Guitar cites a Fender calculation that approximately around $600 million – or around 30% of the estimated $1.5-2 billion dollars spent on music-making gear each year in the US – comes from players or organisations involved in P&W music.

In the same piece, Matt Watts (Fender, VP of Marketing) comments: “At Fender, [we] have recognized the importance of P&W for quite some time now. Given our mission to support artists at every level and on every stage, we are determined to serve as a major supporter of the Worship community. 

“We have learned that nearly a third of all instruments sold are used in the Worship setting and there is no doubt that Worship Leaders and Music Directors are a source of musical inspiration for so many players.”

What’s more Fender also estimates that 1 million musicians play church gigs on a weekly basis, while retailer Sweetwater told the firm that one in six of its reps are assigned to P&W sales. 

Religious publication Christianity Today asked Adam Perez, a postdoctoral fellow in liturgical studies at Duke Divinity School, for his take on the story.

“Worship leaders are always commenting about wanting to get a new guitar,” said Perez. “There are conversations about needing to ‘up my guitar’ and discussions about types of guitar. For a lot of worship leaders, the guitar is that companion that marks your journey and marks your development as an authentic worship leader.”

Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.