If CTC Had Existed In The 1980s


I was just thinking of how big of a demand there would have been for this in the 80s. It would have been massive. Back then young people still believed that making a living being a rock guitarist when they grew up was something possible and they knew there was a ton of money in it if they managed to be both good enough and lucky enough to become rock stars,

Of course the format would have to be different since there was no internet then. Isn’t it ironic that the thing that made it possible to explain these techniques to a mass audience in all different parts of the world all at the same time - the internet - is the same thing which killed the very industry which spawned these techniques in the first place?


What makes you think the internet killed shred?


The internet brought shred back, people like Guthrie Govan or Tosin Abasi would have gotten next to no exposure pre-internet.


Heh, not “shred” I’m talking about the whole rock music industry. How many guitarists do you know of who have released their debut albums in this century who have become rock stars? When I say that, I’m talking about guys people would be likely to consider to be of the same stature as guitarists like Page, Hendrix, Clapton, Blackmore, Rhoads, Van Halen, Malmsteen, Vai, Dimebag, Wylde…


Um, same question - what makes you think rock is dead? I’m a little confused by this…


Attendance at concerts and album sales to name a couple things. How many hard rock or metal bands who made their debut in this century do you know of who can go on the road and with just one opening band headline 18,000 seat arenas?


Do you mean that the Internet resulted in theft of music and the eventual rise of streaming, that has reduced the income of artists?

I think the worst thing that happened to guitar-based music is rap, but eventually something will come and replace it… but likely not EDM, I’m not sure what. Guitar might come back (in terms of market share), we’ll see.


Yes! That (theft) and streaming haven’t just reduced income, they’ve decimated it. Do you know what Spotify pays an artist per stream? One third of a penny. So if the artist gets three hundred streams, he gets one dollar. There is no money in being a rock musician anymore, unless you’re in one of the bands or a solo artist who made his name back when there was still artist development. That’s why even though Metallica has been around for over 35 years, and Guns 'n Roses over 30 years, they’re the metal band and hard rock band who still drew the most people to their recent tours. When the bands capable of drawing the most people to the venue are the same as they were back in 1991, you know there is something terribly wrong with your industry.


I’d say greed and entitlement killed the industry more. Napster started taking off because the industry thought they could get away with 15-20 for a new CD of an album. Spotify could actually pay artists better if they got rid of the free option. People pay for Netflix but since the entitlement of music being free got built in by napster I doubt if they could get rid of the free option and survive as a platform.


Tastes change. the kind of guys doing the kind of stuff you think of as “hard rock or metal” are a pretty niche market these days. Music’s still selling, it’s just technical guitar has gone underground again.

It’s not dead, it’s just pining for the fjords, if you will. And I think a period of hibernation is just fine, considering how derivative a lot of the hard rock being released these days are. I mean, I love Nirvana, but the fact that they were a primary influence of a lot of radio rock bands through the first decade of the 2000s is something that even I think is concerning. And the band I’ve heard making waves the most lately, Greta Van Fleet, sounds like a bunch of unreleased Led Zep recordings.

Idunno. I don’t really see much evidence the music industry is dying - bands like Van Halen and Ozzy were always kind of the anomaly, anyway - for every one band that ended up playing arenas, tens thousands died in the club scene. These days the bands that make it just tend to not be hard rock with technical lead guitarists. Tastes come and go, and one day that’ll change.


I agree regarding for every band that made it to headlining arenas, thousands died in the club scenes. Unfortunately the club scene for local bands in our country has never been worse. That began back when the grunge fad started and clubs found out that the grunge bands couldn’t draw nearly the numbers of people to the clubs as the 80s style bands had. Clubs went from being packed in the 80s to half full in the grunge era. As a result many of the biggest and best clubs went out of business and the never came back. Where i lived in the the late 80s and early 90s in Tampa, FL, our biggest and best club was The Rock-It Club. You might see two national bands there during a week - bands like Dokken or Skid Row and then some of the best local bands Tampa had to offer on the other 5 nights. I saw Savatage there twice! So they didn’t just have glam bands! Criss Oliva of Savatage was a hell of a player. The Rock-It had always been packed until grunge started getting big. Very poor attendance by the summer of 93 and the owner sold his property to a car dealership which offered him $5million for his property.

In Baltimore, literally the largest hard rock/metal club on the east coast - Hammerjacks also had local and national bands. They went out of business around the late 90s or 2000. Nothing like it has replaced it. What this means is that the breeding grounds for local bands aspiring to make it to the arenas one day have dwindled significantly. You take away the places for local bands to gain experience and hone their craft, and they have less chance than ever of making it to the arena level or of even getting signed.

To give you an idea of the quality of musicians in the local or regional bands, check out this amazing footage of Mannekin performing in a small club in Maryland in 1993 performing “Crying In The Rain” The guitarists shreds and the vocalist has a great voice and stage presence!

That’s a nice thought. Considering the dwindling number of places for bands to play out and get better, I have to wonder where those bands with technical lead guitarists would come from, I still talk to my friends in Tampa and while their scene in the 80s and early 90s was second only to Hollywood, today not only is the Rock-It Club gone but all my friends say the same thing - there is practically no hard rock or metal scene there anymore. Many other clubs besides The Rock-It Club have closed in the Tampa Bay area and there used to be at least a dozen great places to play there. How does the club scene where you live compare to what it was in the 80s and very early 90s?

Finally while Van Halen and Ozzy were anomalies regarding the skill of their guitarists, there were still many bands who debuted in the 70s and 80s who had excellent guitarists who were technical - just maybe not quite as technical as Van Halen or Rhoads. Savatage, a Tampa Bay metal band had Criss Olliva. Dio had a great young guitarists in Vivian Campbell. Queensryche had two very good guitarists. George Lynch of Dokken and later Lynch Mob is quite a guitarist. Warren DeMartini of Ratt was quite good.

If you haven’t heard much of Criss Oliva, you;re in for a treat with this song and the guitar solo in it. This was from the last album he recorded before tragically a drunk driver crashed into his car one night, killing Criis instantly and seriously injuring his wife Dawn, who succumbed to her injuries several years later and died. Here’s the guitarist who was the pride of The Tamapa Bay metal scene! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHNVK9NY4JE

Pantera I loved because despite making their name during the grunge “no guitar solos” era, they ignored all the trends of the time and had an excellent technical guitarist in Dimebag Darrell. Zakk Wylde turned out to be an impressive guitarist with his Black Label Society. Megadeth has had many excellent technical guitarists including Marty Freidman. Dream Theater has Petrucci.

So guitarists with great chops in bands that made it to the national level may not have been as rare as you thought. Staring, for a primarily instrumental guitarist got airplay on major radio stations and has done very well for himself. Steve Vai is somewhat similar (he was taught by Satriani too) in that he’s made a great national and worldwide level career despite playing some very uncommercial music. He was able to do that by occasionally accepting a more commercial gig which paid a lot. His "Eat “Em And Smile” album with David Lee Roth is a classic! He did an album with Whitesnake as well. Earlier, Whitesnake, a blues based hard rock band that sometimes unfairly gets categorized as glam had John Sykes on their massively successful 1987 album. How solos on songs like “Still Of The Night” and “Crying In The Rain” gave just about any guitarists of the time a run for his money and David Coverdale had a hard rock voice reminiscent of prime Robert Pant.

If you haven’t heard this bluesy hard rock masterpiece in a while, it’s worth another listen! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swPt9HBRXuE


Lots to unpack here

The guys I know who were in working bands back in the 90s love to say that grunge killed guitar solos, but are also quick to say that after the 80s hair bubble burst (which was going to happen with or without grunge, it was choking on its own excesses before Nirvana got big), they all switched to gigging in country bands, because that’s where they could still play fairly technical music in front of a packed crowd. I’m not sure what happened with the club you’re referring to specifically, but I can assure you live music didn’t die in 1991. Did the owner keep trying to book hair metal acts into the 90s? That would certainly have caused attendance to collapse.

Not my point at all, actually. EVH certainly was an anomaly in terms of guitar skill, for sure, but what I was saying was the success of those bands were fairly anomalous. I’m going to assume you’ve seen The Decline of Western Civilization Pt. 2: The Metal Years at some point or another?

Since we’re speaking anecdotally, I’ll add another anecdote - my same buddy I’d mentioned above who went from playing hair metal and picking up girls in teased up hair and torn denim after shows who went to playing Garth Brooks covers and picking up girls in tight jeans and cowboy boots after the shows used to play in his original metal act fairly regularly at Jaxx just outside DC - I got absolutely annihilated down there watching them play, actually, the weekend I shot down to buy his old Mesa Roadster after he switched to a Stilletto. That place closed down a couple years back. The reason? Sumerian Records bought it, to use it to promote their own acts. I think the industry is doing just fine. 80s metal, however, is, well, we call it “80s metal” rather than “metal” for a reason.


Grunge musicians didn’t kill anything except themselves. Heavy metal isn’t a trend, it had been around for 21 years in 1991 and it’s still around today. Grunge was a trend and lasted what, maybe 6 years? Nobody was going to tell guys like Malmsteen, Dimebag Darrell or Zakk Wylde to not play guitar solos anymore because if they had they’d have told them where they could stick that idea.

I answered that in the part you quoted… here it is:

That began back when the grunge fad started and clubs found out that the grunge bands couldn’t draw nearly the numbers of people to the clubs as the 80s style bands had. Clubs went from being packed in the 80s to half full in the grunge era.

That didn’t just happen in one club; it happened to many of the biggest and best clubs ala cross the country… A club in the Washington D.C suburbs where I worked was so packed in the 80s that on Friday and Saturday nights it was a struggle just to get to the bar and then you waited maybe 10 or 15 minutes to get a drink because they were just that busy. The grunge bands just couldn’t get the job done… When it was very new attendance was already less than before the grunge era but it was at least decent attendance. The novelty wore off quickly, and in that club and others like it all over the country, attendance dropped to where it would barely be half full on the weekend and less during the week. The club went bankrupt and it’s a shame because in the 80s they were making damn good money.

Think about why people go to rock clubs. One is obviously to have a good time. After a while, when every band they heard was singing about being angry, depressed, and addicted, the novelty wears off. Those subjects aren’t conducive to having a good time. It reminds me of the grunge band that walked into a heavy metal band’s dressing room, saw all the women, whiskey and coke and asked “What the hell are you doing”!!! Their vocalist replied “We’re having a good time…why don’t you”!!!

Besides the music the other big reasons young guys go to rock clubs are drinking and picking up women. Well, when the male/female ratio of a club drops from half women and half men to mostly men, that’s going to cause problems. Young guys will go to where the young ladies are and vice versa. If there are very few young ladies at a club, the young guys will go somewhere else. What you want is a healthy 50/50 ratio of men to women. The more young women there are, the more young men will go. The more young guys there are, the more young ladies will go. That cycle goes on until petty soon you’ve got a packed house. That’s what you want! That’s something the 80s hard rock and heavy metal bands were very good at. The grunge bands and the vast majority of the thrash and more extreme types of metal bands were not as good at that.

When the girls went from wearing nice skirts or nice jeans and high heels pre-grunge to wearing flannel shirts, baggy clothes, and Doc Martins, it had an affect on attendance as well for reasons I think you can figure out. Heavy metal and especially glam had their own specific images but don’t kid yourself - so did grunge. Unfortunately for grunge and the clubs where grunge bands played, grunge’s image was not aesthetically appealing to as many of the young people at that time. It’s one of many reasons grunge didn’t last. The damage that era did to the club scene remains though. Even after grunge was done, the nightclub scene, at least in The USA was never as strong again as it had been pre-grunge.

Well, the local scenes are where the future arena headliners come from. Without strong hard rock and heavy metal scenes in cities all over the country, there are no breeding grounds for the stars of the future. When you think about why this century has produced so few bands capable of going on the road and with just one opening band, headlining 15,000 - 20,000 seat arenas, the weakness of the local scenes including the lack of very many good clubs where these bands can hone their craft, perfecting their stage presence and their songs, is part of it.

On the regional and national levels the biggest part of it is that no matter how good you are, nobody will come to see you play if they don’t even know you’re playing. That takes promotion and marketing - two the things the record labels used to do for their bands. Since illegal downloading put so much of the major record label industry out of business, there is nobody left to pay for those things or for artist development. There’s nobody left to front a band the money for their nationwide tour. There are bands touring and making money but they’re mostly bands who were signed back when record labels still had money for artist development. Pink Floyd released something like 6 albums which sold poorly before finally releasing Dark Side Of The Moon but their record company believed in them and kept spending money on them. If Pink Floyd had started out in this era they wouldn’t have made it because if you don’t sell well by your second album you’ll almost certainly be dropped.


Based on your tone here, I think we may need to agree to disagree. :+1:

I like grunge. Kurt Cobain is the reason I first picked up guitar. I also like guitar solos, like playing them, practice my ass off to play them faster. I also like metal - I’m only so-so on hair metal but I’ve got a Soilwork album going as I write this. And I really don’t understand what the point of this thread is, aside from another long-winded post about how much better things were in your day. Idunno, man. I get that you’re sorry the 80s are over, but being that stereotypical old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn isn’t gonna bring them back. If you want to complain about “music today,” there’s probably a better place to do it than here, a forum dedicated purely to technique where we spend as much time talking about bluegrass and blues and jazz as we do about hair metal.


It’s in the title. I was thinking of how huge the demand for this service would have been back when a relatively larger percentage of people played guitar than now.

If you look at the OP there is nothing about one type of music being better than another or anything of the sort. Those things were brought into the thread by a number of people. I guess they were interested.

If you’re not one of the people who is interested in those things, that’s fine but do you realize you asked me more questions than anyone else who participated in the thread? I was glad to answer your questions but don’t now pretend you have no interest in any of what you asked me about and go on to say it’s not even the right forum for it. There’s nowhere else a thread entitled “If CTC Had Existed In The 1980s” would be more at home.


Nah, it was “back in the 80s when we still had REAL rock stars, before the internet killed them” from your first post onwards. I just disagreed with your whole premise from the very start, which you evidently didn’t catch and took as curiosity.

But, I’m evidently wasting my time and you’re evidently not even able to see your biases, so whatever. I’d rather spend the time practicing.


@Acecrusher I think what @Drew is reacting to is that a lot of these open-ended question threads have an underlying theme of “things were better in the old days, old man, grrr” to them. I won’t tell you to stop posting these questions because people do like discussing this stuff. But I already know a good portion of what I’m going to read when I click on it. Stuff about guitar being dead, and the '80s being the best time, the music industry, and so on. You’ve stated these things many times before, so without judgment, I can say I already know where you stand on these issues.

The one thing I would say is that the whole “hot girls and what they wear” angle is off-putting. Some of the best players out there right now, like Molly Tuttle, Sierra Hull, Abigail Zachko, are women. They probably don’t want to roll into a forum where it seems like a bunch of dudes see women as a reward for learning sweep picking. That stuff should be dead and gone. I don’t really care what affect it had on rock audiences back in the day. If those audiences were filled with this kind of mindset, then I’m glad they’re gone.

For my money, I’m glad the '80s evolved to something more accepting of guys like me. There was no place in that time for short-hair nerds who programmed Atari and took AP classes. And in a world where the only way to experience music was in a record store or a club, there was no way for something like Cracking the Code to exist. We are a business delivered to living rooms via a top-secret distributed military computer network from the cold war repurposed for cat videos and arpeggios. It’s an amazing time and while I can look back on certain aspects of the “good old days” with some nostalgia, I’m much happier now.


You’ve completely misunderstood the point I was making. That phrase you found so off-putting which you proceeded to put in quotes is not from anything I posted here. You’re attributing a quote to me which isn’t a quote at all. They’re not my words; they’re your words.

As for that idea you put forth as men seeing women as a reward for learning sweep picking, where did you get that? You certainly didn’t get it from anything I wrote.

Your reply reminds me of one of those attorneys who ask “Isn’t what you said immoral”? Well, based on whose morality? Morality isn’t a universal truth. Your morality is different from my morality, is different from their morality. There are very few universal truths out there. Those who fail to learn history’s lessons are doomed to repeat its mistakes. History is rife with people saying my morality is right and yours is wrong which has led to wars and conflicts and problems.


Chief, you had two entire paragraphs on gender ratios at clubs and the sartorial choices of female grunge fans*.

*Which, by the way, is just how people in Seattle dressed the whole time, or so I hear.


You know, I started to reply, and then thought better of it. Acecrusher, if you’ll take some unsolicited advice, I’d strongly suggest you try and do the same. :rofl:

Cobain grew up in a smallish logging town outside seattle and dressed the part. It just got really trendy for a while after they got huge.