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How many GJ guitar players in the US?

Craig BumgarnerCraig Bumgarner Drayden, MarylandVirtuoso Bumgarner S/N 001
in Welcome Posts: 794
Anyone want to take a stab at this? I'd count anyone with a GJ guitar who plays it more than once a week :-)

My guess is less than 1000, maybe less than 500. If every major city in the country has 10 players and there are maybe 25 major cities where I know of a GJ presence and then multiply by two to take care of everyone we missed outside the major cities, I get 800.

Here in DC, there are maybe 10-15 players and I think of DC is as being one of the more active areas. Baltimore probably has another 10 thanks to the efforts of Michael J Harris and Sami Arefin who host a weekly jam session.

On the other hand, I don't get out as much as I should, could be way off. Maybe some of the touring players here can chime in. I wonder about the big cities like NYC and Chicago. And places I think of as very active like Seattle and Portland. San Francisco maybe. Maybe these places have dozens and dozens, I dunno.

I'm thinking it is less rather than more. Surprise me.


  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,123
    It depends what makes one a gj player but on my dc music school site i have around 12 000 unique accounts from over 60 countries. Would have to find out how many are from the usa
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,123
    Btw most of thèse people are accessinf the free products which helps to gauge how many peope are interested in gj/my site.. Doesnt help me financially but it s all good haha
  • Posts: 3,066
    More than 15-20 in Chicago but hard to say how much more.
    Say when I was taking Gypsy jazz class at Old Town School there could be 5-10 people in the class. But not very many of the students show up in local jams. Maybe @adrian could make a rough guess at how many people he taught over the years at Old Town. I go to three different local jams, one in a private house, one in a bar and one at Caravan shop and mostly different people come to each one. So there's 20 maybe 30 people just in these jams. I have two friends who have Selmer copy guitar and play the music occasionally but aren't active in the local scene and there's gotta be more like them. I may be optimistic but there could be a 100 people in Chicago who at least dabbled in it.

    Around the country I think there's more than 500 too. Take Django in June. The attendance there has grown to over 200 people and while it's an international festival most, I'm guessing, are from US. I don't know but I think it's optimistic to say that a third of all players from US go to it. Again maybe Andrew @andoatagn could have info on how many people he had participate over the years.
    Finally perhaps Michael knows how many unique customers he has in the US, not all of which play Gypsy jazz but it could help round out the picture.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • bopsterbopster St. Louis, MOProdigy Altamira M30, Wide Sky PL-1, 1940? French mystery guitar
    Posts: 497
    St. Louis has about 15-20 who own a GJ guitar, 8-10 of those attend a twice a month jam regularly, and of those, 6 play gigs regularly.

    Add other instruments (mandolin, accordion, bass, uke and horn players), and the number of jammers playing Django's songs grows to about 20. This for a metropolitan area of 2.5 million people.
  • I'm in the only GJ band I know of in SC, and I focus more on vocal versions of songs. I live in the capitol which has a population in greater Columbia area of probably 250 k and there aren't any full time players in town. There are maybe half dozen who dabble.
    I'd say there'd be at least 1000, probably more in the US. If a small city like mine has 6, and there's Charleston and another town both close to same size, then if they had 6 each, that would figure to 18 just in larger cities of SC. Could be players scattered in smaller towns too. There's a lotta towns my size in the country. If a small state like mine could muster maybe 20-25, then California and Texas would certainly have more.
    Who knows tho! My calculations could be way off! I'd love to know!
  • edited April 2015 Posts: 3,707
    Michael would have an idea of how many GJ guitars he has sold.

    If one takes chicago as a high level and maybe half the players come to a jam that would put them at about 2.5 players per 100,000 Taking the U.S. pop at 318 million and an average of 1 per 100,000 that would give around 3,100 players. 1.5 gives 4700 ....2 gives 6200
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 685
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    The entire market for jazz is small & GJ is a small chunk of that - players and venues. If you're doing market sizing, just write down the word “small” an underline it a few times. Lol. No one does jazz for profit because the market is a sliver. But jazz is wonderful. In terms of sheer grooviness, it is HUGE.

    My brother just reminded me of a great Saturday Night Live skit from the 70's about the jazz market.

    The skit is about a fake jazz talkshow called Jazz-Notes. The host is interviewing Eddie Murphy who is playing the part of a 1950's-style jazzman. The interviewer asks (Eddie): “How's the market for jazz?” Eddie says something like... “Man, on the down-low it's rough. We prostitute ourselves.” The guy asks: “When you say “prostitute... do you mean...” And Eddie replies: “You damn right, man – I mean we do weddings!” Man, we even do some birthday parties – we did a Bahtmitzvah last week with a bird theme and they made us dress up like penguins... Sh*t, man... you think Coletrane ever dressed up like a penguin? My keyboard player started crying...”

    Yeah, I know it's not one of the more famous SNL skits because most people have no idea how little love & respect jazz gets as compared to the never ending stream of vapid pop music. But I guarantee that any jazz musician who ever saw that skit loved it. If you've ever carried one amp up two flights of stairs to play three sets of music for four people, then you're officially a jazz musician. But hey, if I could get out of the shop more, I'd go back to gigging in a heartbeat. Nothing else like it.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • Andrew UlleAndrew Ulle Cleveland, OH✭✭✭ Antoine DiMauro modele Django
    Posts: 502
    In Ohio, there are three gypsy jazz bands that I know of: Hot Djang in Cleveland, Moustache Yourself in Akron, and Speakeasy in the Columbus, OH area (but I'm not sure if they are still active). Then there is at least one in Pittsburgh, PA. When I looked for people to jam with, I found two on this list (djangobooks), and a couple more on Craigslist in the northeast Ohio area. So that's a total of about 20 in Ohio I can vouch for...
    Wim Glenn
  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 685
    I was joking before but I would think the number is upwards of 2000
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