Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Plectra and inflation...

This year marks the 20th anniversary of me starting to play the guitar. I think I improved over the next two years and have kind of stagnated ever since. But in one regard I am better than most guitarists I know - I don't lose plectra very often![1]

I bought six of the things yesterday and it must be over a decade since I last bought some. I thought that since so much time has passed, they would have increased in price in that time, but I bought them yesterday at 3 for a pound (i.e. 33p each). I'm sure when I last bought some in the mid 90s they were about 30p each and, thinking back further, they were about 25p each when I started playing. That's only an increase of 33% in 20 years. Or an average increase of 1.4% per year. This is well below the UK inflation rate which has been varying between 2.5 and 4.5% for the past couple of years. (As far as I can tell from a very quick internet search, inflation since 1990 has averaged a little over 3%.)

On thinking about it, guitars haven't increased in line with inflation either. In 1994 I bought a nice electric guitar for £199. Today you'd pay about £250 for an equivalent model - again an increase way below inflation. All this means it is much cheaper to play the guitar today than it has ever been. Cool. Rock on!

[1] One of my friends, and I think it might have been you Gareth, once had personalised plectra made with his address on them and an 'If found please return to...' request on them. Dunno if anyone ever returned them though.

Labels: , ,


At 10:26 am, Blogger Marcus G said...

OK Ricky, I'm an Englishman living in Wales, but you are going to have to accept some Scots ribbing here. The simple glee eminating from my screen as I read about a "3 for a pound" offer could only come from, well, I suppose the stereotype would allow Yorkshire as an alternative to North of the Border, but...

All I can say is that given your expressed care in not losing these things, I hope buying 6 of them wasn't sheer wanton excess. Or none of those churches you write about on your other site will be having you back.

And down here in the Cardiff area, I count myself lucky to be spending 50p on a plectrum. Or maybe I am just the last of the big spenders!

At 12:01 pm, Blogger Ricky Carvel said...


I had fully expected to pay 50p each, the '3 for a pound' offer was just a bonus. What I didn't say was that I actually got all six for £1.10 as I was buying other goods to the total of £28.90 and the shopkeeper just rounded off the bill to the nearest tenner. So I actually only paid 18.3p for each of them - which is less than I paid for plectra 20 years ago!


At 6:06 pm, Blogger Marcus G said...

Next time I need plectra, I'm definitely asking you to do the shopping for me. I'll pay for the stamp!

At 11:01 am, Blogger Ricky Carvel said...


Lost one already!



Post a Comment

<< Home