The acoustic guitar was the must-have gift for Christmas

Matthew Long, guitarist in his store Planet Rock Music in St Nicholas Street, Ipswich

Matthew Long, guitarist in his store Planet Rock Music in St Nicholas Street, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

The Ed Sheeran effect is inspiring a new generation of guitar players, and boosting sales of acoustic guitars too.

Programme Name: Children in Need - TX: 17/11/2011 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Embargoed for publicati

Programme Name: Children in Need - TX: 17/11/2011 - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Embargoed for publication until: n/a - Picture Shows: Ed Sheeran - (C) BBC - Photographer: Guy Levy - Credit: BBC

The rock music industry has been rocked by the loss of several guitar legends over the past year or so, from David Bowie and Prince to Rick Parfitt of Status Quo.

They really were rock and pop music legends.

Guitar playing has received a boost though, with the success of a new wave of singer songwriters - especially Suffolk’s own Ed Sheeran who has had a meteoric rise.

Acoustic guitars were popular presents at Christmas, it seems.

Rocket Music Shop owner Matthew Long is a highly experienced guitarist, and a guitar teacher, and he says interest in learning to play the guitar is on a high.

“It’s amazing.

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“It really is the Ed Sheeran effect. He is a local lad who has gone from playing the pubs to Wembley Stadium, and he is inspiring a new generation of guitar players.

“Everyone wants to learn to play the acoustic guitar.

“The older generation of people don’t always understand, but Ed is a real hero to the youngsters. He is their generation figure.

“He is like a John Lennon for today’s youngsters. He just writes very good songs

“And he just gets up there and plays alone, with his guitar and his loop pedal. It is great.

“And with his terrific songs and guitar playing he has been a boost for music shops.”

When I called in at the shop, in St Nicholas Street, Ipswich a group of teenage college students were trying out various electric guitars.”

Matthew said: “It is great to see young people coming in, and seeing how they progress and develop and gain confidence in guitar playing.

“It is very affordable. For £100 or so you can get a great guitar to learn on.

“Customers come in and say, buying a guitar 40 years ago was the equivalent of half a year’s wages.

“Not everybody is going to be a Ed Sheeran, or Prince - but they can have a lot of fun making music,” he added.

Mathew used to play in the well known local band Fighting Shy in the 1980s.

He has been running Rocket Music in Ipswich for the past five years, and has more than 30 years in the trade.

Matthew has had lots of well known musicians/guitarists in his music shops over the years. “They don’t always says who they are, but you can soon spot an experienced guitarist and performer. They do stand out.”

Ed Sheeran’s little guitar

Ed Sheeran’s tremendous musical success, and fame, is having a benefit for a number of local charities, which he has supported in a variety of ways, including donating some of his clothers for sale.

So too his `signature’ guitar is helping charity.

Every one of the Ed Sheeran Martin X guitars sold is benefitting EACH - East Anglia Children’s Hospices.

The guitars are made by the famous CF Martin & Co company of Nazareth, Pennsylvannia and Ed has donated 100% of his royalties on the guitars sold to EACH, helping families and children locally in East Anglia.

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