Businessmen find new way to survive midlife crisis as guitars rock the City

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The Independent Culture

The days when the only Fender a businessman needed to stave off a midlife crisis was on the end of a Ferrari are gone. In 2004 he needs to dig deep and purchase the Fender Jazz Bass he dreamed of as an acne-ridden youth.

Guitars have seen a massive resurgence in the past few years, propping up the music retail industry and overtaking the keyboard. Sales of electric guitars have jumped 30 per cent in two years, bass guitars 11 per cent in the past 12 months and now the instrument and its accessories account for almost a third of a £700m market.

New guitar bands such as The Darkness have helped to get rock back in vogue. Even the Prime Minister is partial to strumming a few chords. Now bonus-wielding City lawyers and stockbrokers have also caught the bug.

Barry Moorhouse, whose bass and acoustic centre, House of Guitars, has long been a Mecca for rock stars, recognised the trend and relocated his business to Brune Street on the edge of the City. On Thursday night his pal Brian May of the rock band Queen opened the new shop.

Mr Moorhouse said: "A lot of high-end acoustic guitars were being bought by doctors and dentists. Dealing with a rock star clientele, location is not important. If Jon Bon Jovi is in town, it doesn't matter whether you are in Wapping or Knightsbridge, so we moved to the City to cover the new demand."

The wisdom of the move was evident at the new shop's opening when insurance brokers and IT consultants appeared at his door like disciples drawn to a shrine.

Silently they stood eyeing the gleaming rainbow of guitars - angular or curvaceous, simple or ostentatious.

Charlie Pearch, 46, a customer, explained: "I'm having a midlife crisis. First I bought a Harley Davidson and then I thought I would learn to play the guitar."