Editors note: This is a guest post written by Ava Corrothers, one of the administrators of the Jemsite guitar blog.
Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Joan Jett, Susanna Hoffs…so yesterday! Yes, these are the names of amazing female guitarists who some might consider modern day female rockers, but when I say modern, I mean MODERN-like in the last two decades.
This is the time when guitar strumming femmes are taking it to a whole new level. So here’s my list. You may hate some of the choices, you may love them…but we should all give major props for these women who changed the modern music rock world for women in the new generation, one guitar string at a time.
I’ve read on other posts that all songwriter/guitarist Melissa Etheridge does is strum chords, but I’d like to believe she’s so much more.
She’s already released ten albums, three of which have gone multi-platinum…and when she plays in a club or bar with just one guitar, it’s like she has a whole band behind her!
She’s bluesy, a little bit pop and rock, and totally fierce!
And she constantly jams away!
She’s more than just the girl with the statement-making wild blonde hair. She was Michael Jackson’s main guitarist on his Dangerous tour, plucked from over 100 other guitarists who auditioned to be part of the tour.
And, have you ever seen the YouTube video where she plays “Flight of the Bumblebee” on her electric?
The Donnas are my favorite hardcore glam girl group and Allison Robertson is their star guitarist. But while they may all seem about fun, she’s totally about guts. What makes her so sexy? She takes risks with her riffs and you can see it in her fingertips, with every lick coming out quite intensely.
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a female play a Gibson or a Marshall better. “I’m sort of an old soul,” she once said in an interview, and it’s true, Robertson takes her influences and reinvents them like rock n’ roll royalty.
If The Donnas are the epitome of hardcore glam, then PJ Harvey is the epitomy of real glam-rocker chick style. PJ has had five Grammy nominations, been Rolling Stone’s 1992 New Artist of the Year and had two of her albums on the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list.
She’s an amazing guitarist…and yet, she’s told music magazine The Wire that she leaves instruments untouched when she’s not recording. At one point, she had to learn guitar all over again. And yet, her hands on guitar strings are amazing!
This feminist icon may not be the first person you think of when you think femme guitar rocker, but she’s been playing Beatles covers in local bars with her guitar teacher since the age of nine!
Her guitar playing style is also iconic, represented by what Wikipedia calls a “signature staccato style, rapid fingerpicking, and alternate tunings.”
She’s been called quite a controversy for her song material, but she puts on quite a show.
Check out more of Ava’s writing on the Jemsite guitar blog.