As we celebrate International Women’s Day (and Women's History Month), it is important to recognize the absolutely essential contributions that women have made to the world of music.
Unfortunately, when it comes to guitar playing, women have often been overlooked and underestimated. Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 best guitarists of all time includes only two women. The first one is Joni Mitchell, coming in at number #75. Then we have Bonnie Raitt at #89. But how can this be? Are there not enough female guitarists? Are women not talented?
Absolutely not! We know that there are many, many more talented female guitar players out there. At Loog Guitars, we are proud to have 50% of our players be girls. And Fender says the same thing about their sales right here in this study.
Let's do the math, shall we? If this list were representative of guitar players, only 2% of guitar players should be female. The remaining 98% would be men. Which makes... absolutely no sense.
So what’s happening here? Back in the day, women were often heckled and abused at live shows, so it’s easy to see why they’d give up. However, they didn’t. Absolute legends still prevailed, and it’s not like we’re talking about some anonymous women here. Joan Jett? Melissa Etheridge? Patti freakin’ Smith? Any one of those ring a bell? It’s not like talented women just magically appeared out of nowhere. They’ve been rockin’ out for decades, despite all the haters and naysayers. And in this post, we’ll be highlighting some of the female guitar players that have been overlooked by traditional lists, and we think deserve more recognition.
SISTER ROSETTA THARPE
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Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a pioneer of rock and roll, and her innovative guitar strumming inspired countless musicians, including Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and Little Richard. She started playing guitar in church at a young age, and her gospel-infused music combined blues, jazz, and rock. Despite facing discrimination as a black woman in the 1940s and 50s, she continued to perform and inspire others with her music.
Joan Jett is often referred to as the “Godmother of Punk”, and for good reason. She helped pave the way for women in rock music in the 1970s, and her hit song “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” remains an anthem to this day. Her raw, powerful guitar playing inspired a generation of female musicians and proved that women could rock just as hard as the guys.
Melissa Etheridge is another trailblazing female guitar player, known for her powerful voice and soulful guitar playing. She has sold millions of records and won numerous awards, including a Grammy for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance. Her music has touched the lives of countless fans, and she continues to inspire others with her talent and passion.
Tracy Chapman’s music is characterized by her soulful voice and her acoustic guitar playing. Her songs often tackle important social issues, and her music has resonated with audiences around the world. Her debut album, which included the hit song “Fast Car”, earned her multiple Grammy Awards and critical acclaim.
St. Vincent, also known as Annie Clark, is a multi-talented musician, singer, and songwriter. Her guitar playing is known for its intricate, innovative style, and she has been praised by critics and fans alike for her unique sound. She has won multiple Grammy Awards and continues to push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of rock.
MORE AND MORE GIRLS ARE PICKING UP GUITARS
These are just a few examples of the incredible female guitar players who have been overlooked by traditional lists. Luckily, many more girls are now picking up guitars due to role models such as Taylor Swift, Avril Lavigne or Lzzy Hale. It is VERY important to keep inspiring young girls and showing them what they're capable of! And of course, giving credit where credit is due, and recognizing the contributions of countless women who have been overlooked throughout history.
As a tribute, we made a special, limited edition Loog poster featuring 12 amazing women in music, most of them absolute awesome guitar players. Perfect to inspire the rockstar girl in your life, everyday! Check it out right here.
Loog Guitars is proud to have 50% of our players be girls, and we hope to continue to inspire and empower girls and women around the world. Here’s to a more inclusive future in rock music, where women are recognized for their incredible talent, passion and musicianship.