Women and the guitar.

AgrippaAgrippa Posts: 5,926
edited December 1969 in Off topic/NON-DINO Music Area
This a big subject, but I still find it both relevant and important.
I now the conclusion beforehand too; who cares as long as the playing and music is great ?

However.
When I started getting serious about playing the electric guitar, some 30 years ago there were very few women who played serious guitar. With serious I mean, with serious chops.
Sure Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Aaron something played guitar, but to me it seemed like a prop.
There were Emily Remler, who was a monster Jazz Guitarist and there were Sharon Ishbin and Liona Boyd.
Today just about every new classical guitarist I find interesting are women, Gretchen Mann was the first guitarist I became a fan of that also was a woman.
Yes, We have bands like Iron Maidens and Zepparella, where the gender is more or less the novelty, but are women today really entering the realm of guitar playing on "equal" terms ?
I think so, there are so many young women posting very chops heavy youtube videos.
And I think Jennifer Batten playing with Michael Jackson and Jeff Beck helped pave a path for other female guitarists.
It seems like Alice Cooper insists on having a female guitarist these days, having replaced Orianthi with Nita Strauss.
Or WAS Nita Strauss the best he could find, regardless of gender ? I hope so, but I don' t believe so.

I welcome it (more female guitar players). Personally I only know two female guitarists ( I can't even count how many of my male friends that plays or have played guitar), a competent classical guitarist and a monster Jazz fusion Guitarist that worships Scofield and Scott Henderson.

Guitar playing is fun and of course also for girls, as this clip shows:

What are your thoughts ?
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Comments

  • Dinosaur David BDinosaur David B Posts: 17,748
    You have Nancy Wilson and Orianthi also, who can play rings around most guys. Bonnie Rait before that. I'm sure there are others too.

    As you say, I too welcome more great players, female or otherwise. The first problem is that guitarist-driven music is not very popular these days. So culturally, we're not just producing many great guitarists of either genre because there is very little demand. So unless a girl is really super-driven to become a great player -- like  Orianthi -- why would they bother putting in the time it takes to become great? Especially if they can forge a career just as easily by selling their ass. 


    The larger problem for women guitarists (AND women in music in general), has always been the rampant sexism.  If you think it's tough trying to play music for a living as a man, it's 10 times worse for a woman. They are woking in a male-dominated, EXTREMELY sexist, chauvinistic genre.  If they're gonna play in that arena, they are told, and/or realize it themselves, that they have to be eye-candy, and sex it up -- just to get people's attention

    And that's if they just want to strap on an acoustic and be Jewel! You say you want to be a lead guitarist?!!!  That's a prowess-driven area, little lady. You have to swing a pretty big cock to play with those men. And I'm not done looking at your cans yet. And, one could easily argue that as good as Orianthi is, it is likely her looks at least played a role in her success. Are we to believe that Michael Jackson auditioned NO male guitarists who were better than her? And if they can really play, then they have to hear "you're pretty good for a girl." I don't know how Lita Ford kept from killing people when she heard that.

    So it's a double-edge sword for the ladies. The can trade on their looks to get quick attention. The problem is that the minute they do that, it's harder for them to be taken seriously as serious musicians.  For every great female musical talent, there are a hundred talentless hacks like Rihannas and pop tarts that have careers by selling their asses.

    Amy (who knows a little about this subject) wrote a truly great article on the state of women in music recently.
    http://nullset.me/post/69180091090/flesh-up-or-die-pop-stars-are-the-new-porn-stars
    In the midst of the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament.
  • AgrippaAgrippa Posts: 5,926
    Good points, as always, Dave. And great article Amy wrote there.

    It touches on a subject I find very interesting, the way porn influences mainstream culture, including music, and when porn changes so does the mainstream culture eventually, and with the internet porn surely HAS changed, and when our culture changes, our view on women in culture, in casu female guitarists, may change, and finally our view and opinions on how women in general should behave, look, act and dress changes.
    Of course nothing is really as straight forward as I describe, but the lines are there, and the influence is there, and it is real.

    I've just finished Gail Dines book Pornland, and it discusses this subject in depth.
    I recommend that book.

    image
  • Seven MoonsSeven Moons Posts: 8,772
    Well, when Alice Cooper decides to hire the easy-on-the-eyes Nita Strauss to replace the easy-on-the-eyes Orianthi, there's certainly more than a simple matter of chops. So, it can be regarded as just a form of old sexist catering on eye candy. Similar things can be said about Arch Enemy's decision to hire Alissa White-Gluz to replace Angela Gossow.

    However, I tend to see it from a more positive perspective. It's a fairly new phenomenon. All these ladies are extremely competent and can serve as an inspiration for a next generation of aspiring female musicians who don't think of being used as a mere stage prop, but won't either deny their femininess to gain some street/rock credibility. If I was a teenage girl (a long stretch of the imagination, I know), I'd certainly feel inspired by someone like Gretchen Menn. 

    But sure, these ladies are walking on a tight rope. When Nita Strauss shoots photos like these ones:

    [img height=350]http://www.hardforce.fr/img/uploads/Posts/2014/06/NITA_STRAUSS_AND_AMPS.jpg[/img] [img height=350]http://37.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lllrs9ngKF1qdksepo1_500.jpg[/img]

    she gets herself somewhat trapped in a centerfold persona IMO (fortunately, she was good enough to escape). 

    Anyway, at the end of the day, I think there could be an even bigger wave of talented female musicians in metal bands, and this would be the best cure against sexism.

    ---
    On a side note, Lita Ford and Joan Jett have been mentioned, but the only lady I would rate as a true metal player in the early '80s was the late Kelly Johnson. She had more balls in her playing and guitar tone than a lot of men.

    image
  • Mike_HMike_H Posts: 769
    I will second Kelly Johnson.

    Some of the female guitar players I have been listening to lately are more on the blues side of things, Carolyn Wonderland, Joanne Shaw Taylor, and Ana Popovic are all excellent players.

    There is a machismo aspect to hard rock/metal that has probably made it harder for girls, they tend to be rather objectified in that arena. Shame really because there could have been some excellent players out there.

    I saw Orianthi with Alice Cooper a few years back when they opened for Iron Maiden. She was very good. Nothing 'unique' but a very steady, melodic player with good chops and good stage presence, I thought she worked really well in that band. There were 2 other guitarists in the band as well, but she was the centre of attention though, and not just for looks.
  • Dr NickDr Nick Posts: 3,605
    Don't forget Lori Linstruth.



    No idea what she's up to these days, but she's a phenomenal guitarist.
  • DonthegreekDonthegreek Posts: 2,770
    Don't forget Lori Linstruth.



    No idea what she's up to these days, but she's a phenomenal guitarist.

    :offtopic:

    Last I read about Lori, her guitar playing is sort of on hold, except for the occasional solo on her partner's musical projects.

    She currently resides in the Netherlands where she lives with her partner and musical collaborator Arjen Lucassen. She is also his manager.

    Linstruth is the manager of Lucassen, the webmaster of his official website, a member of his band Guilt Machine (she wrote all the lyrics of their first album On This Perfect Day) and a former member of his former band Stream of Passion. She also co-wrote all the lyrics of Ayreon album The Theory of Everything, again with Lucassen.

    In 2010, Linstruth announced on her blog she was taking a "guitar sabbatical" to focus on other pursuits, such as dog-training, citing a loss of enthusiasm.
  • whoopass1whoopass1 Posts: 1,395
    And watch out for THIS Girl, Tina S! She is INCREDIBLE! And she's just getting started.....



  • Duojett71Duojett71 Posts: 9,452
    People mention Lita Ford in the same sentence as Joan Jett as far as guitar playing goes. I have a lot respect for Joan Jett. Very cool artist and very cool songwriter.....but just a basic rhythm guitar player. Lita Ford however could play. She was a ballsy player in her own right. Nothing amazing....but still good. Easily as good as Kelly Johnson(who reminded me of "Fast" Eddie Clarke). I also think Lita Ford and Nancy Wilson kind of opened the doors a little for women realizing they could play serious rock guitar. It's still not that prevalent but.....it's much more common than it used to me.
  • mr_crowleymr_crowley Posts: 6,614
    [quote author=whoopass1 link=topic=16519.msg250050#msg250050 date=1403492627]
    And watch out for THIS Girl, Tina S! She is INCREDIBLE! And she's just getting started.....




    [/quote]

    Holy hell, she's incredible! :eek:

    Check out this cover of The Loner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e9AyDXx19Q

    Let's hope she can grow into fully fledged guitar hero. That would be super cool.
    As for female guitar players. I think as for the rest of the society - we still ain't the point where it is equal but we are getting there and I think for every generation the evolution will go faster. I don't know anyone my age who thinks it's weird if a girl play in a rock band - it's all cool :up:
  • Jay GJay G Posts: 2,675
    Check out a woman named Jaye Foucher.  She is quite a competent shredder.  Also not rock but one of my favorite female guitar players has always been Dolly Parton.
  • iGougeriGouger Posts: 283
    Just my two cents: I think it's cool if anyone, regardless of gender, wants to pick up the guitar or any instrument and play truly good music, an art which has been dying out. If the player happens to be female, then great! But I'm not going to draw any attention to it or purchase the music simply on the basis that she's female. The music should come first. I think it'd be cool if society could overlook the gender issue, but I'll echo the sentiments already expressed and say it's difficult because society's already so entrenched in the sexist, image-driven mindset.
  • eduardoritoseduardoritos Posts: 3,593
    I think the problem with women are (as in other bussyness) maternity. Building a career is a long term investment of time and money for a record/management company, and they can thing that a women could tend to stop some time in the best moment of a rock musician the 25-35 years.

    In the sexist side... I think Alice C. has experience in the other way, to:
    image
  • SkyeSkye Posts: 1,661
    [quote author=Jay G link=topic=16519.msg250081#msg250081 date=1403548952]
    Check out a woman named Jaye Foucher.  She is quite a competent shredder.   Also not rock but one of my favorite female guitar players has always been Dolly Parton.
    [/quote]

    Haven't heard that name in years. I corresponded and traded tapes back and forth with her in the 80's after she was in Spotlight.

    Great player.
  • Dr NickDr Nick Posts: 3,605
    Haven't heard that name in years. I corresponded and traded tapes back and forth with her in the 80's after she was in Spotlight.

    Great player.
    Never thought of Dolly Parton as a shredder...

    :biggrin2:
  • SkyeSkye Posts: 1,661
    [quote author=Dr Nick link=topic=16519.msg250200#msg250200 date=1403786394]
    Haven't heard that name in years. I corresponded and traded tapes back and forth with her in the 80's after she was in Spotlight.

    Great player.
    Never thought of Dolly Parton as a shredder...

    :biggrin2:
    [/quote]

    I'll avoid the obvious boob joke here and just say I meant Jaye Foucher.  :chuckle:
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