Top 10 Female Guitarist
Talented innovative or just plain entertaining these Guitarist of the female variety know how to get the party rolling.
Here is Watchmojo’s count down and picks for the TOP TEN female guitarists of all time.
These female guitarists were picked based on a mixture of innovative talent, notoriety, and public esteem.
They don’t necessarily have to be virtuosos or the best guitar players ever but they’re certainly known for possessing some skill on the instrument.
Before you begin the list, might we encourage you that you don’t have to be boyish, hard, soft, a tom-boy, gay, lesbian, less or more feminine to play guitar.
Guitar is simply an unbiased instrument all by itself. It’s beautiful. It’s powerful. And ANY ONE of ANY sex, any age, any color, any creed, any history, any background, any ethnicity, any country can willed that power if they put in “The Work.” Start Shredding my friends.
The list Watchmojo’s Top 10 Female Guitarist is as follows… Starting with …
Number Ten (10)
Annie Clark has made a name for herself as a source of unshakable and buzz filled hooks. She was raised in Dallas Texas on bands like Pavement and Pink Floyd. She also draws on… yes Led Zeppelin and Sonic Youth. Annie was a Berklee College of Music dropout. Clark was a self-styled jazzy finger picker. Before joining coral rock band The Polyphonic Spree she was jazzy. Noted for her unique approach, as a song writer…Clark has said that she writes many of her songs while trying to fall asleep.
Number Nine (9)
Mother Maybelle Carter
While not as well known today as Johnny Cash (her son-in-law)… Maybelle Carter’s contribution to the art of guitar should not be overlooked. Using a large body Gibson l5 guitar Carter pioneered a thumb and finger picking style known as Carter family picking or the Carter scratch. She used her thumb to pluck out bass and melody lines. Carter would simultaneously strum the treble strings with her finger. This style of playing later became the basis for Bill Monroe’s bluegrass style and helped establish the guitar as a lead instrument.
Number Eight (8)
Although she began playing guitar at age four… Kaki King switched to drums at an early age and did not return to the guitar until she was 19. King more than made up for lost time and has developed a unique blend of flamenco percussion fret tapping, fanning, and bass style slaps on both conventional and unconventional guitars. Known for her use of altered tunings, King is also noted for playing her guitar koto hybrid instrument. King will insert a second bridge saddle under the strings which creates two sets of notes and mind-blowing results.
Number Seven (7)
As a slack tuning innovator and writer of the classics. both sides now Joni Mitchell may be foggy but don’t call her folk music. Although Joni’s career grew out of the 60s folk scene and she quite literally learned from the Pete Seeger book of guitar playing. Joni Mitchell happily went electric in the late 70s and typically recorded with jazz based musicians. No one else was willing to give her the sound she wanted. With a scant handful of songs and standard tuning, Joni uses or developed 51 different guitar tunings which today she accesses through a Roland vg8 guitar processor.
Number Six (6)
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
If you were gonna give rock-and-roll another name you might call it Rosetta Tharpe. She was a rocker before Rock existed. Her dark blended folk blues and gospel sound was a major influence on Little Richard (Macon, GA), Elvis (Tupelo, MS), and Chuck Berry (St. Louis, MO). Her recording of “Strange Things Happening Everyday” was a rocker and reached the second spot of what is now known as the Billboard R&B charts in 1944. In 1947 Thorpe switched to electric guitars mostly from Gibson. She is even rumored to have been buried with her 1961 Les Paul SG custom made guitar.
Number Five (5)
Appearing to come out of nowhere this Wonder from Australia Down Under is one of the leading names in hired hands. Orianthi was playing guitar with Carrie Underwood when she was drafted by Michael Jackson for what would have been his final tour entitled “This Is It.” In addition to her own revered solo career… Orianthi has played with Alice Cooper, Michael Bolton, James Durbin, and Dave Stewart of the Arrhythmias. WOW… that’s everything from POP, Soft Rock, to Heavy Metal! Formerly a classical guitarist she switched to lead-blues-based-rock-guitar at age 11. This was after Orianthi after saw Carlos Santana in concert. And you can see she hasn’t looked back.
Number Four (4)
Bonnie Raitt’s plans to be a folk singer fizzled out soon after the redhead discovered slide or bottleneck guitar. Bonnie’s slide stylings rate typically plays in open a or open G tuning and has a preference for glass slides. Originally, Bonnie used actual bottles to play. While Raitt does use acoustic guitars on occasion, she prefers electric guitars for their increased sustain and expressiveness. Long associated with her Fender Strat brownie, she has since been honored by the company with a signature model becoming the first female artist to have one.
Number Three (3)
A rock star in her teens Joan Jett made her name by doing just what the establishment said she couldn’t do rock beginning her career with the runaways jet co-wrote the band’s signature track cherry bombs and eventually took over vocal duties when singer cherry curry left the group. Following the band’s breakup Jeff recorded a solo album but was rejected by 23 different labels so she started her own still active today with the Blackhearts jet is a cult icon in rock and punk and still plays her signature Gibson melody maker guitars at crotch level
Number Two (2)
Although no slouch at playing electric it was Nancy Wilson’s mission when she joined her sister and band heart to add more acoustic guitars to the group with results like the timeless and wrote to crazy on you you could argue with her Wilson’s role as guitarist in the group continued to grow however her playing really came to the forefront when guitarist Roger Fisher left the group a vacancy she had no trouble filling before we unveil our top pick here are a few honorable mentions
Number One (1)
Like Joan Jett, Lita Ford first rose to fame in The Runaways. That being said, Joan followed a more Punk direction while Lita went down a harder rockier path. Lita Ford was once engaged to Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi. After having recorded with frontman Ozzy Osbourne, Ford wears heavy metal like a bat. Lita is uninterested in guitar effects so she uses a basic rig of a bc rich warlock plugged into a Marshall stack firing off thick crunchy rhythm parts and tears into leads with abandoned.
Do you agree with WatchMojo’s list?
Are you a teenage girl, young lady, adult woman, sister, other, or mother who wants to play guitar?
Or do you already play BUT, want to get even better?
Don’t give up on yourself or your dream of playing guitar.