Guitar World Girl Samantha
Have You Ever Been To Electric Ladyland?
The electric guitar is not the instrument of choice for many girls/women looking to express themselves musically. It’s not often you see girls rocking out on stage with an electric guitar or even trying out different axes in music stores – acoustic guitar, bass, keys, woodwind instruments, violin, and other classical instruments to be sure, but electric guitar, rarely.
I’ve heard Slash talk about how he sees his Les Paul with its bell curves and rounded top as he does a women’s body; to be caressed, stroked and played with passion. But I guess, conversely, a woman could see her guitar in a masculine form – no need to go into detail there…
Could it be that rock is traditionally a male dominated scene? Or that the smaller hands of girls make playing the guitar a stretch? That doesn’t stand up – Angus Young is one of the greatest electric guitarists alive and he has tiny hands (that's not a dig at you Angus). Rock guitar calls for an aggressive attack on the instrument at times, but I’ve known plenty of women to express themselves with a certain amount of aggression. There are a plethora of talented female acoustic guitarists out there - Joan Baez, Sheryl Crow, Joni Mitchell, Traci Chapman….but where are the electric ladies?
I have put together a list of 10 hot female guitar players, which may sound a little sexist, but I do find a woman who can command her ax pretty darn sexy. This is of course a very subjective list and there’s no expectation that others will agree. Also, the women on this list aren’t necessarily the most competent players in the girl’s arena of electric guitar, nor necessarily still in the limelight. I just find them interesting. I welcome any comments with your own personal choices.
Sexy Women Who Play Electric Guitar
Ten Hot Female Guitar Players
So here they are in no particular order:
1. Kelley Deal
Born in 1961, Kelley has played in the Breeders, The Amps and The Kelley Deal 6000 and performed duets with Kris Kristofferson and Supersuckers. She is the twin sister of Kim Deal, the bassist for the Breeders and the Pixies. Kelley was thrown in the deep end without really knowing how to play when she joined the Breeders in 1992 for the Safari EP, getting a crash course in the bands songs from her sister. For those who think it is too late to learn guitar, Kelley was already 30 when she started to play. A high point for the band she says was opening for Nirvana in 1994. Kelley plays a Gibson Les Paul Deluxe and occasionally Fender Strats and Jaguars.
Kelley has had her addictions and convictions, but is a survivor and turned to knitting as a distraction in order to stay sober and sells her knitted bags on her website. She even wrote a book about her knitting designs; Bags That Rock: Knitting on the Road with Kelley Deal
2. Orianthi Panagaris
Born in Adelaide, Australia in 1985, Orianthi (named by her Greek grandmother) is a singer, songwriter and killer guitarist. In fact, Carlos Santana said, “If I was going to pass the baton to someone, she would be my first choice.” She started young, heck she’s still young – her dad handed her a guitar when she was 6 and by 11 she had gone electric. By 14 she was playing in bands and began writing songs the next year, starting her professional career as a musician.Orianthi studied the playing style of Jimi Hendrix -attached to this article is a smokin’ rendition of Voodoo Child (Slight Return).
When she was just 18 she jammed with Carlos Santana during a sound check at a concert in Adelaide in 2003 and was invited to perform on stage with him that night. Inspired by watching her on Youtube videos, the late Michael Jackson asked her to play on his comeback tour after meeting her for rehearsals. She played the solo to 'Beat It' for him and he was sold. She’s also played with Steve Vai and this year she opened for Adam Lambert on the Glam Nation Tour. She’s into 80s style rock and big, long solos, but hey she knows what she wants! She plays Paul Reed Smith guitars.
3. Juliana Hatfield
Born in 1967, Juliana has played in alternative rock bands, The Blake Babies, The Juliana Hatfield Three, and Solo and has worked with (and played around with) fellow Bostonian, Evan Dando of the Lemonheads. She was introduced to the LA punk scene by her babysitter and at the same time loved The Police and even Olivia Newton-John. This strange cocktail of affections comes through in her music which has ranged from sweet, melodic pop to hard rock. She is most often found playing a Les Paul Standard or an SG.
4. Joan Jett
Born in 1958, Joan Jett is the archetypal rock chick. American singer, songwriter, and guitarist she is best known for her band, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Her first band was The Runaways in which she played rhythm guitar, sang and wrote or co-wrote most of the songs.
In 1979, she recorded with Paul Cook and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols, covering a song by The Arrows called ‘I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’ which became a rock anthem for her as predicted by her manager. The song was re-recorded in 1982 with her new band, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 for seven weeks. A steady streams of songs followed making it into the top 40 and her band enjoyed sell out tours with Queen, The Police, and Aerosmith. Her band released eight albums with ‘Up Your Alley’ going multi-platinum in 1988. Joan has also made film, stage and TV appearances and was executive producer for 'The Runaways', a film that chronicled the bands career. Joan’s chosen ax is a Gibson Les Paul.
5. Miki Berenyi
I have always found that Eurasian women have a special appeal and half Japanese, half Hungarian, Miki, plus guitar is very hot. From London and born in 1967, Miki, formed a friendship with Emma Andeson who was to become her future bandmate in ‘The Bugs’. In 1988 she joined the band “Lush’ which produced several albums and toured Australia, North America, UK and Japan. Lush broke up when the drummer killed himself.
She now works as a magazine editor and says of her days in Lush,"I miss the excitement and energy of playing live and the camaraderie of touring – being with the band and crew in a foreign country is like going on holiday with your mates but even more fun because it’s free. I enjoyed being in the band immensely, I’m glad I did it." Miki played an Epiphone Riviera and a Gibson Firebird.
Miki left behind a loyal fan base that started to campaign for a comeback, to which she comically responded, “I guess it’s flattering that anybody gives a shit. Not sure how enthusiastic the support would be if they realized that bringing back Miki Berenyi would deliver a 40-year-old office employee with graying hair who's still struggling to shift the weight from her last pregnancy."
6. Lita Ford
Born Septmeber, 1958, Lita was lead guitarist in the Runaways, with Joan Jett. Apparently the band split because Jett and bassist, Vicki Blue wanted to go more glam rock while Ford and drummer West were more into hard rock/metal. When the band split Lita released solo efforts, ‘Out for Blood’ which didn’t make the charts. Her next effort did a little better with the single, ‘Fire in My Heart, making top ten in several countries.
‘Gotta Let Go’, Ford’s next single was a mainstream success, reaching number one. Trouble with her label cast a shadow over the next four years but in 1988 she re-emerged with Sharon Osbourne to manage her and released a solo album, Lita, which had four commercial hits. Two more albums followed and then Ford went on to happily marry and have a family.
She began a 2009 tour with a new lineup in the US and Europe and released ‘Wicked Wonderland’ in the same year. Lita uses B.C Rich guitars including a Warlock. She is featured alongside Jett in the Guitar Hero II, Xbox 360 game.
7. Ruyter Suys
Pronounced 'Rider Sighs' she was voted one of the world's best female guitarists by Elle Magazine. She wails on a cherry red SG with the neck pickup ripped out in hard rock/psychobilly band, Nashville Pussy. Ruyter plays alongside her husband, Blaine Cartwright and their shows are high energy, gutsy affairs. I noticed that there is a comment left about her on one of their Youtube videos by a guy who claims she helped him avoid getting thrown out of an after party by security because he wasn't on the list. He says, " she held my hand and pushed him out of the way and took me up to VIP with her, and had some cocktails. She is the nicest, most humble women." Check out the video below to see just how hard this women rocks out!
8. Brody Dalle
Dalle started playing guitar at 13 after discovering Nirvana and Hole and later played in a Melbourne feminist collective called Rock’n Roll High School. She was just 16 when she played in the band Sourpuss, scoring a set at Australia’s Summersault Festival where she met and fell for Tim Armstrong from punk rock band, Rancid. Dalle was engaged to Armstrong at 18 and moved to LA where she founded the Distillers. Their debut album was released in 2000 with favorable reviews. Other releases include Sing Sing Death House and Coral Fang, with the entire lineup having changed except for Dalle . After the Distillers broke up she worked with Alain Johannes of Eleven releasing Ghetto Love. Other projects have included singing on Lullabies to Paralyze by Queens of the Stone Ages and her second husband’s ‘Bargain Healers'. Dalle has had seven surnames and takes the name Dalle from the name of her favorite actress, Beatrice Dalle, known for Betty Blue.
9. Nancy Wilson
Nancy Wilson, born March 16, 1954, played solo gigs in Seattle until joining her sister, Ann, in Canada to play in Heart. While her sister was lead vocalist, Nancy also sang on Heart songs as well as playing lead and rhythm guitar. Her solo album, Live at McCabe's Guitar Shop was released in 1999 and later released “Baby Guitars” as an EP. More recently she performed in We are the World 25 for Haiti and joined her sister in Pandora’s, “Moms Who Rock”. She’s played a number of different axes and is seen here playing a Les Paul sunburst fitted with a Bigsby tremolo.
10. Alison Robertson
Now 31, Alison is daughter of musician, Baxter Robertson, who wrote “Feel the Night” featured on the Karate Kid soundtrack. She grew up in North Hollywood and was teased at school for here taste in music which centered on hard rock and metal. The family moved to Palo Alto, California, where she met her future bandmates - Brett Anderson in 7th grade, Maya Ford in 5th grade and Torry Castellano in 4th grade. Alison got her first guitar at 12 – a MIM Fender Telecaster, which was replaced later with a Gibson Les Paul. They called themselves The Donnas and started touring straight out of school. Alison also plays in band, Elle Rae, with her sister – the name of the band was formed from their combined names. In 2007 she played lead for Loudlion and joined with Corey Parks of Nashville Pussy, Samantha Maloney of Motley Crue and Hole as well as former Playboy model, ‘Tuesdae’ to form Chelsea Girls who were offered a regular spot at LA club, The Roxy Theatre. Alison plugs straight into a Marshall from her LP, preferring to keep the signal chain as short as possible for a pure tube driven tone.
11. Jennifer Batten
Jennifer Batten, born 1957 is probably best known for her work with the late Michael Jackson. She played lead and rhythm guitar on Bad, Dangerous, and HIStory world tours as well as the half-time performance at the ’93 Super Bowl. Batten has worked as a session muso and solo artist since 1980 and has recorded with Jeff Beck, Michael Sembello, and Natalie Cole. Batten has released three solo albums. She plays Washburn guitars now after switching from Ibanez about which she commented that she found the necks unreliable. “I now use an MG 100 plus a MG 103. One is swamp ash body and the other maple top on mahogany. Seymour Duncan hot rails in bridge and hot stacks on the other two positions. I use Dean Markley 9-46 Blue Steele strings."
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Orianthi Panagaris Plays Voodoo Child
Holley Rich Coleman from New Orleans, LA on July 06, 2017:
I love that you included LITA FORD! I have adored her since the RUNAWAYS
BUD on November 22, 2013:
All I can say is that Orianthi an Awesome Guitarist!!!...I'd Love to be The drummer for her band!...Plus she's YUMMERS!......and im in love with her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
C. Van Herrin from Southeast USA on July 15, 2011:
Carina Alfie. YouTube. Amazing.
But Nancy Wilson is #1 to me.
TheMonk from Brazil on June 30, 2011:
I watched the film This Is It and MJ's guitarist, Orianthi is the best there. I like particularly the manner he have fun playing the music notes vocally and she is transposing them into the guitar, soloing over them.
George on June 30, 2011:
Miki Berenyl played an Epiphone Riviera, not a Gibson ES-335. Same Shape, different guitar.
Danietl from Porter, Maine on April 22, 2011:
Gee your list looks a lot like mine. lol
alex alaska p on March 13, 2011:
miki berenyi looks really different in that shot. was that pre- Lush or ?
Scott M (author) on February 27, 2011:
Jenifer Batten should definitely be in there as should jazz great Emily Remler- will make the update today! Thanks
Slash on February 27, 2011:
How bout jenifer batten
Jon Green from Frome, Somerset, UK on February 17, 2011:
Emily Remler was great ...also Jennifer Batten, probably the best-ever rock girl guitarist,she used to play for Michael Jackson and I saw her live at a Trade show. An excellent player,appreciated by Jeff Beck.
Scott M (author) on January 23, 2011:
Updates will be made today -thanks for all the contributions!Keep'm coming if you have more.
Scott M (author) on January 23, 2011:
Fair cop - Nancy takes number nine, number nine, number nine, number nine....and thanks Drew - Allison Robertson finishes the article at number 10 - happy to extend the number if anyone else out there wants to put their two cents in.
Drew on January 23, 2011:
Allison Robertson from The Donnas
Allieboy on January 23, 2011:
Nancy Wilson? Duh ...
Scott M (author) on January 23, 2011:
Good call ttrash - will get onto to updating the eighth position very soon. Thanks for the suggestion!
ttrash from Australia on December 02, 2010:
Scott M (author) on September 23, 2010:
Hey Johnnie - just added Lita - she was on my list but I ran out of puff - four more to go - any personal preferences?
Johnnie Black on September 22, 2010:
What about Lita Ford?