Groundbreaking female guitarists go back all the way to legends Memphis Minnie (Elizabeth ‘Kid’ Douglas) and Sister Rosetta (Rosetta Nubin) who were the symbols for every woman who has picked up a guitar — they were two cultural trailblazers who triumphed through their outrageous talent in a closed society. Sister Rosetta has been described as the "godmother “ of rock 'n' roll for being a great female influence on such luminary male legends as Little Richard and Chuck Berry
Then, at 60s festivals, guitarists like Joan Baez and Melanie showcased their talent. And afterwards, the 70s gave us female guitarists like the Pretender’s Chrissie Hynde, Heart’s Nancy Wilson, and Patti Smith among others. Since then we’ve also seen Joan Jett strutting her female sexuality to the fore in the 80s rock scene and bluesy Bonnie Raitt and her slide master ballads.
Today, female guitarists of all stripes, ethnicities, and styles, continue wielding their axes onstage. From the “six-string siren” blues rocker Diana Rein to the Jimmy Page-esque Gretchen Menn to multi-string-instrumentalist WILDWOOD, these ladies are modern descendants of Sister Rosetta and Memphis Minnie.
And to honor them, Guitar Girl Magazine’s 2018 Calendar features some of the top female guitarists in colorful pictorials with their instruments of choice. The artists include, MonaLisa Twins (cover), WILDWOOD, Malina Moye, Daria Musk, Diana Rein, Debra Devi, Jackie Venson, Eljuri, Lucy LaForge, Gretchen Menn, Guitar Gabby, Vanessa Izabella, Sasha Vallely and Che Zuro (2019 pre-planner). The GGM calendar also features insightful quotes and sound advice from female guitarists like Nancy Wilson, Lisa Loeb, Lita Ford and Jennifer Batten, and also from women business owners, like Tish Ciravolo of Daisy Rock Guitars and Laura Whitmore of the Women’s International Music Network.
One of the featured guitarists, Diana Rein, brings her One-Woman Tour 2018 to Oak Mountain Winery in Temecula (January 7 and February 4), along with gigs at Milagro Winery in Ramona (February 3) and Lorimar Loft also in Temecula (April 7). Rein is excited to be included in this GGM calendar, explaining:
I know what it takes to show up everyday to master your instrument and craft. The challenges and wonders of getting to the next level and the perseverance you must have. I know how obsessed and passionate you have to be to excel at an instrument. I also know that there is always so much more to learn. So I have the highest respect for all these ladies. They are very deserving of being acknowledged and featured in this calendar. This is like the icing on top for the hours and hours that we have put into an instrument that we can’t live without, that gives us an emotional voice when words just aren’t enough. When we play the guitar you truly get to hear our souls.
Born in Romania and raised in Chicago, Rein honed her craft performing solo and band shows all around Chi-town. Now understanding the responsibility of being a model for young female musicians, Rein adds:
It’s so gratifying to see female guitar players show up more and more in the Industry. It truly means that not only are we here and ready, but there is also a demand for us. It’s an absolute privilege to be a role model for little girls all over the world that hear the sound of the guitar and get the impulse to play. It is more than possible to create a career out of something that you love. And what is great about the guitar is that if you put in the time and become one with it, your progress will be undeniable and you will break barriers.
And as for her One-Woman Tour, in which the main tools are her guitars, pedals, looper, drumpad and amps, she enthuses:
This year is all about bringing my fans my show as a one-woman blues rock band. Creating music live on my own is a powerful musical exercise; so pivotal to my growth as a musician. And it’s damn fun! To build a wall of sound and follow my musical impulses wherever they want to take me makes me feel high on life and keeps me going back for more.
MonaLisa Twins, featuring twins Lisa and Mona Wagner, was formed in their native Austria, but their move to Merseyside (Liverpool), one of the key centers for the British pop invasion in the 1960s, inspired them to create pop/rock music that resonates from that great time period — music with a focus on lead and rhythm with a catchy percussive backbeat.
WILDWOOD, a Nashville-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, played all the stringed instruments — Ibanez guitar, violin, and viola — on “Moonrise,” her first single. Her stage name is in honor of the Carter family’s 1928 song “Wildwood Flower.”
Previously named as one of “10 Female Guitarists You Should Know,” Ohio native Malina Moye has played with legendary blues rock guitarists like Pinetop Perkins, David “Honeyboy” Edwards and Hubert Sumlin, and was inspired by Jimi Hendrix, even learning to play guitar upside-down like the late rocker.
Gretchen Menn has been performing Led Zeppelin’s music with the terrific all-girl tribute band Zepparella, since it was formed in San Francisco in 2005. But she’s also carved out a solo career and Guitar Player Magazine once described Gretchen’s solo music as seeking “the unknown by blending disparate jazz, prog, and world-music influences into a tasty, guitaristic thrill ride.”
Rocker Sasha Vallely, aka Sash The Bash, has been playing worldwide for over a decade with bands such as Midnight Larks, Spindrift, The Silver Chords, The Mobsters and The Warlocks, and guested with The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Hives, Portishead, Massive Attack, and Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys along with many others.
Diana Rein and several of these outstanding guitarists will be appearing at the 2018 NAMM Show (January 25-28).