The guitar has always been seen as a masculine instrument. As a female guitarist myself, it often comes off as a surprise to people when I say I play guitar.
“That’s cute!” they say. “Do you sing too?”
Let’s face it: the rock world is overridden with male guitarists. Throw in a girl in there and she’ll be seen as a novelty.
That’s why when St. Vincent says she’s designed a guitar for the female body, I’m thinking, “Where has this been all this time?”
Indie-rocker Annie Clark–who uses the moniker St. Vincent–has built a guitar that’s lighter, slimmer and fits the female body (and breast) better than most commercial models.
“If you have a great instrument you’re going to play better,” she tells Guitar World.
The Grammy-award winning artist, deemed as “the smartest indie-rocker of her generation” by Rolling Stone in 2014, teamed up with the Ernie Ball team to design her new signature Ernie Ball Music Man model, featuring a slimmer waist, retro feel and instant playable feeling.
“I can’t even play a Sixties Strat or Seventies Les Paul,” Vincent tells Guitar World. “I would need to travel with a chiropractor on tour in order to play those guitars. It’s not that those aren’t great guitars, but they render themselves impractical and unfunctional for a person like me because of their weight.”
Whenever I pick up an instrument, a big part that goes into deciding if it’s for me is how it feels on my body. Some guitars can feel clunky, heavy or make me feel as if I’m quipping a barrel.
This sleek model that Vincent has designed herself is gorgeous. It’s simple, suited to the musician’s playing style with just one tone knob, one volume knob and three mini-humbuckers for ease and tonal flexibility. It’s also made from African mahogany with a rosewood neck, featuring colors in black and Vincent Blue–a shade mixed by Vincent herself.
A guitar made for women by a woman is quite a feat in the music world.
With Vincent’s new guitar model, she’s saying that all girls should be able to comfortably rip, shred and truly connect with their guitar and not let the model get in the way.
“A guitar can be so many things,” Vincent says in her making-of video. “For me, in my life, it’s been a shield, it’s been a weapon and a vehicle by which I’ve gotten to have an incredible artistic and emotional life.”
I’ve always felt that the guitar has such a vibrant and feminine soul. So when girls (like I once did), want to learn a tune by one of their favorite guitar heroes, here’s to hoping they can have the “keys to the kingdom,” too, with a model that calls out to them.
Update 6/10/2016: And while I feel that any great guitar player can play well on any guitar, it’s not often that a guitar model that specifically calls out for and built for the female body is made. Nothing about its playability should be different, but it’s awesome that a woman can make her own guitar and call it her own too, as apart from the male-rendered models out there.