Last week, we took a look at the “Best Modern Female Blues Musicians” celebrating the top women in the genre. These are women who are making a splash in the blues scene and poised to make a significant impact in the years to come. You definitely should check these ladies out!
This week, we are switching gears ever so slightly to the realm of rock and completely tearing up the idea and assumption that women can’t kick ass with the rest of them! Making a name for yourself in any male-dominate area is difficult, but these ladies are always up for the challenge. These stellar guitarists are among the most fearless and technically proficient shredders out there and deserve attention, respect, and admiration.
Now, without further ado, let’s meet some of the best female guitarists in rock!
Orianthi Panagaris is one badass and dangerous chick. Hailing from Australia, she found an interest in music at a young age and by 15 started her professional career. Through her travels, she has appeared in Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Music Festival and even opened for Steve Vai. Her real recognition as a powerhouse shredding guitarist came in 2009 when she performed in the Grammy Awards as Carrie Underwood’s guitarist. Soon after, she was hired by Michael Jackson whom she played with until his death, and was given the “breakthrough guitarist of the year award” in 2010. Keep your eye on Orianthi as she continues to burn up the scene.
Joan Marie Larkin, known better as Joan Jett has been in the spotlight since she was 16 years old and fronted the all-girl glam rock band The Runaways. By 1979, the band had broken up and Jett went on to form her band Joan Jett and the Blackhearts which produced many hit songs like “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” and “Bad Reputation.” The “Queen of Rock N’ Roll” is still a bad ass in the music scene and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2015.
When Nita Strauss is playing, it’s best not to get too close to the stage so you don’t get your face melted off. Strauss is best known as a guitarist in the all-women Iron Maiden tribute band The Iron Maidens. In 2014, she replaced fellow shredder Orianthi as the lead guitarist in shock-rock legend Alice Cooper’s band where she still is today. Already being cited as Guitar World’s top Female Guitar Player you should know, Strauss is getting well-deserved recognition for her extraordinary talents.
Nancy and her older sister Ann had an unwavering passion and love for music and were destined for great things even at a young age. In 1974, after being ‘tested’ by the male members of the band, Nancy officially joined Heart on guitar with Ann on lead vocals. Wilson’s top-notch acoustic, folk, and hard rock guitar chops are a main ingredient to Heart’s overwhelming international success over the past forty-three years and she still remains as one of the best guitarists in rock.
Outlining everything this sensational musician has done throughout her entire career would take way too long! After playing in several bands with styles ranging from jazz to hard rock, Batten was offered the position of Michael Jackson’s lead guitarist, over a selection of over 100 other players. She appeared in all three of Jackson’s world tours and performed with blues guitarist Jeff Beck from 1999-2001. Jennifer Batten is a must-know guitarist!
Ford is one of the leading ladies of glam rock and took the music world by storm and surprise when she began melting faces in 1975 at age 16. She originally was the lead guitarist of The Runaways with fellow rocker Joan Jett and her screaming powerful licks became synonymous with the sound of the band. Throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, Ford performed and recorded with many great artists like Nikki Sixx, Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, and had a successful solo career as well. After over a 10-year hiatus from music, Ford returned to the stage and studio in 2008 and has been mildly active ever since.
With amazing rock, blues, and soul chops on the guitar, it is no surprise that Guitar World Magazine mentioned Moye as “one of the top ten female guitarists in the world to know.” Ever since she exploded on the scene in 2004, she has been a feature performer on a few documentaries, award shows, and various tribute concerts. Fender also recognizes Malina as “one of their first African-American lefty upside-down female” guitar players. She is stunning fans in more ways than one.
Monica from Friends is tearing it up! Just kidding. This Courtney Cox, along with band mate Nita Strauss, is a full-fledged shredding metal player in The Iron Maidens as well as the glam group Femme Fatale. At only 28 years old, we can expect a lot more from this talented rocker.
Allison Robertson is the commanding lead guitarist of the female rock group The Donnas. The band began in 1993 and draw on inspirations from The Runaways, the Ramones, and Kiss. Unfortunately, the band has been on a hiatus since 2012 and there is no word of their return. Hopefully they get back to it real soon!
It’s difficult to pronounce her last name, but it isn’t hard to see why Jan Kuehnemund was considered one of the leading ladies of the 80’s metal scene. She founded the all-women metal group Vixen in 1973, which has gone through several periods of hiatus but return to the spot light from time to time. After a 10-year battle with cancer, Jan sadly passed away in October of 2013.