Eight Amazing Female Acoustic Players
From bluegrass to acoustic metal, these players unquestionable chops shine.
As a simple strummer myself, I can fully appreciate the time these ladies have put into mastering their instrument. But it’s their passion that really shines through. I’ve met or seen most of these amazing players perform live, and let me just say, WOWZA!
With a pile of accolades amongst them, each of these players has excelled as a musician in her own way with ability that is undisputed. Check out the variety and skill of these special players. From bluegrass to acoustic metal, there's a little bit of something for everyone. And if you want to turn me on to more fabulous female performers, give me a shout in the comments below.
I know what you’re thinking. Duh, right? Well yeah, no list of great acoustic players, male or female, would be complete without the dazzling Ms. King. Aside from the masterful tapping and finger gymnastics, she’s just so darn musical. Mesmerizing puts it mildly.
It’s one thing to play amazing flamenco guitar, it’s another to take that technique and apply it to acoustic versions of metal classics. Hailing from Mexico, Gabriela along with bandmate Rodrigo Sanchez form the acclaimed duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. Their unique energy and style leave you panting. So incredible to watch, she makes you want to practice…or give up!
Rodrigo Y Gabriella cover of Metallica's "Orion"
One of the world’s foremost fingerstyle guitarists and harp-guitarists, Muriel Anderson is the first woman to have won the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship. She has recorded over a dozen CD’s and performs in the US, Europe, and the Far East. Muriel is host of the renowned Muriel Anderson’s ALL STAR GUITAR NIGHT® and founder of the MUSIC FOR LIFE ALLIANCE charity. Her facility across the genres of folk, classical, jazz, bluegrass and international music is revered by guitarists worldwide.
Arguably the most visible of all of our lady acousticians (is that a word?), Nancy Wilson of Heart not only plays like a mo fo, she is a fabulous writer too. Who do you think came up with that introduction to “Crazy On You” after all? Still going strong, she and sister Ann deservedly were inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame this year. Thank you Nancy for blazing a path that still burns strong!
“Crazy on You”
I feel like I’ve been seeing Rory Block’s name a lot lately and all I can say is YAY! A bluesmaster, Block studied directly with blues giants like Reverend Gary Davis, Son House, Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt. She’s made it her life’s work to pay homage to blues legends with tributes to several of these influences and more in her recorded discography. A talented singer as well, Block is one of the unsung blues gems who deserves more recognition, so check her out!
Another blow your mind amazing acoustic performer, Genfan won Guitar Player Magazine’s guitar superstar contest a few years back and was the only woman in the finals. Drawing from folk, jazz, pop, soul and world music, Vicki displays a mastery of the acoustic guitar that borders on pure alchemy.
I just saw Janet Robin play live and holy moly! This woman can rip it up! Robin studied with Randy Rhoads back in the day and has toured with Lindsay Buckingham. Robin has toured, recorded, or written songs with Meredith Brooks, Monty Montgomery, Michelle Shocked, Maia Sharp, Marcy Levy (co-writer with Eric Clapton on “Lay Down Sally”), Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart), and Anne McCue. She incorporates a vast number of techniques and cultures into her playing style, and is just a born performer. If you have a chance to see her live, don’t hesitate!
A classical player with incredible feel and passion, Sharon Isbin is a multiple Grammy award winner. She’s performed all over the world, and her most recent album includes special guests Steve Vai, Nancy Wilson, Stanley Jordan and more. She’s also the founder of the guitar department of the Julliard School. Isbin's catalogue of over 25 recordings ranges from Baroque, Spanish/Latin and 20th century to crossover and jazz-fusion.
Sharon Isbin Performs "Asturias" by Isaac Albeniz
Laura B. Whitmore is the editor of Guitar World's Acoustic Nation. A singer/songwriter based in the San Francisco bay area, she's also a veteran music industry marketer, and has spent over two decades doing marketing, PR and artist relations for several guitar-related brands including Marshall and VOX. Her company, Mad Sun Marketing, represents Dean Markley, Peavey Electronics, SIR Entertainment Services, Music First, Guitar World and many more. Laura is the founder of the Women's International Music Network at thewimn.com, producer of the She Rocks Awards and the Women's Music Summit and co-hosts regular songwriter nights for the West Coast Songwriters Association. More at mad-sun.com.
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