Minnie Marks on mastering the dance between guitar and drum for a solo sound that takes retro styles in bold directions

Minnie Marks
(Image credit: Press)

Hailing from Eastern Australia, multi-instrumentalist Minnie Marks is a bonafide triple threat. She sings, plays complex slide guitar riffs on a beloved 1956 Gibson ES-295 Goldtop, and keeps a beat going underneath with a custom-made, nine-pedal monster of a foot drum. 

“It’s retro and me trying to hone in on some of the greats’ style but put my own flair on it, too,” she says. Marks combines all three elements with an effortless charisma that belies the strenuous labour going on in her brain, and at her fingertips and toes. “Putting it all together took a couple of days but after those neuro paths connected in my brain, it was on from there.”

The trick to successful multitasking, she explains, is to have at least one element that requires less focus than the others. 

“I always had quite a strong influence of concentrating on deep seated rhythmic guitar playing, and that helped me a lot to copy and paste it over to drums,” she explains. “If I think of it like dancing, then I’m all good!” 

With every available limb in use, one might imagine there’d be little available space for stompboxes. However, Marks manages to squeeze in a choice selection of “soundscaping stuff”, including a Jam Pedals Delay Llama Xtreme, a Strymon Flint tremolo pedal and a Jackson Audio Bloom.

She gets her rich bluesy tone by running everything through a Fender Tweed Deluxe, with the addition of a Victoria Reverberato amp head – a boutique take on a Fender-style reverb tank with vibrato included. 

Inspired by Joey Landreth, Marks uses a brass RockSlide and is pleased to report that she’ll soon be releasing her own signature model with the company. “There’s so many slides out there, but as a girl, I’m like, none of these work!” she laughs. “They’re beautiful slides in the way they make them fit your finger properly.” 

Marks is currently working on her fourth studio album, but it’s been far from plain sailing. She suffers from a variety of heart and auto-immune conditions, had to have major surgery in 2021 to fit a mechanical valve to her inbuilt “metronome”, and was recently rushed back to hospital because a blood clot had lodged in said new valve and urgently needed to be “melted.” 

Now back home, with her focus returning to making music, she remains positive: “I feel extremely lucky and there’s definite clarity around my music again. It’s like I’m a kid. I just have that absolute pure love for it.”

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Since graduating from university with a degree in English, Ellie has spent the last decade working in a variety of media, marketing and live events roles. As well as being a regular contributor to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and GuitarWorld.com, she currently heads up the marketing team of a mid-scale venue in the south-west of England. She started dabbling with guitars around the age of seven and has been borderline obsessed ever since. She has a particular fascination with alternate tunings, is forever hunting for the perfect slide for the smaller-handed guitarist, and derives a sadistic pleasure from bothering her drummer mates with a preference for “f**king wonky” time signatures.