Sister Rosetta Tharpe wielded her electric guitar with finesse and ferocity, creating the template for electric blues – this tutorial unpacks her full-force soloing style

Sister Rosetta Tharpe performs in the UK in 1964
(Image credit: Tony Evans/Getty Images)

It is a great shame that Sister Rosetta Tharpe seldom receives the recognition she deserves, especially considering the role she played in the development of popular music. Dubbed The Original Soul Sister and The Godmother of Rock And Roll, her innovative blend of gospel, blues, and more not only captivated audiences but also laid the foundation for future musicians. 

Born Rosetta Nubin on March 20, 1915, in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, she exhibited an exceptional talent for music from an early age. Raised in the church, Rosetta immersed herself in the soul-stirring melodies of gospel music, which would later become the cornerstone of her musical identity. 

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David Gerrish

David is a guitarist, producer, and educator. He has performed worldwide as a session musician, with artists and bands spanning many musical genres. He draws upon over 20 years of experience in both live performance and studio work, as well as numerous composing credits. As a producer, he's collaborated with artists across genres, including pop, RnB, and neo soul. David holds a master’s in jazz guitar and teaches at BIMM London and the London College of Music. He is also a regular contributor to Guitar Techniques magazine, sharing his love of blues in a monthly column.