Female guitarists

Heh, there isn’t a human version of Neil Peart.

I think different finger proportions would have less to do with it than the fact that most women’s hands are smaller all-around than most men’s.

I don’t think Nancy Wilson looks clumsy banging out some great riffs.

I’m a somewhat small-breasted female currently trying to learn how to play the guitar, and I can tell ya they don’t have to be big to get in the way.

Off to IMHO.

Add Susan Tedeschi and Shannon Curfman as two very talented young female guitar players on the blues side.
Probably more of a cultural thing than anything to do with physical differences. Guitar is just not something girls were encouraged to play.

Well, there may be both anatomical and cultural factors at work; I’ve been mucking around with the guitar for years on and off, and yes, the boobs do get in the way.

Small hands can be a plus in some cases (your fingers don’t squish each other if, say, you have to squeeze 3 onto one fret for an A chord), but sometimes make it more difficult to reach certain chords (like a G, or most barre chords).

The point about longer ring vs. middle fingers is silly IMHO; there’s almost always more than one way to finger any given chord, so I can’t see how that would be a barrier. I can see how fewer women might be attracted to the Eddie Van Halen school of Louder & Faster = Better, but aside from the examples already mentioned (plus, Sheryl Crow rocks!), what about the myriad female folk guitarists and singer/songwriters?

And as for women not being encouraged to play guitar: actually, I can think of plenty of other instruments where this is more likely to be the case. There are zillions of female flautists and violinists, but how many female saxophonists are there? Or drummers?

Ironically (if I recall correctly), the guitar was originally a parlor instrument and mainly played by women.

I, too, think the anatomical explanation is a pile of BS. I’m a male with a slightly longer index finger than ring finger in one hand, and the opposite in the other, and I can’t possibly imagine any kind of physical hindrance that causes me when I play guitar. The difference in finger sizes is too small to make any significant difference.

I would agree with yojimbo in that’s it’s a cultural or societal thing. The guitar is still seen, in my opinion, as a male-dominant instrument. There’s not a hell of a lot of women who grow up with dreams of being female guitar heros. (Although that hopefully will chage. I’m a sucker for rock chicks like Sleater-Kinney, Le Tigre, Bikini Kill or even the Bangles.) I think it mostly has to do with cultural influences and societal “programming” rather than any sort of physical reason.

FYI Pulykamell, through I’m sure you were just using a shorthand version of my name and not confusing me with another, yojimbo is a different member of the SDMB. I am yojimboguy.

I agree that some women look odd (not in a bad way) holding a guitar. But I always figure that was a matter of sheer size. Women average shorter and slighter than men…therefore the guitars look larger and clunkier when they play them.

But it sure hasn’t kept them from playing. Though I do agree that the most likely style of playing is different. Rarely has a woman felt a need to do the ‘shake your weenie’ move while playing a guitar. Silly, silly men.

This is a silly topic, but I’ll at least give you the scant information that: I, like ruadh, am a female whose ring finger is longer than her index finger. I don’t know what she meant by being “shite” on the guitar, but I’m a decent player.

I agree with everyone who has said that fewer females have dreams of being guitar gods.

Wow, weird! I just noticed that my ring and index fingers on the left hand are exactly the same length (at least to the naked eye), while on the right hand the ring finger is significantly longer. Dees this mean anything, except that I’m asymmetrical? (I’m mostly left-handed, but play the guitar right-handed, if that makes any difference.)

I’ll agree with the male-dominated industry theory. I think that’s got more to do with it than anything else.

But in about 15 years, be looking for my daughter to be up there, kicking a** & taking names. :wink:

My husband is a brilliant musician, and our daughter (who is now five years old) seems to have inherited his musical gifts. He’s been teaching her pretty much since…well, since she was in utero, I think. She’s pretty teeny, so guitar is still a bit awkward for her to play (even the child-sized guitars are still too big for her to really do well on yet). But she’s got the knowledge, that’s for sure, and she enjoys it. She’s better on keys, drums, and vocals right now.

She loooooves Jimi Hendrix, but her real favorites aren’t the rock gods. She’s very partial to Django Reinhardt & Marcel Dadi, actually. But that’s a darn good place to start, IMHO. :slight_smile:

She’s very partial to Django Reinhardt & Marcel Dadi, actually. But that’s a darn good place to start, IMHO.

Heck, for 99% of us, that’s a darn good place to end up, if only we could.

Ani DiFranco is a very good guitarist, even if I don’t particularly like her songs…

Liona Boyd.

'Nuff said.

I can make my ring finger longer then my index finger, otherwise they are the exact same length.
Maybe one day I’ll be one of those great female guitarist because I’m slowly trying to learn the guitar.

But yeah, country and folk girls don’t look funny holding a guitar, they do look graciful (Ani Difranco for example).
But I think the “Rock and or Roll” female guitars look odd and “clumsy”. Maybe the electric guitar is too long for most women? Or maybe guys have stronger fingers and girls have to put more effort into pressing the chords harder?

I don’t know what I’m talking about anymore…

If I may add my two cents there are a lot of great emale guitar players out there, you just have to look a little harder to find them. I can recall a now defunt band called “Ordained Fate” that, with the exception of their drummer, was all female and were excellent. Then there is also “Kitty”. As far as legends go, there aren’t really very many but I think that’s, as was said before, because the guitar is mostly considered a “male” instrument and the music industry as a whole only being interested in women who are willing to sell sex over the art of music itself (that’s a whole 'nother rant.)

As far as the whole women looking clumsy thing. I personally find a woman playing the guitar (especially in metal and punk) to be one of the most beautiful sights my eyes can set upon.

I am a female, my ring fingers are longer than my index fingers. as far as I can tell it doesn’t make a difference. Actually, the short index finger is a big pain in the butt because combined with my small hands, barre chords are practically impossible for me. So all my songs involve very simple chords.

The breasts are a problem with acoustic (which is all I play), but when you’re a DD they’re a problem with Everything, so that’s not saying much. I actually cannot play my regular acoustic standing up because the body is too wide and once I get my arm past the boobs and the guitar, the angle is soo awkward. My acoustic-electric is easier cuz it’s thinner. I can’t see that it would really be a problem with an electric.

I don’t think that really answers the question at all. But that’s just my perspective.

Let it be known that I am not a wonderful guitarist, and not a rock guitarist, either. My style is basically pop-folk, plain strumming, more focus on melody and lyrics. [self-plug]Link in Sig! Link In Sig![/plug]