Legendary Female Guitarists to Know

We have had a trail to follow of Legendary Women in music. From the days of Gospel and Folk lore acoustics to Jazz, Rock and Pop, Women have done it all. Leading Ladies in the music industry at one time were restricted to being singers and vocalists. In modern times, the stage sings a different tune with Female Musicians who write, sing and play both the lead and rhythm Guitar. Women Guitarists play in both all-Female bands and with men by their side. To create a complete list of Legendary Female Guitarists would take hours to review. There is however a few fan favorites to start with that have helped set the stage and pave the way for the future.

Memphis Minnie

This Legendary Musician was self-taught playing both the Guitar and the Banjo. She was a leader on the Blues scene and famed for her fast moving fingers. She was known for her Picking techniques, her tenacity and savvy skill. She moved to Chicago in the 1930’s and beat one of the best of the Blues, Big Bill Broonzy in a cutting match.

Nancy Wilson

She was not only a long standing member of the band “Heart”, she also has the claim to fame that she is the first Lead Female Guitarist to top the charts in a rock band. She was a part of most of their trend setting songs and led the way with both an acoustic and electric Guitar. She cut through the stereo types and came out a Rockstar.

Joan Jett

A Guitarist doesn’t have to play lead in the Runaways to steal the spotlight. Joan Jett had a penchant for both the melody and hardcore versions of the strings. She never cared to take the center of attention, although her sounds and shredding did that for her. After her prior grouping she took the head of the band Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. At the end of the day she has eight Platinum and Gold records along with nine top 40 hits that were achieved in rocking style.

Mother Maybelle Carter

In the realms of Country music and folk is where many guitar sounds were born. Mother Maybelle coined techniques such as Carter Family Picking, the Church Lick and Thumb Brush. Her style was innovated from the banjo that led the way to the strings of a Bass with a fresh sound. Ms. Carter commanded presence and was an inspiration to future Guitarists for generations.


When you think of a Female Guitarist who shreds with the best, Orianthi is at the top of the list. Rockstar heroes Richie Sambora, Alice Cooper and Steve Vai are among a few of the Leads Orianthi has shared the stage with. Originally from Australia, she made it a goal to capture the classics. Orianthi is one of the strongest Female Guitar players who has shown she can stand on her own, even releasing some of her songs where she showcases her talent.