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Study Shows Women Make Up Half Of Aspiring Guitarists
Iconic guitar company Fender set out to find what the present state of the guitar market is and what they found wasn't so surprising: women continue to make up half of the beginner and aspirational guitar market. Why has it taken them so long to notice number of female guitarists?
According to a study by Fender and research-based consulting service Egg Strategy, women make up 50 percent of all beginner and aspirational guitar players. The study surveyed 500 guitar players from this group from a mix different ethnicities gender and ages in the U.S. and the U.K. Although the study noted that 25 percent of Latinos and 19 percent of African-Americans are beginners, they don’t mention how many of them are women.
Music fans keeping up with artists like the Aces, Kacey Musgraves and Brittany Howard, who represent a number of women who've picked up a guitar and ended up on a global stage the last few years, may yawn at the news because the truth is the women behind the guitar have long been overlooked in guitar culture.
Los Angeles Magazine notes that while women have collaborated with guitar companies—St. Vincent being one of the latest—there is historically a major image problem in the media with who plays a guitar.
When musician Fabi Reyna started She Shreds magazine she was asked "Do women even play guitar? Are there really a lot of female musicians?" This question prompted her to share in the magazine how "There was a real blindness to anything but what we know as the guitar culture and that definition of guitar culture [was] rock, Eric Clapton.”
A prime example of the historical erasure, specifically among women of color, is Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who would play her Gibson electric guitar across genres like gospel and rock music. She was loved and the inspiration for male guitarists like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, but was only inducted to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2018.
Little girls have long grown up dreaming of shredding on a guitar. St. Vincent made her first toy guitar out of rubber bands and cardboard at age 5. Orianthi, who has played in Alice Cooper's band, fell in love with the guitar when she was six, so guitar culture really needs to play catch-up. Female guitarists, both professional and aspirational, play an important role in music culture and market, and it's about time that everyone started paying better attention.