I was reading an article at Guitar World and on the face of it, it was a piece about female guitar players. It was written by a female guitarist who, according to her, had faced rude comments from men or insults associated with her playing guitar.
Many moons ago, when I was learning guitar, I read a few lessons by Sharon Isbin and found them to be very helpful. I enjoyed her playing quite a lot and it never struck me that SHE WAS A WOMAN PLAYING GUITAR! OMG!
When I read her material or interviews, I found her to be an incredibly accomplished player with very good command of the guitar. I found her instruction and music very enjoyable like many of the other players I admired such as Andrew York, Segovia, Julian Breem and many other classical players including Williams and Parkening.
As I read the article, I found it heavy handed and assumptive but then again, if the author has had all of these situations in her life, who am I to disagree? Regardless, While I like Sharon a lot, she’s not my favorite classical player nor do I think she is the best or on par with some of the masters and it has nothing to do with the fact that she’s a woman as there are other male players who are not my favorites nor do I think are on par with the masters.
The author of the article says that when confronted with a female guitar player, we should say these things to her:
• That is one sick riff
• You rip the hell out of that guitar
• You’re so bad-ass
• You’re incredibly talented
• You rock
• You have mad skills
• You have some serious chops
Here’s the problem, I’m not likely to say any one of those things if they simply aren’t true. I don’t feel that heaping praise on a female guitarist is correct if the “guitarist” part of her isn’t that praiseworthy. You wouldn’t find me heaping praise on a male guitarist if the “guitarist” part of him wasn’t praiseworthy either.
The parting wisdom from this author, who has been playing for 15 years, is this:
“So if you want to make a positive impression on a guitar-wielding princess, you now know the basics of guitar etiquette 101. Trust me on this one.”
Let’s be honest, you’ll not find me using these etiquette techniques on the female guitarist in St. Vincent because I find here marginally capable at best and annoyingly pretentious and hiding behind trumped up abilities at worst. She couldn’t carry Sharon Isbin’s guitar case…or Gillian Welch for that matter. Those are two females you would find me praising but I doubt I would tell either that they “kick ass”.
Hat Tip: Guitar World