30+ Best Female Guitarists of All Time

Music has always been a powerful force, and throughout history, there have been countless individuals who have left an indelible mark on the industry.

When it comes to guitarists, we often think of iconic figures like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Jimmy Page. However, it’s important to recognize the incredible talent and influence of female guitarists who have contributed significantly to the evolution of music.

In this article, we celebrate the best female guitarists who have broken boundaries, shaped genres, and inspired generations of musicians.

Sarah Lipstate (Noveller)

Sarah Lipstate

Sarah Lipstate, known by her stage name Noveller, is an innovative guitarist and composer who specializes in creating mesmerizing soundscapes.

With the use of looping devices, Lipstate constructs intricate and expansive textures that transport listeners to otherworldly realms.

Drawing inspiration from artists like Rhys Chatham and Robert Fripp, she combines atmospheric elements with a keen sense of melodic songcraft.

Notable musicians such as St. Vincent and Iggy Pop have recognized Lipstate’s unique talent, inviting her to join their tours and collaborate on projects.

Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney)

Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker

Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker, members of the influential band Sleater-Kinney, form a dynamic guitar duo that defies expectations.

While Brownstein often takes the spotlight for her impressive solo work, it is the synergy between these two guitarists that sets Sleater-Kinney apart.

With their intricate guitar interplay, they create a sonic landscape that balances mathematical precision with controlled fury.

Tucker’s ability to switch seamlessly between choppy rhythms and soulful basslines adds depth to their music. It’s no surprise that their work has inspired countless musicians and earned them a devoted following.

20+ Best Rock Bands of the 70s

Felicia Collins

Felicia Collins

Felicia Collins, best known as the lead guitarist of the house band for Late Night With David Letterman, is a funk specialist who possesses incredible versatility.

She has an innate ability to adapt her playing style to match the energy and vibe of any artist she collaborates with.

Prior to her stint on Late Night, Collins was a part of the extended Nile Rodgers axis, lending her skills to artists like Madonna and making memorable appearances with P-Funk.

Her infectious funk-infused guitar work adds a distinct flavor to any musical production she contributes to.

Vicki Peterson (The Bangles)

LOS ANGELES, CA – CIRCA 1988: American rock musician and songwriter Vicki Peterson, of the American pop rock band The Bangles, plays on stage during the “Be With You” video circa 1988 in Los Angeles, California. “Be with You” was on the Bangles “Everything” album. (Photo by Lester Cohen/Getty Images)

Vicki Peterson, a founding member of the iconic all-female band The Bangles, is a guitarist whose talents deserve recognition. Rooted in mid-60s garage rock,

The Bangles stood out from their peers by incorporating elements of power pop and jangle pop into their music.

Peterson’s lead guitar playing was a well-kept secret, adding depth and energy to the band’s sound. As the band evolved, she showcased her versatility by mastering power chords, George Harrison-esque leads, and whatever the songs demanded.

Peterson’s contributions as a guitarist and songwriter solidify her position among the best female guitarists.

Wendy Melvoin (The Revolution, Wendy & Lisa)

Wendy Melvoin

Wendy Melvoin, along with her keyboardist partner Lisa Coleman, played a pivotal role in shaping the music of the legendary artist Prince.

Their collaboration with Prince led to the creation of groundbreaking sounds and arrangements.

Wendy Melvoin’s guitar skills were prominently featured in the movie “Purple Rain,” where she played unforgettable riffs and solos, including the iconic title song. Beyond her work with Prince, Melvoin has continued to make significant contributions to the music industry, collaborating with renowned artists such as Madonna and Neil Finn.

Best 70’s Rock Songs (Music from the 70s)

Joni Mitchell

joni mitchell

Joni Mitchell is an artist whose musical genius transcends genres. Renowned for her poetic songwriting and emotive vocals, Mitchell’s guitar playing is equally captivating.

Starting with her acoustic albums, Mitchell’s intricate fingerpicking and unconventional tunings set her apart from her contemporaries.

As her music evolved, she incorporated electric guitar and collaborated with talented musicians to bring her vision to life.

Mitchell’s ability to seamlessly blend folk, jazz, and rock elements, while maintaining lyrical depth, solidifies her place among the greatest female guitarists of all time.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a true pioneer and a trailblazer in the world of music. Born into a family of religious singers and cotton pickers, she began playing the guitar at a young age and quickly displayed an extraordinary talent.

Tharpe’s gospel recordings broke new ground by blending spiritual lyrics with distorted tones and killer electric licks, creating a unique sound that would later influence countless musicians.

Her groundbreaking approach to the guitar and her powerful vocals earned her the title of the definitive Godmother of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Mother Maybelle Carter

Mother Maybelle Carter was a true trailblazer in country-western music. With her groundbreaking fingerpicking technique, she revolutionized the role of the guitar in music.

Carter picked the melody on the bass strings while simultaneously strumming the rhythm on the treble strings, expanding the possibilities of the instrument.

As part of “The Carter Family,” she played an integral role in revolutionizing country and roots music. Her incredible guitar skills and musical contributions paved the way for future generations of guitarists.

Jennifer Batten

Jennifer Batten

Jennifer Batten is a phenomenal guitarist who gained recognition for her exceptional skills during Michael Jackson’s tours in the ’80s and ’90s.

Her jaw-dropping shredding, combined with innovative techniques like two-handed tapping, captivated audiences worldwide. Batten’s technical precision and imaginative playing elevated her status as one of the best female guitarists.

Beyond her collaborations with Michael Jackson, she continued to leave a lasting impact by joining forces with guitar legend Jeff Beck, recording albums, and touring extensively. Batten’s mastery of the instrument solidifies her place among the guitar greats.

30+ Best 80s Rock Songs (Music from the 90s)

Dot Wiggin (The Shaggs)

Dot Wiggin

So you think it didn’t take a real musician to play The Shaggs’ guitar parts? Great, now you go ahead and try to play them.

At this point, it hardly matters whether The Shaggs – a late-60s sisters’ garage band that defied all musical logic – were raw prodigies or simply a lucky accident.

As female guitarists, they proved more influential than hundreds of more conventional bands, and the way Dot sang and played in entirely different rhythms (while the drummer was off on a third one) took some serious concentration.

And the longstanding tradition of female indie-rock trios with a second guitar instead of a bass? They started that too.

Melissa Etheridge

melissa etheridge

Melissa Etheridge is probably the modern guitarist who most embodies the Pete Townshend tradition of throttling an acoustic guitar like it’s a fully-amped electric (or your worst enemy).

Credit that to her years playing coffeehouses, but that closely-miked acoustic guitar provides the instrumental hook on most of her hits.

And though her band always has a (male) lead guitarist, he tends to take a backseat when she’s feeling the spirit.

Anne Clark (St Vincent)

anne clark

On her tour in support of Masseduction, St Vincent was undoubtedly the first lead guitarist to use a different DayGlo pastel-colored guitar on every number (all variations on the custom signature guitar that Ernie Ball designed for her).

And her playing was as vivid as the guitars themselves. She’s a free-flowing soloist in the Fripp/Zappa tradition, where the solos hinge on intricate melody lines.

But she’s also a master dance-pop songwriter, using her tasty rhythm riffs to bring you to the “Slow Disco.”

Joan Jett (Joan Jett And The Blackhearts)

joan jett

Joan Jett has never claimed to be a lead guitarist and never had a band without one. But the very essence of punk guitar – rhythm chords pounded out with urgency and precision – is embedded in her DNA.

While she’s not credited as such often, it’s arguable that her guitar work is as just as influential as co-Runaway Lita Ford’s. But, as always, Jett is too busy rocking to worry about accolades surrounding the best female guitarists.

20+ Best 60′;s Rock Bands of all time



Though she first raised eyebrows playing with Carrie Underwood (and would likely have done the same on Michael Jackson’s final tour), this Australian guitarist’s main achievement is breaking down the walls of classic rock.

She’s tough enough to play lead with Alice Cooper, trade licks with Steve Vai, and then form the duo RSO alongside Richie Sambora.

And her take on “Hellbound Train” is the best Savoy Brown cover done by anyone, male or female. Word broke recently that she and Sambora had parted ways, but Orianthi is a one-woman force on her own.

Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt

You’d have to do a lot of combing through the heroes of 70s rock to find a slide guitarist with a more identifiable sound than Bonnie Raitt.

One of her main competitors, Little Feat’s Lowell George, was both a collaborator and a big fan. Though Raitt always keeps a foot in the singer-songwriter world, her guitar is the connection with her blues roots.

While her band usually has a guitarist to take care of the lyrical passages, the scorching moments are invariably her own.

Nancy Wilson (Heart)

The first female guitarist to lead a chart-topping rock band, Nancy Wilson, along with her sister Ann, are the only consistent members of Heart.

And while the band has seen other lead players, the first (and arguably most) iconic guitar moment in their catalog went to Nancy – namely, that acoustic transition from “Dreamboat Annie” into “Crazy On You.”

It’s thanks to Nancy that Heart’s artful acoustic side has always coexisted with their loud electric side, even in their 80s arena phase. She also had a hand composing nearly every famous track they ever recorded.

Poison Ivy (The Cramps)

poison ivy

Poison Ivy was arguably the most recognizable guitarist in all of US punk. You can tell it’s a Cramps song long before lead singer Lux Interior starts singing.

Poison Ivy reconnected punk with its primal roots in trash and twang and helped the likes of Link Wray and The Ventures’ Nokie Edwards get rediscovered. She earns her place among the best female guitarists thanks to those sleazy riffs that Cramps’ songs were built on and became a skilled soloist as the albums went on.

And nobody ever did more with reverb than her. Ivy’s been underground since the loss of her partner Lux, and she’s been missed.

Ana Popović

Ana Popović

Born into a music-loving family in Belgrade, Serbia, Ana Popović developed a deep passion for blues, classic rock, and the guitar at a young age.

Her journey as a guitarist began under the guidance of her father and a private tutor, where she honed her distinctive style that would later captivate audiences worldwide.

Popović formed her own band, Hush, at the age of 19, and spent three years captivating crowds in clubs and blues festivals across Serbia, Greece, and Hungary.

Her desire to further expand her musical horizons led her to study jazz guitar in the Netherlands. Since then, Popović has released eight studio albums, including a remarkable 3-CD trilogy that showcases her versatility in rock, funk, jazz, and, of course, the blues.

Each album further solidifies her undeniable command over the guitar, earning her praise from legendary musicians like Bruce Springsteen.

Today, Ana Popović stands as one of the few female members of the Experience Hendrix tours, leaving audiences in awe with her ever-evolving musical prowess.

Best Punk Songs Of All Time (Punk Rock Hits)

Badi Assad

badi assad

Badi Assad, a truly gifted musician, combines technical brilliance with boundless creativity to deliver awe-inspiring performances.

Since bursting onto the scene in 1995, Assad’s unique fingerstyle playing and mesmerizing melodies have garnered well-deserved attention and adulation.

Coming from a family of accomplished guitarists, with classical guitarists Odair and Sergio Assad as her brothers, Assad has taken her own path, mesmerizing audiences with her unparalleled talent.

However, her journey hasn’t been without challenges. Between 1998 and 2001, Assad faced a neurological disorder called Focal Dystonia, causing involuntary spasms in small muscles.

Despite the setback, she worked tirelessly towards a full recovery, marking her triumphant return with the album “Three Guitars,” recorded alongside John Abercrombie and Larry Coryell. Assad’s resilience and determination make her an exceptional inspiration to aspiring musicians worldwide.

Nili Brosh

nili brosh

At a young age, Nili Brosh emerged as a rising star among virtuoso guitarists. After graduating from the renowned Berklee College of Music in 2009, she wasted no time before joining the ranks of legendary bands, including the iconic Tony McAlpine.

Brosh’s remarkable cover of “Cliffs of Dover” on YouTube captured the attention of guitar enthusiasts worldwide, firmly establishing her as a force to be reckoned with.

Her incredible talent has led her to perform alongside renowned musicians such as Guthrie Govan, Andy Timmons, and Stu Hamm. Brosh’s playing style showcases a unique blend of lightning-fast shredding and soulful melodic passages, leaving audiences in awe.

With an Ibanez RG Prestige 7-stringer as her weapon of choice, Brosh continues to push the boundaries of guitar performance.

Nori Bucci

nori bucci

Nori Bucci, an incredibly talented and criminally underrated guitarist, has created a name for herself with her distinctive style and impressive musicianship.

Teaching herself to play the guitar by ear at the age of 16, Bucci seamlessly combines various techniques, effortlessly transitioning from emotive, winding passages to blistering shredding.

Her band, Gamalon, has showcased her remarkable skills on numerous platforms, including YouTube, while her solo albums have further solidified her place as a phenomenal musician.

In addition to her musical talent, Bucci is also a highly accomplished visual artist. While she currently focuses on exploring her artistic side, fans eagerly await her return to the world of music, eagerly anticipating the magic she will create once again.


Spanish-born bandleader Xavier Cugat (1900 – 1990) looks at his wife and compatriot, the musician and comedian Charo, as they appear on the CBS variety program ‘The Ed Sullivan Show,’ New York, February 26, 1967. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

Charo, also known as Maria Rosario Pilar Martinez, is a name synonymous with flamenco guitar mastery.

Hailing from Spain, Charo’s journey began at the prestigious school of legendary guitarist Andres Segovia, who recognized her immense talent and took her under his wing.

Her playing style, characterized by intricate melodies and technical precision, has propelled the popularity of flamenco guitar worldwide.

Despite her exceptional musicianship, the media often overshadowed her talent with her flamboyant persona.

Charo’s impact on the world of music cannot be understated. Her contributions and dedication to the flamenco genre have solidified her place as one of the finest players in the world.

40+ Greatest Rock Albums of All Time

Ani DiFranco

Ani DiFranco

Ani DiFranco, known for her fearless songwriting and aggressive guitar playing, has created a unique and powerful musical style.

Her unconventional approach incorporates interesting open tunings and a signature bassist-like thump and pop style, setting her apart from other folk-pop singer-songwriters.

DiFranco’s guitar playing resonates with a raw energy that complements her powerful vocals, captivating audiences around the globe.

With a wide range of influences, DiFranco’s sound has become a personal favorite for many music enthusiasts.

Her dedication to her craft and unwavering commitment to authenticity make her an enduring icon in the music industry.

Arianna Powell

Arianna Powell

Arianna Powell’s journey as a guitarist began in the vibrant music scene of Pennsylvania, where she established herself as a guitar hero before venturing to California for greater opportunities.

In a short span of time, Powell became one of the most sought-after touring guitarists in Los Angeles, sharing the stage with colossal acts like the Black Eyed Peas and Nick Jonas.

Powell’s technical prowess and consummate professionalism have earned her respect and recognition in the industry.

Whether delivering fast and furious solos or heartfelt melodic lines, Powell’s versatility shines through effortlessly, leaving an indelible impression on both fellow musicians and audiences alike.

Yvette Young

Yvette Young

Yvette Young, born on June 28, 1991, in San Jose, California, is a multifaceted musician who has gained prominence in the music industry.

While she initially began her musical journey by learning piano and violin, it was the guitar that captivated her soul. Young’s talent shines through her unique playing style, which blends elements of rock, classical, and folk music.

Her compositions range from nature-inspired acoustic renditions to intricate electric licks, often showcased while fronting her math rock band, Covet.

Apart from her exceptional guitar skills, Yvette Young is also a gifted graphic artist. She adds a personal touch to her performances by hand-painting her guitars with awe-inspiring designs, showcasing pure and unadulterated talent.

Annie Clark (St Vincent)

annie clark

Annie Clark, professionally known as St Vincent, was born on September 28, 1982, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

This three-time Grammy-winning guitarist possesses an extraordinary stage presence and remarkable musicianship. While her primary instrument is the electric guitar, Annie Clark is also proficient in playing bass, piano, organ, and theremin. S

he fearlessly incorporates a variety of instruments and explores chaotic, dissonant, and complex arrangements to create her enigmatic, genre-bending signature sound.

Clark’s musical journey started with her love for grunge bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden.

Her career took off when she joined the Polyphonic Spree and subsequently embarked on tours with Sufjan Stevens before forming her own band. Annie Clark’s powerful guitar playing is characterized by acrobatic riffs, crunchy chords, and free-flowing solos.

She continuously evolves as an artist, constantly reinventing her sound to provide her fans with fresh and innovative musical experiences.

Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt

Born on November 8, 1949, in Burbank, California, Bonnie Raitt is an iconic figure among female guitarists.

With her mesmerizing slide guitar skills, distinctive vocals, and a fusion of blues, rock, folk, and country music, she has been captivating audiences for decades.

Bonnie Raitt’s contributions to music have inspired countless female guitarists, paving the way for future generations with her trailblazing success and unmatched musicianship.

Bonnie Raitt’s impressive career includes numerous hit singles influenced by roots music. Rolling Stones ranked her as the 50th “Greatest Singer of All Time” and the 89th “Greatest Guitarist of All Time.”

Her ability to craft memorable tunes demonstrates her profound understanding of music. For these reasons and more, Bonnie Raitt is rightfully considered one of the most influential female guitarists of all time.

Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding, born on October 18, 1984, in Portland, Oregon, is a jazz virtuoso who rose to fame by winning the award for Best New Artist at the 2011 Grammys.

Her exceptional talent came to the forefront, surpassing popular artists like Justin Bieber, Mumford & Sons, Florence, and Drake.

Having started her musical journey as a violinist with the Chamber Music Society of Oregon at the tender age of five, Spalding made history by becoming the youngest faculty member at the prestigious Berklee School of Music at just twenty years old.

Although primarily known for her virtuosic bass skills, Esperanza Spalding’s musical prowess extends to the violin, oboe, clarinet, woodwinds, and guitar.

Her compositions feature complex harmonies, melodic phrasing, and eclectic rhythms, accompanied by her rich vocals. Listening to tracks like “I Know You Know,” “Earth To Heaven,” and “Song For Pepper” from Spalding’s impressive discography provides a glimpse into her extraordinary talent and innovative approach to music.

25+ Best Psychedelic Rock Songs (You Must Listen!)

Marnie Stern

Marnie Stern

Marnie Stern is a true guitar hero, combining lightning-fast fingerwork with an indie rock sensibility. Her concept album, “The Chronicles Of Marnia,” showcases her cleverly-turned pop hooks that can be appreciated by anyone, regardless of their love for guitar playing.

However, if you are a guitar enthusiast, you’ll be amazed by her imaginative and economical playing style. Despite releasing five albums, Stern has yet to produce a song longer than four and a half minutes.

If you ever wondered what it would sound like if Eddie Van Halen joined Sleater-Kinney, Stern’s music comes pretty close.

Kristin Hersh (Throwing Muses)

Kristin Hersh

Kristin Hersh, often underrated, stands alongside the likes of Bob Mould and J Mascis as a pioneering indie-rock guitarist.

Her unique sound is instantly recognizable, featuring furious leads, mind-melting distorted power chords, and elegant acoustic melodies.

Hersh truly came into her own when Throwing Muses stripped down to a three-piece, revitalizing the power-trio format. Her versatility is evident in her more recent solo albums, where she also showcases her skills on the bass guitar.

Susan Tedeschi (Tedeschi Trucks Band)

Susan Tedeschi

Susan Tedeschi, a remarkable guitarist, and vocalist, is part of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, where she and her husband, Derek Trucks, form an incredible guitar duo.

It’s important to note that the band isn’t just about having female and male guitarists; it’s about having two exceptional guitarists, period.

Tedeschi has embraced her partner’s jazz influences, while Trucks has absorbed her R&B sensibilities. Tedeschi’s talent shines in performances like her rendition of “Crossroads” alongside Eric Clapton, where her soulful solo leaves a lasting impression.

25+ Best Psychedelic Rock Songs (You Must Listen!)

Kaki King

Kaki King

Kaki King stands out among the best female guitarists as a modern composer who happens to be a guitar virtuoso. Her music delves into modern classical, and progressive jazz, and even ventures into pop territory.

King’s acoustic guitar playing takes on a whole new level with her percussive techniques that blend flamenco and Van Halen-inspired styles.

While she could have focused on delivering cheap thrills, her latest work, including the concept piece “The Neck Is A Bridge To The Body,” showcases her higher artistic ideals.

They changed the scene of the rock world

The world of guitar playing has been enriched by the remarkable contributions of these exceptional female musicians.

From Marnie Stern’s indie rock prowess to Kristin Hersh’s trailblazing indie rock sound, Susan Tedeschi’s blues rock virtuosity, and Kaki King’s visionary compositions, these women have defied expectations and proven that gender is no barrier to musical excellence.

Their talent, creativity, and unique styles continue to inspire countless aspiring guitarists around the globe.

Leave a Comment