The Best Female Rock Guitar Players – Why They Totally Rule!

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Female Rock Guitar Players - A female rock star holding a red electric guitar.

Do you think shredding guitar is an “all boy’s club?” Meet the best female rock guitar players and behold what makes them unique. They will rock your world!

You can use the table of contents below to take you to the area that interests you. Click on the little box to open it and then click on the section of the article you want to read, or you can read from start to finish if you want the full, totally awesome females of rock experience!


My Guitar Lair - Features and Benefits Section

Female Guitar Players: Meet The Goddesses Of Rock N’ Roll!

Here are just a few of the female guitar players that totally rock. There are so many I could not possibly mention them all in a single article, so maybe there will be a part two!

Which are the best of the best? That’s up to you to decide. I have not listed them in any particular order of preference. Be sure to let me know your favorite in the comments section or if you think someone else should have her name added. Your opinion counts!

Some of the rock players in this list also have ties to heavy metal, which is a plus!

Jennifer Batten.

I’ll give Jennifer the highest honors as an incredible guitar player in all genres. She has played with Michael Jackson and Jeff Beck. Jennifer is an inspiration to all guitar players everywhere!

Orianthi

Orianthi was a musical prodigy at the age of three who has played with Alice Cooper and successfully auditioned for Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” tour.

Nita Strauss

Nita is a heavy metal rocker who is currently the guitar powerhouse behind Alice Cooper’s band after replacing Orianthi.

Nancy Wilson

Nancy has contributed the unmistakable guitar sound of the American rock band “Heart” over the years and is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee (class of 2013).

Carmen Vandenberg

Carmen is a fantastic rock and blues player that played the rhythm guitar parts on Jeff Beck’s new album, “Loud Hailer.”

Joan Jett

Joan is a Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer, Class of 2015. She is an inspirational rocker with a bit of a punk edge. “Put Another Dime In The Jukebox,” baby!

Lita Ford

Lita is a tremendous player, known for her use of the B.C. Rich Warlock guitar. Who hasn’t heard of the Lita Ford Band?

Keep On Reading To Learn More About Each Guitar Player!


Female Rock Guitar Players - Jennifer Batten, playing her guitar onstage.

Jennifer Batten

Jennifer Batten is the queen of rock and any other musical genre you care to mention. She attended the Guitar Institute Of Technology(GIT) in 1979, where she became interested in two-handed tapping from another classmate, Steve Lynch.

She frequently hosts guitar clinics all over the world. I’d easily put her up against your favorite Guitar God!

Awesome Accomplishments

January 2016: Given the  “She Rocks Icon Award.”

She played and toured with Jeff Beck, during which time she appeared on his “Who Else!” and “You Had It Coming” albums from 1999 to 2001.

Jennifer played with Michael Jackson on the BAD tour from 1987 to 1989, the Dangerous tour in 1992, and the HIStory tour from 1996 to 1997.

Solo Albums

  • 1992: Above Below and Beyond
  • 1997: Jennifer Batten’s Tribal Rage: Momentum
  • 2007: Whatever

Published Works

  • Two-Hand Rock (Hal Leonard)
  • The Transcribed Guitar Solos of Peter Sprague (self-published)
  • Rock Sauce for Lead Guitar (TrueFire)
  • Rock Sauce for Rhythm Guitar (TrueFire)
  • 50 Ultra Intervallic Guitar Licks You Must Know (TrueFire)

Female Rock Guitar Players – Orianthi, playing her guitar onstage.

Orianthi

Orianthi is an Australian guitarist that really knows how to rock! At three years old, she began playing piano and picked up the acoustic guitar at age 6. She switched to electric guitar, in part due to a musical encounter with Carlos Santana.

After performing with Carrie Underwood’s band at the 51st Grammy Awards, she began getting the recognition she deserved.

Awesome Accomplishments

Orianthi has a gorgeous PRS Signature Series Private Stock Limited Edition guitar and a Gibson Signature Orianthi SJ-200 Acoustic-electric.

Orianthi recorded “Rise” (a 5-song EP) with Richie Sambora in 2017.

She toured with Alice Cooper’s band from 2011- 2014.

In 2009, Orianthi was selected by Michael Jackson to be his guitarist for the upcoming “This Is It” tour, but it was canceled after his death.

She has also opened for Steve Vai.

Solo Albums

  • 2007: Violet Journey
  • 2009: Believe
  • 2013: Heaven in This Hell
  • 2020: O

Female Rock Guitar Players – Nita Strauss, Playing her guitar onstage.

Nita Strauss

Nita Strauss likes to take a heavy metal approach to her rock n’ roll, which made her the perfect candidate for sharing the stage with none other than Alice Cooper! She has also traded licks with Steve Vai.

Nita also played in the female Iron Maiden tribute band, “The Iron Maidens.”

Awesome Accomplishments

In 2014 she replaced Orianthi as the lead guitarist for Alice Cooper’s band.

Nita was the first female guitar player to have her own signature Ibanez guitar (“JIVA”).

She frequently does Instructional videos for Guitar World magazine.

Album Contributions

  • 2009: Full Metal Thunder (With Maxxxwell Carlisle)
  • 2009: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (With Jamie Christopherson)
  • 2013: Volume One (With Critical Hit)
  • 2015: The Heisenberg Diaries, Book A: Sounds Of Future Past (With Docker’s Guild)
  • 2017: Paranormal (With Alice Cooper)
  • 2018: The Sound of A (With Alice Cooper)
  • 2018: A Paranormal Evening With Alice Cooper at the Olympia Paris (With Alice Cooper)
  • 2018: Volume II: Power Drunk Majesty (With Metal Allegiance)
  • 2018: Controlled Chaos (Solo Album)

Female Rock Guitar Players – Nancy Wilson on stage playing her Gibson SG Junior guitar.

Nancy Wilson

Nancy Wilson forms an unmistakable part of the sound of “Heart,” the American rock band that was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.

Heart was the first rock band that was fronted by females. Over the years, Nancy created her signature sound by fusing hard rock with elements of classical guitar and flamenco.

Her awards and nominations listed below speak for themselves!

Awesome Accomplishments

Awards

  • 1997: American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers Award – for Jerry Maguire
  • 2012: Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • 2013: Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of Heart)

Nominations

  • 2000: Las Vegas Film Critics Society for Almost Famous
  • 2001: Phoenix Film Critics Society for Almost Famous
  • 2001: BAFTA Award for Almost Famous
  • 2002: Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for Vanilla Sky
  • 2006: Broadcast Film Critics Association for Elizabethtown

Heart Discography

Studio Albums

1975: Dream Annie

1977: Magazine

1977: Little Queen

1978: Dog and Butterfly

1980: Bébé le Strange

1982: Private Audition

1983: Passionworks

1985: Heart

1987: Bad Animals

1990: Brigade

1993: Desire Walks On

2004: Jupiters Darling

2010: Red Velvet Car

2012: Fanatic

2016: Beautiful Broken

Live Albums

1980: Greatest Hits – Live

1991: Rock the House Live!

1995: The Road Home

2003: Alive in Seattle

2007: Dreamboat Annie Live

2014: Fanatic Live from Caesar’s Colosseum

2014: Heart & Friends: Home for the Holidays

2016: Live at the Royal Albert Hall with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

2019: Live in Atlantic City

Compilation Albums

1996: Ballads: The Greatest Hits

1997: These Dreams: Greatest Hits

1998: Greatest Hits

2000: Greatest Hits: 1985–1995

2002: The Essential Heart

2006: Love Songs

2008: Playlist: The Very Best of Heart

2012: Strange Euphoria

2013: Icon


Female Rock Guitar Players - Carmen Vandenberg playing a Telecaster onstage.

Carmen Vandenberg

Carmen started playing the guitar at about 6 or 7 years old, after seeing a VHS tape of Jimi Hendrix perform at Woodstock.

She has been hard at work with “Bones UK,” which is a duo band with Carmen and Rosie Bones.

Her critical acclaim has led to her co-writing, recording, and touring with Jeff Beck for his latest album, “Loud Hailer.”

Awesome Accomplishments

Carmen is the first female guitar player to have a signature combo amplifier, the Blackstar CV30! An awesome amp, by any standards!

Rhythm guitar parts for Jeff Beck’s “Loud Hailer” album.

2019: Bones Uk received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance

Studio Album (With Rosie Bones)

2019: “Bones UK” – Self-titled band album with Carmen and Rosie Bones


Female Rock Guitar Players - Joan Jett playing a white Gibson Melody Maker onstage.

Joan Jett

Joan is another fabulous female rock guitarist, best known for her band Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. If you have ever heard (and probably sung) “I Love Rock And Roll,” then you know Joan’s work!

She tends to run on the “punk” side of Rock, in my opinion, which really makes her music stand out and sound fantastic!

Like. Lita Ford, Joan was also a guitar player in “The Runaways.”

Joan is well known for playing her white Gibson Melody Maker, which she has used on all her hit songs since 1977. She changed from using a blond Les Paul to the Melody Maker, which was lighter. Gibson made a signature version of her Melody Maker with a  white double cutaway, a zebra humbucker pickup, and a “kill” toggle switch.

Awesome Accomplishments

Listed by the Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time

  • 2013: Received the award for West Hollywood’s Rock Legend
  • 2014: Recipient of the AP Icon Award
  • 2014: Given a Golden God Award
  • 2015: Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Solo Albums

  • 1980: Joan Jett (re-released in 1981 as Bad Reputation)
  • 1990: The Hit List

With The Blackhearts

  • 1981: I Love Rock ‘n Roll
  • 1983: Album
  • 1984: Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth
  • 1986: Good Music
  • 1988: Up Your Alley
  • 1991: Notorious
  • 1994: Pure and Simple
  • 2004: Naked
  • 2006: Sinner
  • 2013: Unvarnished

Female Rock Guitar Players - Lita Ford playing a B. C. Rich Warlock guitar.

Lita Ford

Lita is a wicked player and was instrumental in setting the standard for outstanding female rock guitarists! She started playing guitar at 11 years old.

Lita is famous for her use of the B.C. Rich Warlock guitar.

She began her career in the late 1970s as the lead guitarist for an all-girl rock band, “The Runaways” (along with Joan Jett). She shifted toward metal with her own band and had a successful career that included a long hiatus from 1995 to 2009 when she released the album “Wicked Wonderland.”

Awesome Accomplishments

She started Lita Ford Guitars with the assistance of Jim Cara in 2018

Lita wrote her autobiography, “Living Like A Runaway,” in 2016.

Studio Albums

  • 1983: Out for Blood
  • 1984: Dancin’ on the Edge
  • 1988: Lita
  • 1990: Stiletto
  • 1991: Dangerous Curves
  • 1995: Black
  • 2009: Wicked Wonderland
  • 2012: Living Like a Runaway
  • 2016: Time Capsule

Female Blues Guitar Players That Rock, Too!

Here are a few of my favorite female players that push the boundaries between blues and rock.

Female Rock Guitar Players - Debbie on-stage, playing with Albert Collins.

Debbie Davies

Debbie is one of the great female blues players, noted for playing with “The Ice Man” himself, Albert Collins! I saw her play with Albert in the 1980s at Lupos in Providence, RI. She really strutted her guitar stuff, and she sounded fantastic!

She also played with John Mayall’s (the father of British blues) wife during her stint with Maggie Mayall and the Cadillacs!

Debbie also had musical collaborations with  Coco Montoya, Duke Robillard, and J. Geils.

Awesome Accomplishments

1997: W.C. Handy Award – Best contemporary Female Artist

2010: Blues Music Award – Best Traditional Female Artist

Solo Albums

  • 1993 – Picture This
  • 1994 – Loose Tonight
  • 1997 – I Got That Feeling
  • 1998 – Round Every Corner
  • 1998 – Grand Union
  • 1999 – Homesick for the Road
  • 1999 – Tales From The Austin Motel
  • 2001 – Love The Game
  • 2003 – Key To Love
  • 2005 – All I Found
  • 2007 – Blues Blast
  • 2009 – Holdin’ Court
  • 2012 – After The Fall
  • 2015 – Love Spin
Female Rock Guitar Players – Ana Posing for a publicity photo with her Fender Stratocaster guitar.

Ana Popovic

Ana is a rocking blues guitar player! She originally formed the rhythm and blues band Hush, which also incorporated elements of soul and funk.

In 1998 she went to the Netherlands to study Jazz and then formed the Ana Popovic Band in 1999. The rest, as they say, “is history (or, in this case, HERstory)!”

Ana has played with the likes of Eric Gales, Taj Mahal, Eric Burdon, and Double Trouble. She also did a fabulous cover of “Belly Button Window” on the album “Blue Haze: Songs of Jimi Hendrix.”

Awesome Accomplishments

  • 2002: French Blues Awards- Nominated for Best Singer, Best Guitarist, and Best Album
  • 2003: W.C. Handy Awards – First European nominated for Best New Artist Debut 
  • 2003: Jammie Awards – Nominated for Best Blues Album
  • 2004: Jazz a Juan Revelation award
  • 2006: Living Blues Awards – Nominated For Best Female Blues Artist
  • 2007: BluesWax 2007 – Nominated for Blues Artist of the Year
  • 2010: British Blues Awards – Nominated for Best Overseas Artist
  • 2011: Blues Matters Awards – Winner of Best Blues DVD
  • 2012: 33rd Blues Music Awards – Nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album
  • 2014: Blues Music Awards – Nominated for Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year

Discography

1998: Hometown (as Hush)

Solo Albums
  • 2001: Hush! (debut solo album)
  • 2003: Comfort to the Soul
  • 2007: Still Making History
  • 2009: Blind for Love
  • 2001: Unconditional
  • 2013: Can You Stand the Heat
  • 2015: Blue Room
  • 2016: Trilogy 
  • 2018: Like It on Top

Female Rock Guitar Players – An image depicting the non-profit organization Women In Music.

What Is “Women In Music?”

Women In Music (WIM) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the education, empowerment, and advancement of women in the field of music.

Founded in New York City in 1985, it now encompasses over 25 chapters worldwide! The organization strives to bring equality, community, and belonging – to women musicians everywhere.

A paid membership is available, which includes a variety of educational and networking resources:

  • Access to seminars and roundtable discussions
  • Masterclasses, workshops, and seminars
  • Their private WIM Google Group
  • Housing and job opportunities
  • Discounts on a variety of services and products

Women In Music has a strong social presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Spotify.


Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed this female rock guitar players article, which highlights some of the world’s best Guitar Goddesses!

It’s not possible to include everyone in a single attempt, but if one of your favorites was not included, please leave a comment in the area below, and I will update this article.

In 2021 the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame commemorated Women’s History Month with musical programs and virtual events celebrating the achievements of some of the world’s most notable female rockers and top female guitar players.

For more info, see Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame – The Killer Guitar Players!

If I mentioned any players that you are unfamiliar with, I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to explore their music to see what you have been missing! They are some of the best female guitar players of all time!

Keywords-Included

Although rock music was the focus of this article, it goes without saying that females definitely represent the “cream of the crop” in every genre of music and on every instrument!


A rock band of figures made from nuts and bolts.

Tell Me What You Think

Please leave a comment below if you enjoyed this article, have any questions about female rock guitar players, or want to give your point of view. I will be happy to help you.

  • Did this article include your favorite female rock guitar player? Who is it?
  • What makes your favorite female rock guitar player unique to you?
  • After reading this article, are you thinking about learning to play the guitar?

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4 thoughts on “The Best Female Rock Guitar Players – Why They Totally Rule!”

  1. Well, what caught my interest is that I have a guitarist in the family.  But I never knew there were so many great female ones out there.  I went through your list and it was easy to read about some I had not even heard of and also to learn about the art itself.  I can see this growing more and more and with your passion and training on the different aspects, young girls will understand sooner, that this is not just a man’s world.  Thanks for your in-depth insight.  I am coming back to read more and pass it on.  Thanks

    Reply
    • Hi, Rosa

      I appreciate your comments!

      I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the article, and I hope it will inspire more females to pick up the guitar or any other instrument!

      If you are not a musician, why not give it a go? There are so many great instruments out there, and playing any type of music makes everything else you do better!

      Thanks,

      Frank

      Reply
  2. I’m a avid music fan, regardless of sex.  But I didn’t realise there was so many awesome female guitar players.   Some inspired by Jimi Hendrix, who everybody knows.  I have found that women might not always  possess strength but they have an abundance of skill and that’s what often makes the difference.  Your list just demonstrates convincingly the true strength of a woman. 

    Reply
    • Hi, Derek

      Thank You for your comments!

      The guitarists I listed a just a tiny sample of the female talent out there! No matter what type of music you enjoy, there’s a female musician that will “make you go wow!”

      If you like Jimi Hendrix, check out some of the stuff that Orianthi and Nita Strauss have done! They will blow you away! 😊🎸

      Frank

      Reply

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