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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Woman Tone

”What’s wrong with being sexy?” asked Nigel Tufnel in 1984’s This Is Spinal Tap. It was a satirical acknowledgement of the fact that, even though most male rock artists of the era were plastered in more makeup and hairspray than the females in their audiences, the music business was far from a level playing field for women. Fast-forward to 2018 and while it feels like we’re at a crossroads in gender politics in the wider world, has anything really changed for the better in the guitar industry, or is it as sexist as it ever was?


© Getty Images
Australian guitarist Orianthi has been a standard-bearer for women in the guitar world
© Eleanor Jane

It’s a question that never goes away, and one that, as yet, hasn’t been answered satisfactorily. Some will roll their eyes and groan at the mere mention of the word, while others will have earnest concerns. The question isn’t about the merits of veganism or whether Brexit was a good idea – although they tend to elicit similarly polarised responses.

It’s this: is the guitar industry sexist? Historically, it has often presented women as a prop. The NAMM show’s ‘booth babes’ aren’t seen with such regularity these days, but they’re still there. Rolling Stone’s annual 100 Greatest Guitarists lists recycle the same male names year after year, with only Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell deemed worthy of inclusion on the 2015 list (which also only had four women on a judging panel of 59). Influential female guitarists from all genres – Joan Jett, Orianthi, Nita Strauss, Tracy Chapman and Jennifer Batten, to name but a few – often find themselves relegated to ‘best female’ lists (although Strauss has just become Ibanez’s first female endorsee). Guitar World only stopped filling its Buyer’s Guide special with bikini-clad women in 2016, while Revolver’s ‘Hottest Chicks In Hard Rock’ feature was killed off with the magazine’s change of ownership last year.

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About Guitar Magazine

The August 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine is on sale now and this month it’s all about Player power as we run the rule over four new models from the Player series: Fender’s replacement for the Mexican Standard line. As well as more traditional configurations, the Player series contains several guitars and basses that are far from standard, such as the nifty HH Jazzmaster that readers of the print mag can find behind the barn doors of our special edition cover. Elsewhere in this month’s issue we fly to Iceland to find a man dipping guitars in volcanic hot springs, investigate the issue of gender politics in the guitar industry, meet band-of-the-moment Boy Azooga, get to grips with an incredible staple-pickup ‘56 Les Paul Custom and put hot new gear from Collings, ThorpyFX, Fractal, Keeley, EarthQuaker Devices and more to test. On top of all that we have not one but two fantastic competitions with pro Audio-Technica monitor headphones and a one-off custom-painted Strat up for grabs. It’s a hot one, alright – download your copy of the August 2018 issue of The Guitar Magazine now.