Jump back to Nina, Age 17.
There I was walking to my local music store to buy new guitar strings. Bella, my 6 string, had suddenly become a 4 string because some macho douche bag had tried to impress me by “tuning her” so he could play some shitty song he wrote. Well he broke my A string and my G string (hold your comments; I’ve heard it before, not funny.) I enter the store, ready to get my new strings and then go home to play some new songs I had written. The clerk was a fat middle aged man in a Steve Vai t-shirt and the worst mutton chops I had ever seen in my entire life. He and the pimpled young man in the store were discussing wrestling and who was better. The bell rang as I entered and they looked at me like I had three heads. Mr. Mutton Chops gave me an unctuous smile and greeted me with “Hi sweetheart, what can I help you with.” I told him I needed a pack of Elixir strings for an acoustic guitar. He sold the pack to me, asking very condescendingly if I “knew how to put them on.” I assured Mutton Chops that yes, I did indeed know how to put them on.
“So are you a beginner?” He oozed.
“No, I’ve been playing for a year and a half.”
“Aw, how sweet.”
I left that shop feeling dirty, and very underestimated. In his eyes I could see that he imagined I would probably sit there, in a red fluffy teddy, trying to restring my guitar, realize I had no idea what I was doing, and then break down in tears wishing I had gotten a lesson in stringing guitars. After that I would just use the broken strings to tie up some of my attractive female friends and…well…you get the point.
And now to Nina, present day.
It is very difficult to become active in a band, because nobody ever really things you can play. I’ve been playing since I was 16 and I’ve become one hell of a good rhythm guitarist. Most guys have the misconception that I either, can’t play very well, or only play lesbian singer/songwriter music. These are the problems with being a female guitarist in a male dominated music scene.
I get a bevy of different responses when I tell other musicians that I play guitar.
“Oh, that’s nice. Like Jewel? She’s got a pretty voice.”
“Aw, how cute.”
I know that this is never the response that guys get when they play guitar.
Fortunately for me, there are many good factors to being a female guitarist. When they actually find out for themselves that I can indeed play the guitar like a mother fuckin’ riot, I get a hell of a lot of respect from them. Some, I dare say, even find it attractive to see a girl rocking out.
Playing the guitar has made a huge impact on my life because it gives me a whole other outlet to express myself. I’m glad that I picked up playing the guitar, and I hope to do it for the rest of my life.
So up yours Mutton Chops.
Girls With Guitars; Rocking out and Lookin Good
Jump back to Nina, Age 17.
6 replies on “Girls With Guitars; Rocking out and Lookin Good”
Good column. It’s a shame to see that you have to put up with that sort of crap, i’m a male guitarist (or I used to be) and even I find it pathetic the way those guys behave towards you. I’m sure alot of guys don’t like the idea of a female guitarist being as talented or better than them at playing and the idea of being schooled by a girl makes them uncomfortable. It’s probably a machismo thing, I don’t know, but anyway keep on playing, we need more female guitarists nowadays (or guitarists period.)
I totally agree with this Nina, plus this is well written, girls are underestimated as guitarists and that’s total bullshit. Everyone can do anything just as good as someone else, gender doesn’t matter. A guy can play the flute and be the best player. Plus female guitarists are my kryptonite…I’d do anything for a female guitarist lol
Something tells me that that happened on long island, the bastion of something or other that it is.
And it is hot to see a girl rock out. No matter what mutton chops sezs…
and sucks to jewel.. heh
first of all, dont diss jewel, she is actually a very talented musician.
secondly, I completely hear you. while i dont play an instrument, I know how it feels to be looked down on because of your sex. While the sexual revolution has changed many things, the fact remains that being a girl in todays society comes with a whole load of unwanted baggage. being a guy also comes with mostly unwanted baggage, sex is still a deep dividing wound in the culture of not only our coluntry but our world. Kepp rocking out, cuz it’s people like you that are slowly changing the future of sexual identity in our world.
lastly, ummm, can you teach me to play? i have been bugging everyone i know to teach me bass or guitar. i have always wanted to learn, but never did. it was always, the piano, or “how about the violin instead” i was never very into it. but i want it now, and although i will most probably suck, i would love to learn.