Theres been a big boom in Guitars aimed at girls in the last 3 years, with ‘Daisy Rock’ and Fender’s ‘Hello Kitty’ range getting lots of press recently. Although these guitars are aimed at the younger player. I was impressed to see a teenage girl in a guitar shop trying out an Epiphone Explorer the other day.
Gibson’s Les Paul Vixen seems to go for the idea that a Female guitarist would want a guitar with reduced weight and simple controls in some girly colours.
I’m all for more people playing the guitar as I feel learning such an instrument breaks down barriers and encourages personal growth. But I can’t help feeling that all this is somewhat patronising. Reducing the guitars weight sure, but Gibson already do the Cloud 9 Les Paul, and surely the weight issue applies to men too. Steve Steven’s, Billy Idol’s one time axe-slinger once suggested in an interview that guitar companies make different sizes of guitar according to physical size (he is 5’5″ and built like a pipecleaner) but simplified controls? Bit sexist really. Are two tone controls too much for the female brain to comprehend, surely not?
Think about it. Lady Bo, Chrissy Hind, Justine Frischman, Melissa Auf de Mar, Paz Lenchantin, Alison Robertson out of the Donna’s, Carrie Brownstein……
These women compete in a mans world on the same instruments that we all play. Paz Lenchantin is built like a 12 year old girl, but was playing a Fender Deluxe Precision when I saw her live. If we want old school, Suzi Quatro has actually said she is dismissive of instruments aimed at females. She’s got tit’s but finds a Precision Bass just fine.
I did a bit of my own research the other day on my teenage neice and she concluded that she’d rather play the Explorer than a Daisy Rock and that “only trendies, who aren’t into the music would buy one”.
I personally see this development in ‘Female’ friendly guitars as a cynical marketing ploy as the big guitar companies go looking for a new market as another one dies.
For the last 10-15 years, small bespoke luthiers and the high end market have been fuelled by the Baby Boomer generation, cashing in it’s stock options an blowing an increasing amount of wedge on the latest Custom Shop Fender, Gibson, or PRS Private Stock. If you go into Soho Soundhouse on a weekday lunchtime you’ll see no end of 45-55 year old ‘Weekend Warriors’ in suits, perusing over the latest Mesa Boogie amp or PRS 513.
But all good things must come to an end and as the baby boomers have lowered wages and robbed the young of their free education, and job security, the generation behind finds itself up to its eyeball’s in debt and lacking the big pensions and stock options of their fathers. The Guitar companies need to find a replacement market….and fast.
I expect to see more guitars aimed at ‘new’ markets. But where will it end? ‘Bling’ guitars for Urban musicians with more gold hardware and fancy inlays maybe???? Or female orientated effects pedals with colour co-ordination. Could we have a guitar suitable for one’s religion or sexual preferences???? The mind boggles.
Back to those Daisy Rock guitars, I have seen one being gigged recently, but the player was male, unwashed, and seemed to think he was playing the bass as some kind of ironic fashion statement. He was also rather crap