Pioneering Women Country Guitar: Celebrating Female Guitarists in Country Music

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Country music has long been associated with the twang of a guitar, and while male guitarists have historically dominated the scene, there have been many pioneering women who have made significant contributions to country guitar playing. These women have broken barriers, challenged stereotypes, and proven that the guitar is not just a man’s instrument. In this blog post, we will explore the stories and music of some of the most influential women country guitarists who have left their mark on the genre.

Trailblazers of Country Guitar

Mother Maybelle Carter

One of the earliest trailblazers of country guitar was Mother Maybelle Carter. As a member of the famous Carter Family, Maybelle Carter helped shape the sound of country music with her innovative guitar playing style known as the “Carter Scratch.” This technique involved playing the melody on the bass strings while simultaneously strumming the rhythm on the treble strings, creating a unique and distinctive sound that became a hallmark of the Carter Family’s music. Maybelle’s influence can still be heard in country music today, and she paved the way for future generations of women guitarists.

Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples is another pioneering woman country guitarist who made a significant impact on the genre. As a member of the Staple Singers, Mavis brought her soulful voice and guitar playing to the forefront of country music in the 1960s and 1970s. Her powerful vocals combined with her intricate guitar work helped redefine the sound of country music during that era. Mavis Staples continues to inspire musicians with her fearless approach to music and her ability to blend genres seamlessly.

Modern Mavericks

Miranda Lambert

In the contemporary country music scene, Miranda Lambert stands out as a modern maverick of the genre. Known for her fiery lyrics and dynamic stage presence, Lambert is also an accomplished guitarist who can hold her own among her male counterparts. Lambert’s guitar playing adds an extra layer of depth and emotion to her music, showcasing her skills as both a songwriter and instrumentalist. Her influence on young aspiring female guitarists is undeniable, as she continues to push boundaries and challenge the status quo in country music.

Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Raitt is a true legend in the world of country guitar. With a career spanning over five decades, Raitt has earned critical acclaim for her soulful vocals and masterful guitar playing. Her slide guitar work is particularly renowned, and she has inspired countless musicians with her bluesy sound and impeccable technique. Raitt’s fearless approach to music and her dedication to her craft have solidified her status as one of the greatest female guitarists in country music history.

Rising Stars

Lindsay Ell

Lindsay Ell is a rising star in the world of country guitar. With her impressive guitar skills and powerful vocals, Ell has quickly made a name for herself in the industry. Known for her dynamic live performances and catchy songwriting, Ell is a force to be reckoned with in the country music scene. Her ability to shred on the guitar while delivering heartfelt lyrics sets her apart from her peers, and she is poised to become a leading figure in the next generation of women country guitarists.

Ashley McBryde

Ashley McBryde is another rising star who is making waves in country music with her raw and authentic sound. McBryde’s guitar playing is as honest and unapologetic as her lyrics, and she brings a refreshing energy to the genre. With her gritty vocals and captivating stage presence, McBryde is carving out her own path in the industry and proving that women can excel in every aspect of country music, including guitar playing. Her music resonates with audiences around the world, and she is poised for even greater success in the years to come.

Breaking Barriers

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a trailblazer in every sense of the word. As one of the first prominent female guitarists in the world of gospel and blues music, Tharpe broke barriers and defied expectations with her powerful voice and electrifying guitar playing. Tharpe’s influence can be heard in the music of countless artists, from rock ‘n’ roll pioneers to contemporary country musicians. Her fearless approach to music and her groundbreaking contributions to the guitar have cemented her legacy as a true icon in the history of women in music.

Brittany Howard

Brittany Howard, best known as the lead vocalist and guitarist for the band Alabama Shakes, is a modern-day trailblazer who is redefining the boundaries of country music. Howard’s soulful voice and bluesy guitar playing have earned her critical acclaim and a loyal fan base. With her genre-defying sound and fearless approach to music, Howard is paving the way for a new generation of women guitarists to break free from traditional expectations and forge their own paths in the industry. Her innovative style and powerful presence on stage continue to inspire musicians around the world.

Shaping the Future

Emma Swift

Emma Swift is a talented singer-songwriter and guitarist who is making her mark on the country music scene. With her haunting vocals and intricate guitar playing, Swift brings a fresh perspective to the genre. Her introspective lyrics and ethereal sound have earned her a dedicated following and critical acclaim. Swift’s ability to blend traditional country elements with modern sensibilities sets her apart as a true innovator in the industry, and she is poised to shape the future of women in country guitar.

Stephanie Lambring

Stephanie Lambring is a rising star in country music who is poised to make a significant impact with her heartfelt lyrics and soulful guitar playing. Lambring’s introspective songwriting and emotive vocals set her apart from her peers, and her guitar work adds an extra layer of depth to her music. With a sound that is both timeless and contemporary, Lambring is a shining example of the next generation of women country guitarists who are pushing boundaries and reshaping the genre. Her raw talent and unwavering dedication to her craft make her a force to be reckoned with in the industry.

Interested in learning more about pioneering women in country guitar? Check out our articles on women in country guitar, women guitarists in country music, evolution of acoustic country women guitarists, female guitarists in country music, and evolution of female guitarists in country music for a deep dive into the contributions of women in the world of country guitar!


Women have long played a vital role in shaping the sound of country music, and female guitarists have been at the forefront of this evolution. From trailblazers like Mother Maybelle Carter and Sister Rosetta Tharpe to modern mavericks like Miranda Lambert and Bonnie Raitt, women have proven time and time again that the guitar is an instrument for everyone. As rising stars like Lindsay Ell and Ashley McBryde continue to push boundaries and break barriers, the future of women in country guitar looks brighter than ever. These pioneering women have left an indelible mark on the genre, and their influence will continue to inspire generations of musicians to come.

About the author

Hi there! I’m Jack Little – an avid country music fan with tons of live country performances in the past. I used to play banjo in a country band with my best friend John Peters, who’s a true country harmonica master. Those were great years and I’m still mastering new banjo playing techniques, writing my own country songs and lyrics, and collecting banjos!

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