From Saccharin-Sweet To Seriously Bad-Ass…
At least a few times a month I get asked to recommend an electric guitar built specifically for girls (smaller size, lighter weight, slimmer neck profile,) so I thought it would be fun, and perhaps even *gasp!* informative to list my top-ten electric guitar picks for female guitarists.
Unfortunately, the number of quality “girl guitar” manufacturers can be counted on one hand: Daisy Rock, Luna, Squier, Gibson, and Epiphone (there may be others, but I’m not aware of them.) The good news though, is that there are more options than ever for women and girls who want to purchase a quality instrument designed specifically to meet their needs.
So without further ado, here are my personal picks for the Top 10 Guitars For Girls for 2006–
1.) Gibson Les Paul Goddess
Choosing the #1 guitar on our list of great “girl” guitars was basically a no-brainer – Gibson’s legendary Les Paul is known the world over for its rich, raw sound and seriously bad-ass looks, and the newly introduced Les Paul Goddess is no exception.
While the Les Paul Goddess definitely provides all the bite and style you’ve come to expect from a classic Les Paul, it does so with a lot more finesse, and with a number of innovations designed specifically for the female form – not to mention a plethora of unique finishes. To keep it authentic, a pair of 490R & 498T humbucker pickups ensures that this so-called “girl” guitar carries on that historic Les Paul tone.
Features Include: a smaller-sized, lighter-weight mahogany body, narrow nut/slim-taper neck (easier on smaller hands,) carved maple top, ebony fretboard with white binding, and of course a pair of powerful translucent humbucker pickups (490R & 498T.)
2.) Daisy Rock Stardust Elite
At the other end of the price spectrum from the Les Paul Goddess is Daisy Rock’s Stardust Elite Venus – a gorgeous looking double-cutaway instrument that is getting great reviews across the board.
Daisy Rock is a company dedicated solely to creating quality guitars for girls, and as such has garnered a lot of attention for their high-quality instruments and very reasonable price range. The Stardust Venus Elite may be a bit fancy on the outside (hehe, it’s absolutely drowning in pearloid) but it also packs a pair of high-output humbuckers for some serious rock & roll fun.
Features Include: a pearloid top, mahogany body & neck, rosewood fingerboard with “Vines ‘N Flowers” inlays, abalone binding, tune-o-matic bridge, master volume knob, push-pull “Tone-Tap” master tone control (adds extra tonal variations,) and dual Daisy Rock High-Output Humbucker pickups.
3.) Squier Hello Kitty Stratocaster
For those on a much tighter budget – and with a healthy love of all things Sanrio – is Squier’s cutesy but kickin’ Hello Kitty Stratocaster. A little over-the-top you might ask? Perhaps, but this bubble-gum pink beauty still packs some nice features for a sub $200 guitar.
Of course, if you’re not a Hello Kitty fan you’re probably running away screaming, because this thing is pure “Kitty” through and through: custom Hello Kitty pickguard, scripty Hello Kitty logo on the back of the pink model (the black model apparently sports a Hello Kitty collage logo on the back,) and even pink or black fingerboard dot inlays.
Features Include: an agathis body, maple “C”-shaped neck, maple fretboard with 21 medium-jumbo frets, a single humbucking pickup at the bridge, single volume control, die-cast tuners, 6-saddle strings-through-body bridge, and that super cool vintage-’60s style oversized headstock.
4.) Gibson SG Goddess
For number four on our list we head back to Gibson, whose SG Goddess follows in the footsteps of the classic “devil horned” SG, albeit with a slimmer, sexier mahogany body, and a host of female-oriented finishes, including: Sky Burst (shown here,) Rose Burst , Ebony, Violet Burst, and Ice Burst.
Like its sibling the Les Paul Goddess, the SG Goddess doesn’t lose much in translation, and still manages to crank out the kind of growl you’d expect from a classic SG – due mostly to a pair of red-hot 490R & 498T Alnico magnet humbucker pickups.
Features Include: a slim mahogany SG body, a narrow-nut/slim taper mahogany neck, Madagascar heather ebony fingerboard with pearloid inlays, compensated wrap-around bridge, 490R & 498T Alnico humbuckers, master volume & tone controls, and 3-way pickup switching.
5.) Daisy Rock Tom Boy
Another solid girl-guitar offering from Daisy Rock is the rather surf-styled Tom Boy – what I take to be Daisy Rock’s answer to the always-popular Fender Telecaster (both in shape, and basic pickup/bridge set-up.)
Like many of the guitars listed here the Tom Boy sports a slim body (agathis) and a slim-profile neck (maple) built specifically to accommodate the female form, but it may well be the most versatile guitar of the bunch, too, due to a pair of 3-way tone-tap switches which allow for a surprising number of pickup/tone variations (something most Telecasters can only dream of.)
Features Include: a slim agathis body, slim-profile maple bolt-on neck, rosewood or maple fretboard with 22 frets, 6-saddle string through-body bridge, Grover tuners, Duncan-designed Alnico stacked single-coil and humbucker pickups (bridge & neck respectively,) two volume controls, master tone control, and a pair of 3-way tone-tap Switches.
6.) Epiphone Emily The Strange G310
Epiphone managed to get on the bandwagon of “character guitars” with their exclusive Emily The Strange G310 – basically a limited edition model of their standard G310, which in-turn is Epiphone’s less-expensive answer to the classic Gibson SG… are you confused yet?
As you can see, it sports some seriously swirly body & headstock graphics of everybody’s favorite anti-socialite, Emily The Strange, but perhaps its coolest feature is the pair of pearl cat’s eyes inlays at the twelfth fret… nice touch! It also comes with an Emily-decorated guitar strap & gig-bag.
Features Include: Unfortunately, exact specs have been difficult to find, but the standard G310 specs are likely to be correct, including an alder body, mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard, a pair of open-coil humbuckers, two each volume & tone controls, and 3-way pickup switching.
7.) Gibson Les Paul Vixen
Gibson’s Les Paul Vixen is a simple, light-weight “girl” guitar that looks similar to the popular Les Paul Studio, but with a slimmer body design and a slim-taper ‘60s-shaped neck. It’s built to provide the same bone-jarring tone as a standard Les Paul, but with a decidedly easier to handle profile.
One of the things that made the Les Paul Studio stand out so much was its stripped-down appearance, and the Les Paul Vixen follows in its footsteps, with a simple but stylish finish, and a total lack of fancy binding, etc. It does, however, still sport the classic hardware that makes a Les Paul a Les Paul.
Features Include: a light-weight mahogany body, mahogany slim taper neck, rosewood fretboard with diamond inlays, 490R & 498T Gibson humbucker pickups, volume & tone controls, 3-way pickup switching, Grover kidney tuning machines, wraparound bridge, and black top-hat knobs.
8.) Daisy Rock Rock Candy Custom Special
Daisy Rock has absolutely dominated this Top 10 Guitars For Girls list, and for good reason – they’re currently the number one guitar manufacturer dedicated specifically to building guitars for girls, and also to changing the popular opinion that electric guitars are somehow just for the boys.
One of their guitars that’s been getting lots of attention is the Rock Candy Custom Special, an instrument with both feminine styling, and hard rockin’ hardware. Among other things it sports a uniquely contoured top, a string-through-body bridge (which should help increase sustain,) and a pair of Duncan-designed Detonator humbucker pickups.
Features Include: a mahogany body with contoured top, mahogany neck, rosewood fretboard with star inlays, a TonePros tune-o-matic bridge, black binding, black hardware, grover tuning machines, Detonator Humbuckers, master volume & Tone-Tap controls, 3-way pickup switching, and of course that matte black finish & pretty pink star.
9.) Luna Andromeda
The final two guitars on our list are from Luna, a company which, like Daisy Rock, is building guitars exclusively for girls. I put them last on the list not because of a lack of quality on their part, but only because I have yet to play one myself, and have had no luck finding any reviews of their guitars. That said, their website promises that a number of leading guitar publications are slated to review their instruments in the summer of 2006 (if you’re listening Luna, we’d be happy to review one for you!)
The Luna Andromeda is apparently Luna’s hard-rockin’ electric solid-body, and looks like it was built for some serious shredding – I say this because among other goodies it sports a Floyd Rose locking tremolo, which many will tell you is a string-bender’s dream. On top of that it’s got a petite neck profile (perfect for smaller female hands,) and cool mother-of-pearl inlays that represent the different phases of the moon.
Features Include: a double-cutaway sculpted basswood body, maple petite-profile neck, rosewood fretboard with “moon phase” inlays, Licensed Floyd Rose locking tremolo tailpiece, a pair of humbucker pickups, volume & tone controls, 3-way pickup switching, sealed matte nickel tuning machines.
10.) Luna Athena Hollowbody
Finishing up the list is Luna’s Athena Electric Hollowbody, which looks to be a quality guitar for those girls & ladies who prefer the warm tone and retro good looks of a classic hollowbodied instrument. While Daisy Rock offers one of its own, in my opinion the Athena is the first truly great looking Hollowbody built exclusively for the female guitar market.
Like the other Luna guitars, this one sports a petite neck profile, and is sized to better fit the female form (it is also said to be exceptionally light-weight.) Other noteworthy features are a pair of warm mini-humbucker pickups, top-edge “moon phase” fretboard inlays, two lovely finishes (sun mist & aqua mist,) and an almost art-deco styled matte nickel tailpiece.
Features Include: a single cutaway lightweight basswood hollow body, set petite-profile maple neck, rosewood fretboard with “phase of the moon” inlays, matte nickel Tune-O-Matic bridge & tailpiece, mini humbucker pickups, 3-way pickup switching, super-light construction.
Putting It All Together
Well, there you have it – Electric Guitar Review’s Top 10 Guitars For Girls: 2006. My only gripe is with Gibson, who in spite of producing some of the highest-quality instruments on this list, have inexplicably decided that they need to dumb-down their “girl” guitars with just a single tone & volume control – a rookie move if they’re serious about winning the hearts & minds of today’s female musicians.