While the world of guitar rock is male-heavy, there are quite a few female players who make it unapologetically clear that women can have just as much skill on the 6-string as their male colleagues. When talking about female guitarists, names like Jennifer Batten, Bonnie Raitt, Nita Strauss, Melissa Etheridge and Lita Ford are often names that get mentioned. We’d like to take this opportunity to highlight six female guitarists who like to shred their strings with PRS.
PRS Models: Grainger 4-string bass & Grainger 5-string bass
With an enviable career that has spanned over two decades, it is no surprise that Rhonda hails from musical lineage. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the family moved to the French and Jazz-influenced Montreal while Rhonda was still a child. There, she was surrounded by the sounds of piano riffs, her mother’s instrument of choice, as well as a lot of rock & roll. As a child, Rhonda and her three musically-inclined siblings, learned how to play the baritone horn, keyboard, guitar, and of course, bass. “My older brother is the reason why I play bass. He brought a bass home one day and told me not to touch it.”
Redefining the role of gifted musicians, bass player Rhonda Smith encapsulates all the attributes of a legend in the making. A gifted vocalist and confessional singer/songwriter, Rhonda is one of music’s greatest treasures. This sultry songstress is lyrically sophisticated with an emotional depth that is both incomparable and technically brilliant. As an innovative musician and visionary, she has sparked several genres of music including smooth jazz/funk and electrified funk/rock.
With an innate desire to extend her reach, Rhonda has managed to step outside of music and broaden her imprint. She has been featured in numerous music videos, appeared on the covers of Bass Player and Bassics magazines and even spent stints with The Martin Short Show and The Wayne Brady Show. She has 3 Platinum Plaques on her wall and in 2004 played for 1.4 million attendees over 88 sold-out dates on Prince’s wildly successful Musicology Tour. (Bio courtesy of rhondasmith.com)
Rhonda is currently touring with guitar legend, Jeff Beck.
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KOREY COOPER // SKILLET
PRS Models: Custom 22 & Mira
From being a classically trained pianist to her work as a songwriter, Korey Cooper of the GRAMMY®—‐nominated and platinum selling rock band Skillet is a musical force. From stage, Cooper’s talents inhabit her roles of guitar, keys and vocals. Off stage, she is heavily involved In songwriting and programming for the globally touring band. Topping multiple Billboard Sales Charts and consecutive No. 1 radio hits across multiple formats, Skillet has grown to become a platinum blockbuster, selling more than 11 million albums and singles in the U.S. alone, while taking home three Billboard Music Awards. A musical, female entrepreneur in her own right, Cooper pioneered as a woman in the rock industry when joining Skillet in 1998, a rarity at that time. Amidst an active touring schedule of over 200 dates a year, Cooper’s devotion to her two children takes precedence, even homeschooling her children on the road. Skillet’s most recent release, RISE, is currently available. (Bio courtesy of Korey Cooper)
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PRS Models: Custom 24, Custom 24 Floyd, Santana II
Orianthi’s passion for the guitar was discovered at the age of 6 when she picked one up and threw herself into mastering it. The Australian-born, blonde-haired shredder is best known for swapping licks with Carlos Santana and sharing the stage with, all too briefly, Michael Jackson. After Michael Jackson’s untimely death, Orianthi came back as a singer-guitarist, touring the world to promote her debut Geffen release, Believe. The album’s title track hit the Billboard 100 and produced the platinum single “According to You” which was a worldwide hit. In 2011, Orianthi joined forces with Alice Cooper and put her shredding skills to the test night after night. “I’ve learned something valuable from all the artists I have had the privilege to work with,” she says. That list is extensive and runs the gamut from Steve Vai, Michael Jackson, Carlos Santana, Michael Bolton, Prince, ZZ Top, Adam Lambert, Carrie Underwood, John Mayer, Dave Stewart and more. (Bio courtesy of orianthi.artistintersect.com)
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PRS Models: McCarty & SE Zach Myers
Guitarist and singer/songwriter Shannon Curfman burst upon the blues and roots rock scene in 1999 with her major-label debut for Arista Records, ‘Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions.’ She has sold a quarter million albums and has been Kid Rock’s duet partner, background singer and guitarist since 2010. As an opener she has toured with Mellencamp, Buddy Guy, The Indigo Girls, ZZ Top, Page/Plant, Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck and more. She has played on Letterman, Leno, Good Morning America, Rock n Roll Record Breakers and has recorded with John Fogerty, Bob Seger, Buddy Guy, Keb Mo, Kid Rock, John Mayall and Joe Bonamassa, to name a few. Shannon is an electric and commanding performer who rips solos on the guitar like one of the guys. Between Curfman’s songwriting, her saucy and demanding vocals and her scorching lead guitar Shannon is not to be missed! (Bio courtesy of shannoncurfman.com)
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PRS Models: CE22, Mira, Archon
Mike Molenda of Guitar Player Magazine sums it up nicely… “Badass. That’s all I have to say. Actually, there is more to reveal, because Donna Grantis didn’t just fall out of the sky. She made the semi-finals in the North American Jimi Hendrix Electric Guitar Competition at 16 years old, and played “Red House” in front of Jimi’s dad, Al. Not bad for her debut performance in public. Then, she got a scholarship and a jazz performance degree from McGill University in Montreal - a very long road from first teaching herself Zeppelin and AC/DC tunes on her brother’s acoustic guitar when she was a child. After graduation, she moved to Toronto to become an in-demand session musician, tour the world with various acts, and front the extremely heavy Donna Grantis Electric Band (the group’s debut album, Suites, was released in 2012).
Then, came Prince. Well, not exactly. Prince had delegated the search for a new guitarist to drummer Hannah Welton and her husband. The duo found Grantis on the web, loved her look and playing, and, soon, she was invited to join 3RDEYEGIRL along with Welton, the Purple One himself, and bassist Ida Nielsen. But that isn’t all that happened inside Prince’s Paisley Park complex. Grantis also got dragged into the mammoth big band that is the New Power Generation. She continues to perform with Prince in two of the sexiest, funkiest, and most exciting bands in the world.
So, back to the first word. It’s probably nice to pursue a bit of Grantis’ biography, but all you really need to know is that she is a badass. Her tones, attack, phrasing, melodic ideas, improvs, grooves, and solos are as terrifyingly on point as a laser-guided drone, and everything is delivered with the unselfconscious swagger that identifies a musician truly in the moment. Too much? Well, consider this: Prince chose Grantis as his co-guitarist, and that man is also one hell of a badass.” (Credit: Guitar Player Magazine // April 2014 // By Mike Molenda)
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PRS Models: Custom 22 & SE Akerfeldt
Born in Strathroy Ontario, Toronto-based Tara McLeod has been shredding guitar for years. At the age of 12, she found herself with the instrument in hand and quickly developed a deep love for music and her part in creating it. For years, her fingers worked deftly at the strings, turning practiced chords into brand new pieces of music that more accurately captured who she was and is as a musician. Her love, passion and inspiration has carried that dedicated craft into great territories.
In 2005, she started working with acclaimed metal band Kittie, working on and releasing three intricate and well-received albums with the band and performing countless live shows with them around the world. She has also done session work with Miny, Before the Damned, and Shawn Desman. Currently, she is working with Kittie, Desman, Fefe Dobson, and other various acts. She remains active as a tutor and an explosive entertainer.
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