On Thursday, June 20 – mere hours before summer’s arrival – Guitar Center, Hollywood hosted an all-female guitar panel. Moderated by Fabi Reyna, founder and editor-in-chief of She Shreds Magazine, the panel represented a diverse cross-section of female shredders, although the women stretch the term beyond its conventional meaning in a timely expansion of the traditional connotation. To them, shredding is simply playing in your own style and with passion.
Held in GCH’s vintage guitar room, in attendance were Francesca Simone, who’s played alongside Beyoncé at Coachella and, indeed, on B’s The Formation World Tour; Gothic Tropic, an artist signed to Old Flame Records and tours with Beck; Yvette Young, who’s currently on the road with her band Covet; Lydia Night, vocalist and guitarist with California punk outfit The Regrettes; and Yuna, a solo artist with an enviable discography who’s currently on tour internationally.
A plethora of issues was examined and many rich insights were shared. Among the key takeaways were:
- A guitar is a songwriter’s tool.
- Technique doesn’t matter. Your raw feelings do.
- You don’t need to be what you think a guitarist is. It’s whatever you want it to be.
- Simplicity is the best formula for a song.
- When you compare yourself to someone else, that takes the magic out of the music.
Reyna launched She Shreds in Portland seven years ago when she was only 20. Funded initially by Shred Fest, an all-female showcase, it's published three times a year with multiple aims such as to change the ways in which female guitar and bass players are represented in the media and the industry. Two others are to educate and inspire women in the string trade. In 2016, the magazine shared Fender’s stat that half of all new guitars are purchased by women. That’s the kind of metric that cannot be ignored. It compels the industry to pay heed (or perhaps more topically, “pay she’d”). Clearly, statistics bear out what female string-slingers have said for years: they’re here to stay and the numbers prove it.
For more on the panelists and She Shreds:
Francesca Simone sheshredsmag.com/being-unapologetically-francesca-simone
Gothic Tropic: gothictropic.bandcamp.com
Yvette Young: facebook.com/yveyoung
Lydia Night: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lydia_Night