27 badass photos that prove women have been playing guitar for centuries


Earlier this week, America watched Brittany Howard killing it on guitar during her Grammy performance with her band Alabama Shakes. Her fingers flew across the strings, and her teal blue guitar shone in the spotlight of a million viewers.

But guess what? Despite the fact that women are underrepresented on the Top 40 charts, and on music festival stages and basically everywhere, ladies have been playing music for a really long time.

Here’s a little visual trip through history’s guitar-playing women:

In the 17th century, women often played stringed instruments that looked like guitars! It’s important to keep your garden of loving animals—and your pet peacock—entertained.

In 50 B.C. Gibsons didn’t exist, but this hottie in a Roman fresca played a “kithara.” That sounds an awful lot like “GUITAR.”

“I’m blushing because I’m so proud to be playing this beautiful song for my hot crush.”

Just like Justin Bieber, women love to play parting songs for their lovers.

Summer jam!

“No, I do not take requests.”

An interesting duo from 1875—wonder what the music sounded like?

Bet she can hit notes as high as her hair.

Did this sad lady play a sad tune on her stringed instrument?

The best way to call for justice and disarmament is with a song.

Looks like her music, like her gaze, will creep into your soul and stay there.

In the military, music is a must.

The OG Spice Girls (probably).

“Want to know a secret, Betty? This song isn’t about a boy.”

This is a postcard from the early 19th century, but I would buy this album on vinyl. ASAP.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe is such a magnificent person it’s incredible.

These gals, posing in 1920 should have shoved the dude even farther off to the side—out of the picture. They’re the ones who shine.

Thelma Jen looks like she could shred in 1935.


If Keith Richards can do it…


Loretta Lynn played guitar and also wrote tons of hit songs.

This band looks amazing. I want to hear them play RIGHT NOW.

Guitars bring out the holy spirit!

1968, and activism and guitars went hand in hand.

Busking in 1979.

Goodbye, I’m sorry, I have to go. It’s 1961, and I’ve got some guitar to play.

Kelsey McKinney is a culture staff writer for Fusion.

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