The best female rock guitarists of all time will always be a topic of debate because they barely get exposure. Female musicians only tend to get exposure if they are singers, which is a shame. However, the genre has produced many capable musicians on this front.
It’s worth pointing out that the best female rock guitarists can change significantly. For example, some are heavier, some are poppier, and some are more in the middle. Be that as it may, quality is what matters and these ladies have it in spades.
This list is also in no particular order. So, if you are bothered because some guitarist you liked is not ranked higher, don’t worry. What matters here is giving the best female rock guitarists the credit they deserve.
Best Female Rock Guitarists
These are the 15 best female rock guitarists of all time. They were chosen based on their achievements, the quality of the guitar as an instrument, and the songs they were in. Sure, all of this is subjective, and it makes sense if some people don’t agree with this list. However, quality and music is always in the eye of the beholder.
You can also read our female heavy metal singers of all time here.
Who are the 15 best female rock guitarists of all time?
1. Nita Strauss
Nita Strauss was always bound to be on this list. She is probably the most-known rock guitarist at the moment, and for a good reason: her combination of musicianship and attitude makes her very appealing. And when you are capable of playing so many different styles, that is also quite appealing.
Of course, Nita has become very known in the genre for her work with Alice Cooper. Playing with such a legendary musician is a perfect example of how much she rose through the ranks. She also played with former Alice guitarist Kane Roberts back in 2019 and worked with Metal Allegiance.
Nita has also had a solo career that deserves a lot more attention. She is a very good combination of a shredder and a melodic player, which is always fun to listen to. Heck, the fact she can go and play with Demi Lovato and still have street cred in Metal, that means she is good.
She is one of the best female rock guitarists in recent times and deserves all the credit she deserves.
2. Joan Jett
Joan Jett is named “The Queen of Rock and Roll,” and her achievements speak for herself. The fact she was a founding member of The Runaways should be enough to be on this list. However, she truly shines through her career as a solo artist.
The Runaways fell apart as quickly as they blew up in the late 70s, and Joan formed her band, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts. Through this project, she accomplished most of her hits, including her legendary rendition of “I Love Rock ‘n Roll” in 1982.
She will not be a part of the best female rock guitarists of all time because of her abilities (which are not too shabby, either). Her attitude, tough persona, and charisma proved that women in the genre could be hard and heavy. That, coupled with her unique voice and songwriting, made her a genre legend.
Very few women have the legacy and influence that Joan Jett has had in Rock music. One of those absolute legends of the genre as a whole.
3. Lita Ford
Now that Joan Jett has been mentioned, her bandmate Lita Ford in The Runaways has to be said.
Lita Ford was the heaviest and most Metal-focused member of The Runaways, which is shown in her solo career. While both Jett and Ford had a lot of success with that band, it was in the 80s, as solo artists, that they got to shine truly.
In Lita’s case, it has to be said that she saw herself as a guitarist first. She has proven over the years that she can sing quite well, but her guitar playing is her main focus. Her earlier 80s work shows how good she was.
She had many hits in the 80s, and that is the period of her career most people are familiar with. However, her 1983 album, Out for Blood, is one of her heaviest works and deserves much more attention.
Like Joan Jett, her role as one of the best female rock guitarists is more than deserved. So, her place is more than deserved.
4. Orianthi Panagaris
Orianthi Panagaris is Australia’s big triumph for the best female rock guitarists. She initially made a name for herself by playing with Michael Jackson, even going as far as preparing for the This Is It tour.