The Women Who Play ESP

Something pretty remarkable happened over the past couple of years that had previously never been the case. While there have always been dynamic and innovative female guitar players over the years — Joan Jett to Kaki King, Lita Ford to Nancy Wilson, or Mother Maybelle Carter to Sister Rosetta Tharpe — according to recent studies, female players now account for half of all new guitarists.

Since ESP makes guitars and basses for all people around the world who are making music in every conceivable genre, it’s probably long overdue that we put a spotlight on the professional female musicians who’ve chosen to play our instruments. Note that this feature only includes female players who are officially endorsed by us; there are hundreds and hundreds more out there who rock LTD, E-II, and ESP guitars and basses. We are proud that they are not only excellent examples of successful musicians using our guitars, but that they’re also acting as influencers and role models for other women who may have assumed that playing guitar was a boys-only club. Word to the wise: it’s not.

Amanda Lepre (Andrew W.K.)
Guitars: LTD SH-7 EverTune, LTD Deluxe SN-1000

Joining Andrew W.K.’s band in 2016, Amanda Lepre hails from the southernmost point in Texas, and makes Austin her home. An excellent player in many styles, Amanda can smoothly move between metal, progressive, and pop sounds, evidenced in both her work with Andrew W.K. and her own band, Descendants of Erdrick, who specialize in doing killer arrangements of video game music.

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Diamond Rowe (Tetrarch)
Guitars: LTD SCT-607B, LTD Deluxe EC-1000

Diamond Rowe plays with a level of aggression and precision that nearly anyone can respect. In 2017, Diamond shattered both gender and race barriers by being one of the only female and African-American metal guitarists featured in all three major US guitar publications. Her fans include members of Avenged Sevenfold and DevilDriver, whom her Atlanta-born, LA-based metalcore band Tetrarch has opened for on national tours. Check out her ESP Artist Spotlight here.

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Doris Yeh (Chthonic)
Guitars: ESP E-II Signature Series Doris Yeh DY-5 Bass

A member of Taiwanese metal band Chthonic for 20 years, Doris has been a member of the ESP artist family since 2010. One of the few female bass players in metal, Doris holds down the low end for Chthonic’s music, and has been the bassist on seven of the band’s eight studio albums as well as being a contributor to their songwriting and production. An exciting and dynamic bass player on stage, Doris continues to influence musicians around the world.

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Gabriella Logan (The Txlips)
Guitars: LTD M-50FR

Hailing from Atlanta, GA, Gabby Logan bucks most of the musical stereotypes you can think of. She’s an African-American woman playing hard rock music, and she’s out doing tours around the country, pulling kick-ass sounds from her LTD M-50FR, proving that great players don’t always require a high-end guitar to make their music. The Txlips have recently opened for Indigo Girls, and are slated to perform in June at Pride Festival events in Chicago and Seattle.

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Marta Gabriel (Crystal Viper)
Guitars: LTD MH-350FR, LTD V-401FM

Having a female-fronted metal band isn’t very uncommon, but one in which the singer also handles a good chunk of the guitar duties makes Poland-based Crystal Viper stand out from the crowd. Taking musical inspiration from the classic metal bands of the ‘70s and ‘80s, Marta is the band’s founder, main songwriter, and handles their tight rhythms while performing soaring vocals with seeming effortlessness.

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Melissa Evila (The B.A. Sisters)
Guitars: LTD V-401FM, LTD Deluxe EC-1000, LTD F-5E, E-II Horizon-III

A lifelong multi-instrumentalist and producer, Melissa Evila grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina and spent time working with various bands and as a session player before forming the appropriately-named B.A. Sisters with her sister Sabrina. Attacking multiple styles, Melissa blends heavy metal, ’80s pop, punk rock, and electronic music in her original music.

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Moriah Formica
Guitars: LTD Deluxe EC-1000

Moriah Formica gained national exposure in 2017 when, as a contestant on NBC’s The Voice at age 15, she stunned audiences not only with her big rock-and-roll voice, but her ability to perform in true rock style, backing herself on rhythm guitar using her EC-1000. Moriah has released an EP and opened for bands including Halestorm, Stryper, Gin Blossoms, and many others. It’s not hard to see that this young talent has a big future still ahead of her.

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Reba Meyers (Code Orange)
Guitars: LTD Reba Meyers Signature Series RM-600

Exploding onto the scene with her ferociously powerful playing in the Pittsburgh-based metalcore/hardcore band Code Orange, Reba Meyers has since become the first female artist to have an ESP Signature Series guitar available worldwide. Having received a “Best Metal Performance” Grammy nomination for their song “Forever” in 2018, Code Orange continues to stun audiences at every tour stop, due in no small part to Reba’s merciless performance style.

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Red Frandany
Guitars: LTD H-351FR

The world of progressive metal isn’t a common direction for most female guitar players, but once Chilean musician Red Frandany found the music of bands like Rush, Dream Theater, Periphery, Animal as Leaders, and Meshuggah, her musical path was crystal clear. Red is releasing music as a solo artist as well as having founded glam metal band Saykked, and plays in Rockfem as a session player.

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Stephanie Pickard Bradley
Guitars: LTD Deluxe EC-1000, LTD Deluxe M-1001

When a person uses the name @shredanie for all of their social media, they’d better have the chops to back it up. Fortunately, Stephanie Bradley can play circles around most people of any gender. While Stephanie does plenty of her own music, she’s been devoting time recently to pass her shred skills down to other players via her online lessons and counseling at rock fantasy camps.

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Yanan Zhang
Guitars: LTD MT-170FM (China Exclusive Model)

Born in Linyi, Shandong Province in 1998, Yenan Zhang starte on classical guitar at age 11. At age 15 she switched to electric, and almost immediately, her talent began to shine through. Passionate about power metal and progressive fusion, she founded the "Hello Guitar" Music Studio and has quickly become one of China’s foremost guitar talents, with online broadcasts that reach over a half million people. Yanan’s musical heroes include John 5 and Takayoshi Ohmura.

Connor S.

It still amazes me everytime I see a lady guitarist! It truly add a flavor to the band.

Bonnie P.

Love this post!  Women are definitely underrepresented as musicians and especially guitar players.  This is a great post highlighting some of the best!

Bonnie | grout sealing orlando


Strange that some people here think it's a bad thing that ESP supports women guitarists. It's great to see growth among female guitar players.  Who says only boys can shred? I'm in love with all things China so I'm especially excited to see them represented in this article by Yanan Zhang. When I'm not working on my business I love to play guitar too.

John C.

Thank you for helping make up my mind about whether I should invest in an LTD or not.  It's a no from me.  I guess I'll get a PRS instead.

You know, I'd expect this kind of crap from Gibson, but not ESP.

Kerry M.

Dude, wtf?

Michael L.

WOW...are you serious bro????....because chics play these guitars YOU are gonna bail on them?????...ESP makes GREAT guitars and basses...for everyone..EVEN YOU!!!!


John C.

Let me respond to Kerry and Michael. 

I think it's great that everyone plays the instrument they choose to play.  What I object to is this attitude of "playing guitar was a boys-only club. Word to the wise: it’s not." nonsense.  I realize that this makes those leaning to the left all frothy in the nether regions but it does only bad things by pushing the agenda.  Hell, some of the most notable guitarists were women, and I'm talking turn of the 20th century, not this supposed "enlightened" century.

The other problem I have here is not that it's focused on "half our players are femalez woo-hoo", but the fact that these people have been dehumanized to the shape of their genitals appalls me.  And quite frankly, it's not uncommon or unfamiliar that female guitarists and bassists are not only on the rise, but have been a staple in the music business for a long time.

Amanda Lepre

Sometimes it really does feel like a boys-only club. Female musicians have been a staple, but representation is important. I'm proud that ESP featured me in this! It's very humbling. ^_^ 

John C.

My sisters all play guitar thanks to my Dad being a guitarist - I'm the odd duck out in that I chose the violin and then moved to bass in my early twenties; though I still prefer fret-less string instruments, so thank TFSM for fret-less Basses.  With the exception of this current "victim" mentality, and companies - like ESP - that seem to wallow in and support such mentalities, I've never known a female - child or adult - that shied away from guitars because they were considered "boys club" material. I think my 70 year old mother and her sisters would all heavily chastise anyone saying that to their face, presuming she didn't outright slap them silly.

Not that I think ESP deserves an explanation for my outburst, but I wanted to be clear that I wasn't dissing you or your colleagues outlined here.



Without context your comment lacked some clarity so it comes off as dismissive. Most people are not aware that the study that wasn't referenced was manufactured by Fender's marketing department because women tend to buy alot of guitars not just for themselves but for other people. Anybody who spent any time working in a Guitar Center could tell you that. 

This is Fender's article for reference. There is also a corresponding video on Youtube.

That article was a response to this one.

There have been millions of female players but it's rare you hear anything because the industry really just wants to make money. A very small percentage gets famous and management doesn't really care where it comes from typically. Some people see that as pandering to get sales. Articles rarely get seen though. I would prefer they made more videos that featured female players on a regular basis because these remind me of those one-off guitar world articles.  


When I see women who really play guitars well, I tend to fell in love with them. But of course, I'm kidding because I have a wife hahaha

Jon | concrete columbia sc

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