The Old-Time Herald Volume 13, Number 9

Attic
Women Guitarists
By Paul F. Wells
collection of Paul Wells

In an earlier installment of the Attic (OTH vol. 13, no. 1), we took a look at a few female fiddlers of an earlier era, and noted that they were rarities in their day. Historically, a more common role for women in the realm of old-time music has been that of accompanist for their fiddling male partners. Depending on the region and local norms, this could mean playing either piano or guitar. Gender roles certainly were a big factor here: the men did the serious, out-front work of playing the fiddle while women provided the back-up. But there also are considerations of which instruments have been deemed acceptable for women to play; there is a long history of the guitar being seen as more of a “women’s instrument” than a man’s, in the parlor and elsewhere. In this issue we look at a couple of female guitarists who are pictured with male fiddlers, and two others who posed for the camera with no evident musical associates.

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