The Blues Queen
If all guitar heroes were women?
Rewinding to year 2017. A cool challenge was brewing for the exhibiting luthiers of The Holy Grail Guitar Show 2018: What if the history of electric guitar would not be dominated by men? What if the superstar guitarists from the 1960’s on were women? Would the electric guitar we know today be the same – or somehow different? In which way(s) different? Let’s design and make that guitar!
Designed by men… for men
Let’s face it – from the 1950s on to this day, the major guitar factories have been led by men. The electric guitars were designed by men – and for the most part played by men. Sure, there are exceptions, but there’s no question that the form and function of the archetypal electric guitar is extremely male dominated.
Tools for the Queen
Emma and I came to think perhaps this would be an interesting perspective for Erja Lyytinen to reflect on, with her long experience and vast success “in the biz”, representing the rare species, the female guitar hero!
To our delight Erja loved the idea, and so the development of the ‘Queen’ guitar model began! Intense conversations, me jotting down notes of what new things we could try and which characteristics should not be tempered with.
The Holy Grail Guitar Show 2018
We got the first prototype ready just in time for The Holy Grail Guitar Show 2018 as planned. Erja did a demo concert at the show and played a gig at a club in Berlin, with another featured Ruokangas artist Stella Christine as a warmup act!
It’s a wrap! Or… is it?
So how did we succeed in designing Erja’s Queen guitar? Turned out some parts of it were spot on – but certain others, not quite there yet… Darn!
Erja loved the ergonomics of the guitar – the full 25,5″ scale as she wanted, but a slightly more “compact” design and balance to adapt to Erja being a rather petite woman. She also liked the belly contour that we redesigned to better fit for a female body. And the aesthetics? She loved it!
I can’t feel the connection…
But for some reason, Erja didn’t quite feel “the connection” with the instrument. Any experienced player understands what this connection means, and yet, oftentimes the reasons are rather difficult to grasp – why one connects with a certain instrument and others not?
So the work continued! Pickups – build materials – the finesse of the neck profile and numerous other details – the conversation continued – we kept turning stones one by one in order to understand each other better.
The Blond Queen
A long story summed up – the journey with Erja and the Queen guitar model has been an extremely educating one for me as a guitar maker. The second guitar – the Blond Queen as Erja has named it – has by now found firmly its’ place in Erja’s toolbox. The guitar inspires Erja, and has helped her to develop her skills as a guitarist – and yet, my gut feeling is that we’ve only so far found the entrance on a fascinating path with heaps more to explore and discover!
The Queen of Slide Guitar
Erja Lyytinen is one of the leading blues-rock guitarists on the international touring circuit. During a recording career spanning 20 years, the High-Flying Finn has released twelve studio albums as well as several live albums. Lyytinen’s musical pallet is vast, encompassing the very best of contemporary blues-rock whilst inspired and influenced by the blues greats of yore.
Waiting For The Daylight
The artist’s last studio album Waiting for the Daylight was released in 2022 and was ranked #3 on Finland´s Official Physical Album Charts and #14 on the IBBA October Charts in the UK.
The first single released from Erja’s latest studio offering, Bad Seed was chosen as the 13th Best Rock Song of the year by Classic Rock Magazine. Furthermore, Lyytinen’s guitar solo from “Bad Seed” reached 10th place in Guitar World’s Best guitar solo of 2022 reader’s poll.
The Best Guitarist Award and more
Lyytinen has been acknowledged for her work by her fans, peers, and the industry alike with a treasure trove of accolades. This includes being ranked #2 on Total Guitar Magazine’s “10 Best Guitarists Now” poll as well as being awarded “Best Guitarist” at the 2017 European Blues Awards.
Erja made history by being the first Finnish artist nominated at Canada´s Maple Blues Awards in the B.B. King International Artist of the Year category.
A Celebration Day
On 6th December 2022 – Independence Day in Finland, the Queen of the Slide guitar was cordially invited to the Presidential Castle. An event that rounded out a wonderful year in a fitting fashion.
Hard Workin’ Woman!
In the first half of 2023, Erja Lyytinen released the latest instalment of her series of guitar tuition books. Subsequently, Lyytinen’s newest concert album Diamonds on the Road – Live 2023 will be released on the 6th of October 2023.
The artist’s busy touring schedule will see Erja Lyytinen perform on several continents during 2023 as well as her first UK shows since the pandemic.
Erja Lyytinen – Bad Seed
The first single from Erja Lyytinen’s latest studio album ‘Waiting For The Daylight’. In Erja’s words, Bad Seed is a track with a fat groove and it makes you want to move!
Erja Lyytinen – vocals, guitars
Harri Taittonen – keyboards
Tatu Back – bass
Iiro Laitinen – drums