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“I was a 10-year-old fan of Pearl Jam and Nirvana, and I would’ve got into a fistfight defending them. Art mattered.” 

St. Vincent - TheGuardian

The future is very much upon us and evolution is speeding up faster than a sweep picked arpeggio.

Reinvention and innovation is the new normal, going back is nothing but nostalgia, going forward is everything in achievement, breaking new boundaries and freeing your mind to self expression is exactly where the path leads for many creative beings.

A truly relative introduction for this week's future proof string guest. 🤘

A musician, singer, songwriter, guitar player, and producer carrying two Grammy awards along with many other accolades, here we find a globally recognised artist built on individuality and unapologetic creativity.

An artist known for shaping and shifting a vast array of sounds effects and textures. Razor sharp revolutionary contextual artist of tones 🔊

Annie Clark - Aka. St. Vincent

Photography Credit - Andy Sheppard/Redferns via Getty Images

Guitarist - Funky Feminist 🎼 

We begin this chapter in a nostalgic fashion looking back at Tulsa, Oklahoma on 28th September 1982 to be precise, Annie Clark was born.

Clark's mother was a social worker and administrator for a non-profit organisation and her father worked in tax administration.

At the age of three she was on the move to Dallas, Texas to live with her mother and two sisters after her parents had separated.

Growing up spending much of her time surrounded by strong independent women Clark does feel that she is somewhat of a feminist, based around girl power but not exclusively a feminist more like an influenced feminist.

“And Mom’s mantra was: ‘We girls can do anything.’ She didn’t explicitly call it feminism, but it was baked into our DNA.”

St. Vincent - TheGuardian

Photograph via: Guitar.com

Musical inspiration and curiosity arrived at an early age through a number of avenues, her first key source of inspiration was an early obsession with the classic movie La Bamba.

As a young child she would draw images of guitars associated with what she had seen in the movie, clearly this was an early indication of her incredible eye for design.

At the age of five she was given a red plastic toy guitar for Christmas by her mother, this will turn out to be her favourite possession until she reached the age of 12 and she obtained her first real guitar.

“I was really obsessed with guitars from the time I was young,” she explains. “My uncle is an amazing guitar player, Tuck Andress [of jazz duo Tuck & Patti], and I remember when we were growing up, we had his old student guitar, which was a Kay, and the action was so high. I still can’t play it, the action is so high! It’s still in the closet somewhere at my mom’s house.”

St. Vincent - Guitar.com

Musical inspiration within the extended family came through her uncle and aunt who were in a touring Jazz and vocal duo. Interest in playing and individual creativity began to blossom.

Music was her main obsession: “I was a 10-year-old fan of Pearl Jam and Nirvana, and I would’ve got into a fistfight defending them. Art mattered.” Her maternal uncle, Tuck Andress, was a touring musician, half of a jazz duo called Tuck & Patti, and during the summer Clark graduated from high school he gave her a job assisting his band on tour. Clark enrolled at a music college in Boston after that and lasted a couple of years before dropping out and heading back out on the road, this time as a musician in her own right. She toured successfully as part of the expansive, experimental band the Polyphonic Spree and later as a guitarist for Sufjan Stevens.”

St. Vincent - The Guardian 

 St. Vincent - Getty Images

The playing style developed by a young Annie Clark is truly awe-inspiring as it has a mechanical yet precise nature to it with some form of freedom and appears inspirational based pushing the boundaries at every opportunity.

Lady Of Rock. Fearless Creator. 🎼 


St. Vincent - Guitar.com

As a guitar player Annie developed extremely fluently with great support and mentoring from her uncle Tuck. He recognised her incredible talents and gave her the right opportunities by setting her up as a tour manager with his and his wife's touring duo, Annie later became the opening act.

The very individual relationship Annie Clark has with guitar is very interesting as she sees it as both friend and foe and most importantly a creative weapon. 🎸 

“In some ways I feel very reverent about guitar. I love it so much,” Clark told NPR’s Ann Powers at SXSW in 2014. “But I also don’t care about it being a guitar or sounding like a guitar.” Sufjan confirmed as much in a recent New Yorker profile on his former bandmate: “At that time, there were a dozen musicians touring in my band, and there was always a moment in the set where people could ‘take a solo,’” he said. “All the men usually just played a lot of notes really fast. But, when Annie’s turn came, she refused to do the obvious white-male masturbatory thing on the guitar. Instead, she played her effects pedals. She made such weird sounds. It was like the Loch Ness monster giving birth inside a silo.”

St. Vincent - vulture.com


As an artist and a designer her creativity is unparalleled the way she brings guitar into electronic-based compositions really is something quite refreshing and futuristic to the ear.

The video she creates in sync with the musical piece are also just as fascinating, a key creator of our time and a key evolutionary musician for a generation to come - Ahead of her time in every respect.


St. Vincent - Guitar.com


The freedom of her creativity comes very much from her personality and her standing point on many controversial and introvert subjects.

Annie attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, she was a student of three years but after much cross-examination of the educational system and everything instead of four she left with the opinion that all forms of education have this type of grading a measurement aspect of your achievements or talents.

Annie decided that just wasn't the path she wanted to go down and had a belief that you couldn't really right or justify talent with grades and recognition in the traditional educational aspect.

“While all that is good and has its place, at some point you have to learn all you can and then forget everything that you learned in order to actually start making music.”

St. Vincent - Wikipedia

In her early 20s Annie Clark moved to New York City and thanks to her outgoing personality she reinvented herself as St. Vincent, borrowing the name St Vincent from one of the city’s hospitals, by way of its mention in a Nick Cave song. (St Vincent’s hospital was where “Dylan Thomas died drunk”, as Cave sang in There She Goes, My Beautiful World.)


Signature Axe & Strings Of A Saint 👼 

As we conclude coverage on this incredible artist we can't fail to mention St. Vincent’s incredible signature Music Man guitar:

“Designed entirely to her own specifications, the St. Vincent Signature Music Man features three Dimarzio mini humbuckers and a lightweight body made from Okoume, which allows the guitar to weigh just over 7lbs 5oz or 3.3kg (for reference, a standard Fender Stratocaster weighs about 8lbs/3.6kg and Les Pauls usually weigh between 9-12lbs/4-5.4kg).

The body design took inspiration from Clark’s Harmony Bobkat guitar, as well as artistic cues from 1970s Japanese design, Russian artist Kazimir Malevich and undoubtedly other sources as well. The outcome is a shape that looks similar to a Gibson Firebird, but with the bolt-on neck construction more commonly found on Fender-style instruments.

Keeping the weight of the guitar down as much as possible was an important consideration for Clark, as was making sure it was a comfortable to play in both standing and seated positions.”

Overview via - playerspec.com


A very favourable relationship and massive level of respect for the team at Ernie Ball Music Man, St. Vincent really couldn't be seen using any other strings than the voice of rock 'n' roll 🤘.


“Which brings up the question, do you always play in standard? Do you use alternate tunings or anything like that?

Yeah, I use a lot of alternate tunings. I never play in standard E. I drop everything down a whole step, so it’s D G C F A D. That just ends up being better for my voice. And for songs like “Regret” and “Birth in Reverse” I was playing around with some tunings—and I honestly can’t remember exactly what they were now—that had multiple strings tuned to the same note.”

St. Vincent - Guitarworld.com

The preferred set of strings is very standard, however the uses are somewhat more interesting... tuned down a whole step to D so this would be very Slinky indeed but this would also be relative to how the guitar is set up and if the action is adjusted higher or there is less tension on the truss rod to create more overall tension on the string, we also see the mention of a different gauge being .012-.054 this is of course for alternative tunings again and possibly specifically for certain songs and riffs - using the higher gauge for the alternative tuning would be to encapsulate the sound and feel of a standard  (preferred) gauge tuned up, interesting points from a truly fascinating player. 🎸 ⚡️. 

Image via - Paste Magazine

“Annie Clark’s affinity with Ernie Ball doesn’t end with their Music Man range of guitars, the musician has also said that she uses Ernie Ball Slinky strings on her electric guitars.

As Well as using the "regular" .010 gauge strings, in a 2011 interview with Premier Guitar, she also mentions using .012 gauges:

"On “Year of the Tiger,” I actually do a super-metal tuning—down to a low F#, super sludgy and slimy—with .012-gauge strings and a .054 on the bottom.”

Overview via - playerspec.com

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