By Strings Direct – 29 August, 2023
"You can be in the band, you can go buy your own guitar strings at Guitar Center, you can go and do everything the boys can do and you’re not the oddity anymore."
Nita Strauss - brainyquote.com
We've been down the rabbit hole of every type of guitar god but in this edition we're moving the spotlight onto an epic guitar goddess 🤟
Rock 'n' roll to full tilt, a real world “Heavy Metal Jackie”! We have a breakneck speed player with monster delivery and encapsulating theatricality; a player that has proved herself in a male-dominated environment simply for the fact that she is an absolute rip-roaring player. 🎸
Ranked number one in the top 10 female guitar players you should know; but gender aside arguably one of the best rock players, period.
Combining a multi-talented, multi-skilled approach utilising traditional methods and modern day online communities this lady is not only top of her game but continually evolving.
With an outstanding number of credits and achievements from WWE to Alice Cooper and everything in between, all via Sunset Boulevard 🏝, be upstanding and astounded for the absolute badass rock 'n' roll queen: Nita Strauss!
WHO IS NITA STRAUSS?
Self-Taught Shredder Rock Chic
It's always fascinating to find out how a virtuosic, out of this world guitar player starts out and when and where the fascination takes hold.
Although Los Angeles born and bred Nita hails from an Austrian bloodline. On her father’s side she has some very significant musical heritage, her family trace the family tree back to the famous composer Johann Baptist Strauss I! Fascinating information really and you hope that incredible pedigree of musical bloodline has played its part here with Nita.
Born Vinita Sandhya Strauss on 7th December 1986 in LA, California, a very standard upbringing led to an intervention, this was of course when the mysterious pull and magic of music entered Nita’s young life.
Completely self-taught, self driven, and wholeheartedly determined Nita fascinatingly developed herself into a master player from very humble beginnings.
"My dad is a bass player by trade but plays a little guitar, so he taught me my first few chords and everything, but I wanted to be Steve Vai. My dad, as a bass player, is a great musician, but he's not a shredder guy. And we had no money growing up though, I could not afford lessons, I couldn't afford even a nice guitar.
I started out with the Squier Strat pack, which comes as the black and white Strat, it comes with a little amp and a handful of picks, and a cable, and things for 100 bucks. And the first thing I did was go get a black pickguard and swap that out before I even learned how to play a note. So I've always been modifying my guitars, since Day 1. And then I really gravitated towards the instructional videos. I did go and buy the Rock Discipline DVD at Guitar Center but the rest of it, it was hard to find anywhere. I was just going and downloading these crappy-resolution videos, and watching Frank Gambale spin around with his background dancers and learning how to play the modes. So that was my education, really, taking lessons watching these videos that were way too advanced for me, and skipping over the basics entirely. “
Excerpt - https://bravewords.com/news/nita-strauss-looks-back-on-learning-how-to-play-guitar-i-wanted-to-be-steve-vai-video
Strauss has become a force to be reckoned within the music world. Starting as a teenager playing VFW halls and Battle of the Bands, she has built a career that has taken her to six continents and playing to over a million audience members every year, including massive festivals, NFL games, and even Wrestlemania.
She is one of the most sought after clinicians in the industry and has taught workshops in the US, Canada, Europe, UK, South America, Asia, and Australia. Nita is the author of the Guitar World column “Like a Hurricane” and Premier Guitar column “Drop Dead Shred”.
HOW TO THRIVE AS A WOMAN IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY
Nita has some incredibly balanced views and perceptions on being a successful female rock-metal guitarist in a male-dominated environment in today's society.
“There's no sense crying over the hand you're dealt in life but it may be a little bit harder to get taken seriously as a female in this business and I'm sure I don't need to tell you about that but as long as you look at it as, "How can this be a great thing," it is a great thing.
There are no apologies for being a female in heavy metal and especially not in 2019. I just played at the Whisky and landed a sold out headline show there. I remember playing there when I was 15-16 years old and there were no other girls in bands. There was nobody really to look up to and it was really odd to be the girl in the band.
Now it's not weird anymore - it's not odd anymore and the biggest motivator for me is continuing to show the world that it's just not weird to be a girl and play an instrument. You can be in the band, you can go buy your own guitar strings at Guitar Center, you can go and do everything the boys can do and you're not the oddity anymore.”
Quote via - Loudwire.com
CAREER ACHIEVEMENTS OF NITA STRAUSS
Enigmatic Entrepreneur Rocker
Hugely respected and widely appreciated within the industry Nita has duly approached the role of professional guitarist in the right way for the modern age; her level of sustainability within the industry is really something to admire, she has managed to channel every avenue outside of just being a mind blowing guitar player, not only has she played many amazing shows and TV performances that's literally just the tip of the iceberg with this incredible woman.
Involved in almost every aspect of the industry and in touch with peers and fans , Strauss is seen as a huge influencer on the young and upcoming guitar playing community, especially young female guitar players. Nita has given identity and next generational inspiration to the future of rock 'n' roll.
A fairytale story is only a fairytale for the reader, hard work is rewarded with big gains and credit where credit is due Nita has obtained substantial domination in the industry through nothing but skill and hard work.
“I actually started touring at 15, I did my first national tour on summer break when I was 15 with my local band, kept doing smaller tours here and there after that. And then I dropped out of high school in junior year to pursue music full-time. I've been doing it ever since. I was really lucky."
Nita Strauss - bravewords.com
Early experiences and inquisitive discoveries of original bands began to run their course for Nita and more was desired.
Gaining industry work as a session player as a female guitarist was more of a challenge than it should've been until she managed to become involved with the all-female based project “The Iron Maidens” Iron Maiden tribute that was the initial niche; but this of course created great novel interest and was in fact a gateway for Nita to future developments and possibilities.
This project gave Nita positive exposure within a hard-edged industry and the next stop was to be the official in-house guitarist for the Los Angeles Kiss (LA KISS), the arena football team owned by Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS. The house band played the national anthem and provided additional music during the games.
This incredible project again gave her serious recognition within the industry and 2014 would be a definitive year.
Strauss was hired through reputation to replace Orianthi in Alice Cooper's band to see out the rest of the tour dates for 2014. This was an incredibly pivotal moment because long-term commitment was gained as Nita blew audiences away night after night along with Alice Cooper and his band, such a demanding show to stand out in but Strauss is so engaging and politely rocks out to the max night after night. 💥
NITA STRAUSS SIGNATURE GEAR
Signature Axe to Sensational Teacher
To be a guitar hero you really need to have some form of guitar gear after your name and the holy grail is of course a signature model guitar! Nita does not disappoint and has earned her place in Rock 'n' Roll royalty 👑 with Ibanez. 🎸
Over the years Strauss has graced a large number of guitar magazines for good reason she is up there with the best of them as a speed picking shredder that literally face melts with her solos and overall performance.
Being such a sensation has not gone unnoticed and her passion for guitars and modifying guitars which she has been doing since a young age has shone through and Ibanez have answered the call ☎️.
Nita is the first female guitarist to have a signature guitar series with Ibanez, called the Ibanez JIVA, and signature pickups, the DiMarzio Pandemonium, this is an incredible achievement on a personal level but a truly landmark historical step forward for future generations.
“I wanted to make a guitar that fit my personality and a lot of people go, "Why didn't you do pink? Why didn't you do this? Or that?" Have you ever seen me play a pink guitar? [laughs] I do have one but it's playing a pink guitar isn't really my thing. I wanted to do something that was uniquely me and having a black to natural maple finish where you can see the wood grain through. I wanted to make it look just sleek and classy and neutral.
With the functionality of the guitar, everything from the woods to the pickups to the neck shape — everything was designed by me, meticulously and personally.
When a lot of people have asked me, "Did you just slap your name on a guitar they already made?" The answer is absolutely not. I chose every single detail of it - the African mahogany body, quilted maple top, the ebony fretboard, the purple heart and maple neck. Everything about it was what I chose to be what I felt was the best combination of woods for the best sounds.
I designed the pickups, the pickups are my signature pickups — DiMarzio Pandemonium — the whole thing just really worked cohesively to be the perfect guitar for the way I play and for the way I think a lot of others play as well.”
Quote via - loudwire.com
Nita Strauss has been an Ibanez official artist for 10 years, since September 2008 and so this guitar is long overdue. The Ibanez JIVA is a mahogany S Series model with a quilted maple ‘black to blonde’ burst top called Deep Space Blonde and is equipped with an Edge Zero-II bridge and has a cool dark ebony fretboard with a heartbeat for a fret inlay, just like on an ECG machine.
"I’ve been designing my signature guitar in my head since I started playing guitar - and the JIVA is that dream come to life. From the tone woods to the sleek design to the incredibly versatile sounds, this guitar is everything I've ever wanted!”
Not that this career woman does enough in the world of music she dedicate herself to another side of the industry, the development of the next generation she is hugely passionate about supporting through proactive development of the next generation of rock 'n' roll/metal players coming through.
Online teaching portals, forums, clinics and courses are another one of her incredible talents, it's not easy to teach and convey when you are this naturally gifted and well versed in your instrument but this rock goddess does it with ease and natural ability and somehow she fits this into her already overbooked schedule in the world of rock 'n' roll…. Amazing 🤩!
“Rock Guitar Fundamentals is an online teaching program developed by guitarist Nita Strauss with a simple goal- getting guitars in as many people’s hands as possible, and helping improve their playing. Nita developed a 3 module system where aspiring learners can jump in wherever their skill level is, from picking up the guitar for the very first time to advanced players who want to brush up on music theory or learn some “shred” tips and tricks. “
NITA STRAUSS GUITAR STRINGS
Strauss Steel 🎼
A truly ferocious player that rocks hard and shows no mercy or apologies in her playing style, Nita is definitely no light touch player and is going to require a string that's going to put up a fight and withstand the heat of a highly charged Alice Cooper rock 'n' roll show and so much more.
As expected the lady’s string choice is both practical and divine, stylistically the gauge is heavier than expected because of the breakneck speed the virtuoso that is Strauss tends to play I was genuinely expecting a lighter gauge.
"I'll break the machine heads, bridges and saddles on my guitars, but I'll never break a string. D'Addario strings are the only ones I trust to stand up to constant abuse!"
Via - https://www.daddario.com/artists/guitar/nita_strauss/
Heavily favouring the NYXL series Nita Will clearly accept no substitute and who are we or D’Addario to disagree with her, describing how the strings work for her as an individual player is a spot-on overview in our opinion.
“I don't know the secret ingredient in the NYXL's, but I am as obsessed with these strings now as I always have been. They're gauge 10-46, and if I don't use them, I hear and feel a noticeable difference.
If there's a time that I just need to go and pick up strings and they don't have NYXLs... I was never really a string person, it was more about the lifespan of the string, and now that I have been so used to NYXLs, I really do feel a difference.
They do have the longest life to it, of any strings I've used. I would say that I change strings on this term, we do seven shows a week on this tour, and we change strings once a week, if that, and that's mostly just for the sake of doing it.
The bridge is so stable on these [Ibanez Jiva signature] guitars, the Edge Zero 2 bridge, and these strings are so strong, I can actually remember the last string I broke... it was at NAMM 2016, I want to say, so I think these strings have definitely proved themselves.
I do not break strings unless I'm changing strings and I overstretch one, that's really the only time.”
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