St. Vincent, who also goes by her given name Annie Clark, will be releasing her own signature guitar in March and, while it’s certainly an impressive step for the musician, Annie says she has designed the new instrument out of necessity. Once the guitar has been released through Ernie Ball Music Man, St. Vincent will be added to a short list of notable guitarists who have released their own signature guitars. Among them are Albert Lee, John Petrucci, and Steve Morse. For Clark, however, the creation of a new guitar allows her to play with more comfort and less strain, because, as she reveals, the majority of guitars on the market aren’t designed with female guitarists in mind.
St. Vincent Designs And Creates The St. Vincent
Annie’s primary focus was to create a more female-friendly instrument, but, while she was at it, she wanted to create something that was also visually pleasing. She started by giving it a body made from African mahogany, adding a neck carved from rosewood. Three mini-humbuckers and a custom Music Man tremolo system complete the instrument, which will be offered in two colors, black or Vincent blue, with the latter color having been mixed by Clark herself.
The contours of the guitar may give it a retro appearance, but as one picks it up and handles its frame, it becomes instantly apparent that this model was also designed for contemporary ease of use.
“If you have a great instrument you’re going to play better,” Ms. Clark says. “You’re going to play up to the level of the instrument because it makes it easier for you to succeed.”
St. Vincent reveals that the idea of designing her own guitar wasn’t entirely her dream. She says representatives of Ernie Ball Music Man first approached her in spring of last year about the possibility of creating her own signature guitar. She says she jumped at the chance, excited by the whole idea of it.
Annie Clark Says Her New Guitar Addresses Two Key Issues For Female Musicians
Weight and form of a guitar have often served as obstacles to female guitarists and those with smaller bodies, but the soon to be released St. Vincent eliminates those issues with a thin form and a weight of just over seven pounds. Ms. Clark says she has faced these problems firsthand, so she knows just how prohibitive they can be.
“For me a guitar that is not too heavy is really important because I’m not a very big person. I can’t even play a Sixties Strat or Seventies Les Paul. I would need to travel with a chiropractor on tour in order to play those guitars. It’s not that those aren’t great guitars, but they render themselves impractical and unfunctional for a person like me because of their weight.”
St. Vincent says that the bigger guitars are great instruments, but they’re just not designed for smaller, thinner players. She says other guitars would cut across her waist while she played and moved about the stage, even becoming worse with costume changes, but the St. Vincent guitar is soon to change all of that. Redesigning the waist of the guitar and redistributing the weight has allowed Annie to create a more mobile instrument and, at the same time, allows female guitarists more freedom of movement by giving greater exposure to the waist.
The thin body and redesigned waist of the guitar also eases up on the tension placed on the female guitarist’s upper body, according to St. Vincent.
“There is room for a breast. Or two.”
While she had women in mind throughout the creative process, Annie Clark also wanted to create something that anyone could play. It looks like she’s succeeded.
[Image by Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images for Burberry]