H.E.R. has launched her own Fender Stratocaster today (January 11) and spoken about her desire to see more women playing instruments and producing.
The musician’s new Blue Marlin Stratocaster is limited to production in 2023 only and pays tribute to her father Kenny, with its iridescent blue finish a nod to their fishing trips together in her youth.
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In a special video feature shared alongside the guitar’s launch, H.E.R. spoke about the need for more female musicians to get behind instruments and mixing desks.
“I hope I’ve contributed to this in some way – that it’s cool to be in a band and it’s cool to play an instrument,” she said. “It’s cool to pick up an instrument and be melodic or come up with a really dope chord progression alongside songwriting.
“I’m seeing a lot of women playing guitar and killing it and I absolutely love to see that. I think we need more women who are producing, more women on the drums, more women on the bass, more women on the guitar. I think we’re now shedding light on those women and I hope that I continue to inspire.”
In a press release, H.E.R. added how she hoped her own Fender Stratocaster would build on that: “I designed my Limited Edition Stratocaster guitar with a colour, shape and sound that is 100 per cent my own so that young women and players from all backgrounds feel inspired to pick up this guitar, tap into their thoughts and create amazing music.”
The H.E.R. Blue Marlin Stratocaster will cost £1,199 and features a one-piece Maple Neck with mid-60s ‘C’ shape, Fender Vintage Noiseless Stratocaster pickups, and a custom neck plate engraved with the musician’s artwork.
In 2018, Fender’s boss spoke out about the rise of female guitar players, declaring that “the diversity of the guitar is beyond the advent of punk”. Speaking to NME, CEO Andy Mooney said what was once considered to be “the Taylor Swift Syndrome” and a temporary trend was now something far more long-lasting.
“Women’s interest in the guitar has sustained and has actually grown,” Mooney told NME. “A lot of those women who first picked up the acoustic guitar and mastered it then went ‘OK, now I want an electric guitar’. The first couple of years I was here, the acoustic guitar was growing quicker but now it’s flipped.”
He added that the “intimidation factor” of male-dominated guitar shops had decreased, thanks in part to women buying and learning the instrument online, while he credited the increase in visibility of female musicians as role models with inspiring more women to pick up the instrument.
Meanwhile, last year H.E.R. was confirmed to be playing Belle in a 30th anniversary TV special of Beauty And The Beast.
“I can’t believe I get to be a part of the Beauty And The Beast legacy,” she said at the time. “The world will see a Black and Filipino Belle! I have always wanted to be a Disney princess, and I get to work with two wonderful directors Hamish Hamilton and my favourite, Jon M. Chu.
“It’s very surreal and I couldn’t be more grateful.” The special is available to stream via Disney+ now.