Quick! Name a really great female guitarist. (I’ll wait.)
Hard-pressed? Sure, we’ve got a lot of guitar players, but if your mind goes blank after naming a couple of singer-songwriters, then you’re not alone. It’s the guys who usually take center stage, but not with someone like Vicki Genfan around. Last weekend, she was the only woman out of 10 finalists to compete for Guitar Player magazine’s Superstar 2008. Judges included guitar gods Steve Vai (Whitesnake, Frank Zappa) and Elliot Easton (the Cars). (Yeah, they’re men. You’re not surprised, right?)
The competition was held at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Genfan was the sixth to play, dazzling them with her two-handed tapping technique on the acoustic guitar (one of only two finalists to play an acoustic). Women, this technique is hurt-your-fingers hard. She takes her right hand away from the body of the guitar and taps the strings on the neck then returns so quickly to slam out a flurry of notes that you’ll swear she has three hands.
Judge Easton joked that maybe she was “too good” for this competition, with Vai adding that maybe she should run for vice president. (I’m thinking yes, but only if she can see Russia from her house.)
At the end of the evening, Genfan was announced as the winner, taking home more than $12,000 in prizes. I’ve watched the video of this about 10 times, and every time I cheer so loudly I scare my cats.
Her tour schedule only shows concerts for San Francisco, the Czech Republic and Germany. In the past, though, she’s played all over the states (including Provincetown) and on an Olivia tour. Ah, so there is a chance for me to see her live. I’ll leave the cats at home.
How cool is this, women? Have you heard of Genfan before? Are you ready to download a few tunes and check her tour schedule?