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St. Vincent’s Signature Guitars: VICE News Tonight on HBO

November 3, 2019


The singer-songwriter St. Vincent
has toured with Sufjan Stevens, made an album with David Byrne, and won a Grammy as a solo artist. And now, she’s the first woman to
design her own line of signature guitars. Mary H.K. Choi went to Los Angeles to see what it’s like to build an
instrument from the ground up. For an instrument that’s been around
since before the 15th century, you’d think the modern guitar
would have seen a lot of changes. Precious few innovations have been
made available outside of custom models. Left-handed players, like Jimi Hendrix, restrung right-handed guitars
to accommodate his style. And when Kurt Cobain was asked why
he seemed to favor inexpensive guitars, he says that was what he could afford before offers of personalized guitars came in. Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, is the first woman ever to create her own
electric guitar for the mass market. It’s a big step in changing expectations of the traditionalist canon of guitar: a bunch of dudes arguing the merits
of a Strat versus a Les Paul. — When we say that this is, like,
the first guitar of its kind, that’s been created by a woman, we’re not saying expressly that
it’s only for women, right? — No, it’s not. I think I’m partly responsible for
the press story that became, that I made a guitar only for women, because I was joking on Instagram, “Check out my new guitar,” you know,
“there’s room for a breast, or two!” You know, like, I thought I was
making an absurdist joke. — But this guitar went out
to people like Dave Grohl, and Beck and, like, Omar from the Mars Volta. — Yeah, he’s ripping it. After the initial drawings and a lot of talk, about pickups, and wood, and color, and ergonomics, pretty much every week, there would be a new prototype for me to check out. So, we kept making adjustments, and making sure that the balance felt right, and making sure that it was
as comfortable to play sitting as it was standing up. — Yeah, get you a guitar that can do both. — Yeah, exactly! — Coming of age during a kind of guitar heyday, St. Vincent cites grunge, metal, and
classic rock, like Led Zeppelin, as influences, but felt marginalized as
a young female player. — There was that kind of explosion of,
quote, enquote, “women in music.” There were a couple guitar brands
that purported to cater specifically to women, and they were, like, pink, or flower-shaped. As a kid, like, trying to work out
Pantera riffs, I was so offended. — Where do you hope this guitar will live
in the sort of pantheon of guitars? — I wanted people to actually play it, and not have it be like, “Well, it’s this
totem of this guitar player I like,” but actually, like, make
their own things with it. It’s really—it’s a great player guitar. I mean, I play it. It’s the only thing I play now. And not for any other reason than I just— — Purely for vanity reasons! — Yeah, exactly! — Ernie Ball Music Man is the company
behind the St. Vincent model. They’ve been crafting guitars
in California since 1984, and collaborated directly with St. Vincent. — This isn’t like a white label situation,
where someone was like, “Hey! Would you put your name on this thing?” — Right, yeah. — So, soup-to-nuts, you created this thing. Yeah, no. It’s not a celebrity endorsement deal. Like, stand next to this thing, hold it. It’s like… tabula rasa, you know? Carte blanche. Go for it.

100 Comments

  • Reply Keith Firth September 7, 2017 at 3:46 am

    I don't really understand. The guitar looks like shit. How did they even release this?
    It may sound good, but who will play it, except for st. Vincent ?

  • Reply Taylor Gutierrez September 9, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    When you just now listen to this and hear a sample of St. Vincent's "Los Ageless"

  • Reply Santiago Roó September 11, 2017 at 9:32 pm

    Ugliest guitar I've ever seen.

  • Reply 김영준 September 14, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Annie spoling LA riffs 🙂

  • Reply Ken Chuba September 19, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    This is bullshit. Sophie Dockx did all this a long time ago. Dorian Guitars.

  • Reply Michael Cambron September 20, 2017 at 12:11 am

    Wow the riff she plays at 1:03 is from her new song Los Ageless

  • Reply Adrian Villalobos September 20, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    That guitar looks amazing!!! I love it.

  • Reply Dylan López Maureira September 20, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    WOW THIS IS THE RIFF OF LOS AGELESS 1:01

  • Reply Nathan Lange September 25, 2017 at 12:13 am

    So actually Susana Hoff of The Bangals was the first woman to design her own signature model of guitar with rickenbacker back in 80's. It was a unique design rickenbacker hadnt offered before or since.
    Since then there have been a ton of female signature models but I cant really think of or find one that wasnt basically a pre existing design with a name put on it.
    I love st.vincent but sorry the tag line isnt true

  • Reply Usman Ahmed October 5, 2017 at 11:59 am

    1:01 She played Los Ageless and no one knew this was a new song!

  • Reply Mike Jim October 6, 2017 at 8:47 am

    She plays Los Ageless ❤️

  • Reply Thomas Doyle October 7, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    Her guitar looks amazing

  • Reply Grant Greider October 8, 2017 at 6:10 pm

    She secretly debuted the riff of “Los Ageless” here

  • Reply Luke Skywalker October 10, 2017 at 1:20 am

    Anybody else notice her showing off the riff for Los Ageless?

  • Reply David Cremin October 10, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    That los ageless guitar riff

  • Reply Cucumber Melon October 15, 2017 at 9:16 am

    Hmm… should I spend a shit tone of money on this thing or spend that same amount on a guitar that doesnt look/sound like shit.

  • Reply Kenneth Johnson October 17, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    wow. you can make anything into a gender issue.

  • Reply deloreanized October 19, 2017 at 10:40 am

    But does it DJENT?

  • Reply transtremm October 21, 2017 at 12:48 am

    Mary Kay, Bonnie Rate, Courtney Love all had custom Fender guitars.

  • Reply transtremm October 21, 2017 at 12:49 am

    The Dutches from Bo Diddley’s group also had a custom model guitar.

  • Reply Lisa R October 21, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Yay. An Asian woman celebrating the "firsts" of white women again. My peeve. In the meantime, no white female owned American record labels even sign Asians to record deals. OK, I have issues. Yay another white woman first. Wtg. Wake me up when an Asian woman guitarist gets a record deal or when an established Asian female artist in Asia gets commercially promoted in the USA.

  • Reply Boy Aditya October 23, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Woa.. Omar Rodriguez have st. Vincent's left handed Guitar? … awesome

  • Reply Tabloid Junkie October 25, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Courtney Love had a custom Fender first actually

  • Reply RokinLee October 26, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Mary Kaye?

  • Reply Clyde Bigsby October 31, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    she is not the first female artist to make a signature model

  • Reply Ludvig Roxström November 3, 2017 at 5:39 am

    wow! it looks so beautiful!

  • Reply Kieren Moore November 3, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Great artist. Would love to share a bottle of wine with her … That's a great sounding guitar, too!

  • Reply Denny Ablack November 13, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    I love St Vincent… interesting body shape reminiscent of the gibson explorer.. she's very creative so this guitar would definitely be made for exploration!

  • Reply Theodor Bergström November 13, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    The most original looking signature guitar I’ve seen in awhile.

  • Reply RL R November 22, 2017 at 1:37 am

    When you wondered if Ernie Ball could come with something uglier than the Bongo bass…and they did it here with this ugly thing.

  • Reply RL R November 22, 2017 at 1:39 am

    Here is the extent of her participation in the "design" of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uTQbaah9wc

  • Reply x!SaecredChaotix!x November 27, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Also not all women have breast. And not all people with breasts are women.

  • Reply Grant Novak November 30, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    The riff for Los Ageless! Six months before that song's release. https://youtu.be/HF7-7RLwCDE?t=62

  • Reply lvndrmnc December 5, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    The first woman to design her own line of signature guitars? Really?? Joan Jett, Susanna Hoffs, Grace Potter, Orianthi, Bonnie Raitt, Nancy Wilson, Lzzy Hale, Courtney Love, Avril Lavigne, Lita Ford… Jesus christ VICE who wrote this

  • Reply alex chalakee January 13, 2018 at 7:33 am

    She's hot. The guitar is nice too.

  • Reply bob loblaw January 30, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    The guitar sounds great……she doesn’t. Not getting what the hype is about.

  • Reply Scott Petersen February 3, 2018 at 2:06 am

    "Precious few innovations have been made." Suuuuuuuure, VICE, the violin has been totally reworked in the last 100 years. The electric guitar was only invented a few decades ago, guys.

  • Reply Abc Def February 25, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    But how does she sit on that couch?

  • Reply semiLive sixstring strumist February 28, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    Its a better looking guitar than any Fender or Gibson new guitar Ever! I never wanted a Sig. guitar ever! Until Now! I will have one of these pieces of playable Art!

  • Reply mina March 1, 2018 at 1:48 am

    I wish it weren't £400 🙁

  • Reply Liam Tahaney March 21, 2018 at 1:56 am

    Uggggh no don't politice an instrument please

  • Reply yaoihunter March 24, 2018 at 12:43 am

    its honestly grown on me
    I still don't like it, but I don't hate it

  • Reply González Ragan Amparo March 30, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    Brasil 🤘🤘

  • Reply Sean Landis April 1, 2018 at 11:49 pm

    There's a lot of confusion here by people who think that a 'signature' guitar is somehow more than a slightly modified existing guitar. Very few artists, men or women, have been fully present to collaborate on an entirely new design. There's a video of the process she went through to design the guitar with Ernie Ball. She even blended the paints she wanted and defined a unique wiring for the selector switch. It was very hands on. Be curious who else has had the opportunity to do that. I can think of EVH, Les Paul, Alan Holdsworth, Frank Gambale, and Brian May. Who else?

  • Reply Pablo Hernandez April 17, 2018 at 3:03 am

    "As a kid, like, trying to workout Pantera riffs I was so offended"

  • Reply Gartgantua May 10, 2018 at 1:03 am

    pretty much most signature guitars, with a few exceptions, are simply stock models, slightly modified to the artists specification, i'm surprised most of the gear heads commenting here aren't aware of that. the sussanah hoffs rickenbacker just looks like a rickenbacker, nothing unique about that. This is the first sig guitar by a female artist that has been designed to erganomically(have i spelled that right?) suit the female body shape.

  • Reply Capt'n Shred May 10, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    “As a kid trying to work out pantera riffs, I was so offended”. Omg Annie is my hero.

  • Reply Joolz Forrest May 16, 2018 at 4:44 am

    I fell for this guitar since I saw it had no idea of st.Vincent at the time I first laid eyes on it

  • Reply Matthew Smith May 23, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    "As a kid, trying to work out Pantera riffs!!!" I knew I liked this lady!!!

  • Reply starphaser May 24, 2018 at 2:24 am

    She's such an amazing guitarist!

  • Reply Logan Randall June 4, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    "As a kid tryna learn Pantera riffs" haha fucking love it

  • Reply jamesha175 June 10, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    it's not a spaceship

  • Reply orley June 16, 2018 at 3:11 pm

    Vice manages to politicize a guitar.

  • Reply Mottahead June 21, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    She's the worst guitar player ever.
    She's a joke.

  • Reply zepsett July 3, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    So few guitarists anymore….let's all get endorsements.

    -btw: what a STUPID question to lead off the interview. Clearly damage control from her misunderstood socials.

  • Reply Andrew T. Ernst July 21, 2018 at 3:54 am

    courtney love had her own guitar in the 90s i thought?

  • Reply Andrew T. Ernst July 21, 2018 at 3:57 am

    bonnie raitt had a signature strat too… i mean i get the point but there were female shredders in the 90s for sure.

  • Reply Gabe Morehouse July 22, 2018 at 8:55 pm

    lmao this bih

  • Reply Ky-El July 23, 2018 at 5:02 am

    Christ, just mention that a female has a signature guitar and watch all the MGTOW virgins come out the woodworks to speak their minds

  • Reply Carson Costanza July 24, 2018 at 5:06 am

    This video is full of kinda wrong information… not st Vincent’s fault Just poor journalism

  • Reply Martini Blank July 27, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    Squier Venus!!!

  • Reply Jason Andrew August 1, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    lol, if you're so mad about it, make your own fucking guitar.

  • Reply Shrapnel Head August 1, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    She was offended by trying to learn Pantera riffs?

  • Reply Ecphantus the Pythagorean August 2, 2018 at 5:16 am

    BLECH!!! Want to see and hear real talent playing on great guitars, who happen to be women? Click here to hear Tatyana Ryzhkova: https://youtu.be/zaF0vu_AMSo

    or Jessica Kaiser here: https://youtu.be/-NT1jRnajLM

    or Julia Lange here: https://youtu.be/kV-3lhEftbg

    or Ana Vidovic here: https://youtu.be/dmc6KV0_UVM

    VICE "News", you should remove the word "NEWS" from your channel, as you did not even bother to search what's publicly available on YouTube.
    Here is Tina S. at 13 or 14 years old, playing Paganini/Steve Vai on her electric guitar. I bet she can fix her own guitars too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5palqRYOCzs

  • Reply w/e August 5, 2018 at 6:18 am

    I mean, I adore Annie and the achievement of being the first woman to do something, but Ringo Sheena got her own mass-produced signature guitar series like 15 years ago.

  • Reply SchizophrenicDolphinz August 7, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    Didn’t Courtney love have a weird signature model in the 90s

  • Reply SchizophrenicDolphinz August 7, 2018 at 7:51 pm

    Played one of these at warped tour was pretty nice

  • Reply nope nope August 11, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    While i don't think this interview is feminist propaganda like some people do in the comments i still don't like the interview because she really didn't go into much detail about what makes the guitar special although i do like the aesthetic in my opinion

  • Reply Clarissa Gomez August 13, 2018 at 4:35 am

    She’s so talented damn not only is she an amazing artist but also created her own fucking guitar iconic

  • Reply Chairman Lmao August 25, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    Of course Vice has to make it about gender.

  • Reply A Person October 16, 2018 at 2:27 am

    Goddamn I want one

  • Reply omnicron701 October 17, 2018 at 10:08 am

    This is a down piece. Plenty of women have had sigs. Also women love playing guitars period regardless of aim. Bipartisan angles at its best to sell. Let people play what they play.

  • Reply omnicron701 October 17, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Lzzy hale would piss on your push piece.

  • Reply itz fuze October 18, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    St. Vincent acts so pro act guitar but she plays the most simplest riffs in history

  • Reply Willie Stroker October 24, 2018 at 3:42 am

    Tried on out yesterday it’s actually an amazing instrument. Well made and surprisingly really comfortable to hold and play.

  • Reply TheGreaterGood80 November 14, 2018 at 5:24 am

    1) She's not the first woman with a signature guitar
    2) There have been many many innovations on guitars since the 50's. Way to do lazy research(I know I know…..it's Vice)
    3) There is nothing inherently wrong or sexist about a bunch of dudes arguing whether strats or les paul.
    4) Offset guitar designs are not new. The St. Vincent is unique, but still familiar. It's like a boxy cousin of an Explorer.
    5) Please hire a musician to interview musicians next time.

  • Reply The Wedge November 17, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    She was offended by Pantera?? huh? was it by the vulgar display of power?

  • Reply funkmaster3k n0xx November 26, 2018 at 1:34 am

    AFAIK this it's the first guitar designed by a woman… Courtney Love designed the "Venus", which formed a sort of "couple" with the Jagstang designed by Kurt Cobain.

    But in all honesty, the Venus was a bit gimmicky as a guitar, and looks and plays more like an unfinished "prototype" than a well thought out instrument: It's thin sounding and clinking, has a stylish but not very practical bridge that's prone to string breakage, and it's very much an homage to the Teisco-style Japanese guitars of the 60s that became the favorites of the garage/alternative/punk rock scene in the 70s and 80s. And as such, it can never be a great instrument, because a great instrument transcends genre.

    A Saint Vincent's guitar is a different beast entirely: It's a proper instrument. It's clearly inspired by the 60s Non-Reverse Firebirds, but then again only loosely. It has a functioning trem, a distinctive choice of pickups, and it's overall a great alternative to a Firebird.

  • Reply Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest November 29, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    I just wish the headstock was different on all ernie balls

  • Reply Constantinos Mavroyannis December 11, 2018 at 10:17 am

    makes sense it would be vice to cover the world's ugliest guitar

  • Reply Mila Ortiz January 9, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    Yes, it is a celebrity endorsement. It follows an esthetic value more than effective performance instrument with ergonomic features. But probably it's what music industry wants nowadays, giving more attention to image than the real and deep significance of art. That riff was very goofy btw.

  • Reply Psychedelic Lizard February 12, 2019 at 8:06 am

    If a guy had designed the 100th slightly different Stratocaster guitar then everyone would just shut up and assume it's the most original thing since the automobile.

    Male Privilege is a real and disgusting thing, and I know those words combined will piss in someone's Cheerios so I'm going to keep saying them.

  • Reply Jake Lamb February 12, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Uh Nita Strauss?

  • Reply Meh February 14, 2019 at 12:20 am

    That guitar is a must!

  • Reply gogo February 23, 2019 at 5:43 am

    but it's damn expensive…sorry vincent, i can't

  • Reply Solo Gaming February 28, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    I get that she is the first woman to design a guitar for the mass market but why's it such a big deal. We have things like guitars with no headstocks, evertune bridges and fan frets now. I think it's a cool sig model but it's hardly the most innovative guitar ever made, it's not far off a gibson explorer and that's been around since the late 50's.

  • Reply theWARMJET March 2, 2019 at 4:51 am

    She sucks

  • Reply Kristofer Ramirez March 11, 2019 at 7:29 am

    If a man plays that guitar, some idiot would say that guy is gay.because the idiot doesn't anything about guitars. But who cares right? Its a gorgeous guitar and i want one.

  • Reply Ronin 77 March 13, 2019 at 12:15 am

    This is a beautiful guitar

  • Reply AtotheV March 13, 2019 at 3:23 am

    So apparently Vice hasn't heard of Orianthi?

  • Reply VonBoyage April 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm

    1:16 anyone have an idea what song the background song is? or if theirs music with a similar riff and sound?

  • Reply Guilherme Andrade April 9, 2019 at 3:40 am

    Didn't Courtney Love have a signature guitar called Venus?

  • Reply Nathan F May 13, 2019 at 12:52 am

    That initial drama wasn't Annie Clark's fault at all. She didn't say anything controversial. Idiots interpreted her words wrong.

  • Reply Vini Miranda May 13, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    I wonder how many Music Man's signature they have sold??? Your a lucky Lady… BUT bring nothing to the table…. SERIOUSLY Music Man?? WOWwwwwwww… Shame

  • Reply Jack the Lad May 21, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    Offended by Pantera riffs? This is bullshit.

  • Reply Mykhedelic ***** June 1, 2019 at 2:46 am

    It's an excellent guitar by an excellent maker designed by someone who happens to be penisless. The hammer doesn't require one, the TV remote doesn't require one, the torch, the saxophone, nearly everything. Buy this guitar and speak your mind (THAT organ is required.)

  • Reply mk ds June 3, 2019 at 9:37 pm

    Guitars have never claimed to be associated with a gender lol. If you didn’t want a flower guitar to play pantera, why didn’t you get a dean? It has similar top shape to your signature model. I smell a whole heaping mound of virtue signaling here. Vice is fake news!

  • Reply Vinicius Ferreira June 8, 2019 at 12:09 am

    Dammmm These girls are cute

  • Reply EADPE September 24, 2019 at 10:07 pm

    Who the f* is she?. Damn ugly guitar

  • Reply morgan ghetti October 12, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    Annie is awesome and those guitars are really cool. However, vice apparently didn't no research before publishing this.

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