What a Rockmommy wants for Mother’s Day: 2019 Edition

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and we love flowers and pretty things. But we of the rockmommy collective also love to rock. Here, a few of the coolest musical, creative and sustainable gift ideas for us.

  1. Women of Punk coaster set; $18.91: This made-for-Etsy, vintage-concert coaster set is the coolest we’ve ever seen, and a perfect gift for fans of Blondie, Cramps, X Ray Specs, Sioux & The Banshees and Joan Jett.punk_women_coasters
  1. Rock-and-Roll Woman: The 50 Fiercest Female Rockers; $16.50. Give mama a great beach escape with this impossible-to-put-down book from journalist Meredith Ochs. The book features some the most inspiring and iconic ladies of rock n’ roll including rock mamas Aretha Franklin, Grace Slick and Gwen Stefani. 
  1. Ibanez JIVA10 Signature Electric Guitar Deep Space Blonde; $1,499. We can’t say enough about guitar goddess Nita Strauss’ signature axe. It’s beautiful, easy to wield onstage, and produces the most heavenly tones. As they used to say in the ’80s, it’s “strong like a man, but made for a woman.” 489720000002_1_640px
  2. GAMAGO Flipper Guitar Spatula in Black; $15.99. If she insists on cooking brunch, make her eyes light up with this whimsical guitar-shaped spatula.  
  1. Past & Present Succulent Garden; $59. Share the love with this earthy, gorgeous box of succulents, which will last months longer than a bouquet. Available from ProFlowers. 
  1. Birth month guitar pick; $25. Strum sweetly with a gorgeous gemstone guitar pic inspired by mama’s birth month. These beauties are made in the United States, available through UncommonGoods. 
  1. Every Mother Counts bouquet; $88. For the month of May, Farmgirl Flowers is dedicating 100 percent of proceeds for its Orange Rose Mother’s Day Collection to Every Mother Counts — a company whose mission is to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, everywhere.

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    Ibanez JIVA by Nita Strauss

  1. Rothy’s Gray Camo Sneakers; $125. I’m kind of obsessed with these sustainable, washable shoes made from recycled materials. They look great, wear well onstage (or in the mommy-and-me gym class) and are light as feathers. Your favorite rockmommy will swoon.

—- Marisa Torrieri Bloom is a writer, guitar teacher, mom, and the founder of Rockmommy.

5 Reasons Why I’m Swooning Over Guitarist Nita Strauss’ Signature Ibanez JIVA

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

I didn’t have Nita Strauss to guide my guitar-purchasing decisions when I started playing. I just settled for what I could afford, forking over $100 in cash for a vintage Airline model, which I played through a pretty battered, 100-watt Laney amp, for most of my 20s. Most players I knew were dudes, and their advice on what to seek in a guitar — “gnarly pickups,” “a hefty sound” — went over my head. 

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Nita Strauss at the Guitar Center Clinic on 9/5/18 in Union Square (NYC)

So on Wednesday night, more than 15 years since I acquired the Airline, I felt a bit awestruck when Nita Strauss took the “stage” at the Guitar Center in Union Square for her nerd-worthy clinic and performance, wielding the most beautiful instrument I had ever seen. 

“I didn’t just fall out of the sky and land in Alice Cooper’s band,” she told the mostly male crowd of about 50 after showcasing a fraction of her skills. And while she came with an enviable rig that included a BOSS pedalboard and a Marshall CODE amp head, it was the Ibanez JIVA that caught my eye. Why didn’t I have a guitar like that when I stared playing, with my tiny, tiny girl hands? Had I been handed a JIVA instead of my male ex’s super-heavy Les Paul, I wouldn’t have had so many inferiority complexes in my early 20s. 

[RELATED: 5 Great Signature Guitars Designed for — and Inspired by — Female Rock Guitarists] 

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Nita Strauss’ signature guitar — the Ibanez JIVA10

The beautiful Ibanez JIVA, unveiled in summer 2018 as Nita embarked on another U.S. tour with Alice Cooper and his band, is awe-inspiring.

I want to buy one immediately — and if I didn’t have to pay for childcare, I would, literally, buy one online right this second. 

Here, in less-technical speak, I’ll dive into why this is the ideal instrument for rock mommies like me and aspiring Nita Strauss-like shredders (regardless of gender) who want to slay onstage: 

  1. It’s gorgeous. Nita describes the color of the JIVA, a name which means into one’s “soul” and has personal connections to the artist, as “Deep Space Blonde,” which is a gray burst on a natural quilted maple top. But the gorgeousness isn’t simply skin deep: The guitar’s wood combination of mahogany and bound ebony is the foundation of an equally beautiful tone. 
  2. It’s practical. At the Guitar Center clinic, Nita demonstrated the JIVA’s durability and balance. As such, the guitar’s Edge Zero II bridge features “a lower profile design for comfort, and stud lock function for superior tuning stability,” according to Ibanez. 
  3. It’s ideal for smaller-framed players. I love my Gibson SG, but it can feel like a couple of tons onstage — and since I’m about 5’2, every pound counts. I haven’t tried out the Ibanez JIVA, and Nita’s a few inches taller than me, but I can tell it’s easy to maneuver like a rockstar. I can’t wait to see how it stand up against my Strat! 
  4. It’s lightweight. Just look at this skinny beauty with the sleek neck. Nita had no trouble wielding it as she pranced the stage.
  5. It’s designed by a woman. Of course, any guitar can be played by a woman, but the fact that Nita sat down with the team at Ibanez to fine tune everything from the signature DiMarzio pickups to the lighting-bolt design on the fretboard means something to players like me.

It’s amazing how every year, more and more female rock guitar players are going mainstream, running clinics and working with guitar companies to launch their own signature models. While companies like Daisy Rock used to offer the only guitars tailored to a woman’s preferences, today we’re seeing everyone from Fender to Gibson and Ibanez considering our needs. 

I’ve always believed a woman’s place is on the stage, not in the home. And with guitars like the JIVA, a woman will feel right at home on stage. 

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the founder and editor of Rockmommy.