In praise of Tina S, teenage guitar goddess

The other day I stumbled onto the YouTube channel of Tina S., a teenage guitar prodigy  from Paris who is a student of French fusion jazz guitarist Renaud Louis-Servais. According to an interview, she started out at age 6 playing classical guitar in junior conservatory but switched to electric at age 13.

There are a number of “guitar girl” channels on YouTube but Tina stands out. Her playing is precise as well as versatile, seemingly in total possession (as the French would say) of her instrument and material.She generally plays with great economy of motion rather than with theatrical flourishes – for this amateur musician she is a delight to watch.

Her versions of Steve Vai’s “For the love of G-d” and Jason Becker’s “Altitudes” brought tears to my eyes.



But also this Gary Moore rendition is very moving:


At the same time, somewhat incongruously, this sweet, unassuming girl plays Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” with a controlled ferocity that does great credit to this all-time metal classic. Her recording uses the original vocal track with its bitter tale of manipulation and addiction: she plays both the lead and the rhythm parts live, with no overdubbing. (She plays only the top part of the twin-lead section at the beginning of the first solo: live, Metallica drop the rhythm part so James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett can do the leads together. It seems the incomparable John Petrucci plays both lines simultaneously in Dream Theater’s cover.)

Her currently most popular video seems to be her cover of Dragonforce’s “Nintendo Metal” hit:



At the other extreme, she even does not shy away from David Gilmour’s signature lead on Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb”. Despite (hopefully) being way too young to truly grasp the emotions described in the lyrics that David Gilmour so brilliantly succeeded in evoking, Tina offers a surprisingly convincing rendition.

Something tells me this young woman will go very far. I am looking forward to hearing some original material from her. Merci beaucoup et chapeau, Tina!

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