Gear Rundown: Nita Strauss

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Gear Rundown: Nita Strauss

Nita Strauss
Words by Jamie Colic

It's no wonder someone with as diverse a catalogue as Nita Strauss would have such a unique style, so here's the gear she uses to turn that style into tone.

Los Angeles native Nita Strauss has become one of the most prominent names in contemporary rock guitar, regularly gracing the cover of multiple guitar publications. 

In 2018 Nita’s career hit yet another milestone as she was the first female in history to receive a signature model guitar from Japanese heavyweights Ibanez.

Read all the latest features, columns and more here.

Nita Strauss

Born into a musical family in which her father ran an active LA-based recording studio, Nita’s career initially started gaining traction in 2011 in which she was an active member of the famous Iron Maiden tribute-band The Iron Maidens. Before this, she had also spent time in the deathcore act As Blood Runs Black as well as modern glam rockers Femme Fatale.

2014 saw Nita’s career trajectory increase as she was recruited to be the house guitarist for Los Angeles Kiss, an arena football team owned by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of legendary 70’s hard rockers KISS. 

That same year Nita would be granted the opportunity to replace ex-Michael Jackson guitarist Orianthi in Alice Cooper’s live band, a position which she still holds to the current day. In 2022, Nita also split the difference by joining Demi Lovato’s backing band as a touring guitarist.

In addition to her work as a touring musician, Nita has established herself as a successful solo artist releasing her first solo album Controlled Chaos in 2018. In 2022, Nita became the first Female Rock Solo artist to hit #1 on the Billboard rock charts in 32 years. 

Throughout her career, Nita has also remained a formidable force when it comes to session playing and has collaborated with a plethora of other artists and organisations including Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Lzzy Hale, Angel Vivaldi, and the WWE Wrestling Federation.

With such a storied career backing her, let’s take a look at the gear that has served as a vehicle for Nita’s blazing chops over the years. 

Ibanez Guitars

Nita has used Ibanez guitars almost exclusively across her career before receiving her own JIVA signature model back in 2018. Some of the Ibanez models that Nita has brandished throughout her career include:

Ibanez RG 770DX 

During her time with the Iron Maidens, before the development of her signature guitar, it was a relatively common sight to see Nita brandishing an Ibanez RG 770 DX in the classic Laser Blue colour-way.  

Initially introduced in 1991, the 770DX was considered a flagship model in the RG line, boasting custom-wound DiMarzio USA pickups, an original Edge tremolo and custom colour-matched inlays. This model was eventually discontinued in 1993 with a limited edition reissue being offered back in 2008.

Ibanez RGT320Z 

Nita has had a red RGT320Z prestige model in her stage rack during her time with Alice Cooper, with the Ibanez LA Custom shop performing some special modifications to her guitar including removing most of the finish from the back of the guitar neck for a smoother satin feel.

What makes the RGT320Z stand out amongst other RG guitars is the fact that it harnesses a neck-through design, mahogany body and AAA maple top. This makes the RGT320Z a desirable guitar amongst both players and collectors worldwide. 

Nita Strauss Alice Cooper

Ibanez JIVA10

Since its release in 2018, Nita has had several JIVA models released by Ibanez with the most recognisable being the JIVA10. Borrowing heavily from the sleek S-Series body style, Nita has made a number of changes to this initial design in order to make it her own.

Amongst these design tweaks, Nita specified that the JIVA incorporates a Mahogany body with a Maple top, the Edge Zero zero-point tremolo system, and a sleek 5-piece maple and wenge neck with Luminlay side dots. Tied together with her signature DiMarzio pickups and “Beaten Path” inlay, the JIVA is definitely a shredder’s delight. 

Marshall JVM410H

Nita has made plentiful use of the Marshall JVM 410 stating that she had finally found an amp that services all her needs “From pristine cleans to crunchy rhythms and earth-shattering leads, Marshall has it all dialled in.”

This 4-channel 100-watt tube head has become a classic at this point, and it’s endearing to see its presence felt amongst working players over a decade after its initial release.

Boss GT-1000 Guitar FX Processor 

Nita makes heavy use of the Boss GT-1000 effects processor whilst playing with her solo band on tour. Opting to run the Boss unit into front of house makes for an easy fly rig that handles both her effects and amp sounds on a regular basis.

Kemper Profiling Amp

For all of her session work, Nita uses a Kemper profiling amp. She doesn’t use a profile of any specific amp, instead opting to profile the preamp patch from a Rocktron FX processor that she was using extensively before adopting her Boss and Kemper units.

She feels that by profiling and then tweaking the Rocktron profile, she has a signature sound of her own that isn’t directly derived from the more standardised high-gain heads that have come into prominence in both rock and metal circles.

DiMarzio Pandemonium

DiMarzio Pandemonium Pickups

Nita’s signature DiMarzio Pandemonium pickups are a modern take on a classic rock sound. Similar to DiMarzio’s classic Super 3 pickup, the Pandemonium offers a slightly chopped treble response but also provides an emphasis on the lower mid and bass frequencies. 

This frequency curve ensures that the Pandemonium pickups provide a fat, punchy sound in double-locking tremolo-equipped Super Strat style guitars. They provide enough saturation for hard rock and metal applications whilst still maintaining clarity under high gain. 

Keep up with Nita Strauss here.