If you play guitar, like guitar music, or just want a different kind of museum experience, visit the traveling National Guitar Museum exhibit “Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World.” Their subtitle for the show is “The history, the science, and cultural impact of the most popular instrument. Ever.” They are not exaggerating.
The Carnegie Science Centerin Pittsburgh is hosting the exhibit until the end of September and it is spectacular. This past week, my husband Bill played guitar for the kids at science camp at the museum, directly in front of the largest playable guitar in the world. After the concert, we had a chance to explore the exhibit, Bill got to play the “big guitar” and I caught a few of the highlights on camera.
Everything is unique; road cases house guitars and support amps that are equipped with video displays of historical performances. All styles are represented, and our friend and guitar luthier Bob Benedetto shipped a copy of his luthier workshop to join the exhibit. Bill took the opportunity to climb into the exhibit and don Bob’s work apron, much to the amusement of Bob and his wife Cindy. You can see a few of the shots on their Benedetto Guitars website.
The exciting thing about the exhibit is its marriage of science, history and culture into interactive displays – this is a hands on experience and a treat for all the senses. Here is a little video I made of our day at the museum, to a soundtrack of “Counting By Eight”, one of Bill’s pieces from his CD Sonic Art – enjoy!
All photos and video ©2012 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved
Want to hear the sound of the big guitar?
Soooo cool! ❤
Oh wow! This looks like something my little one would love to do! Thanks for sharing the largest guitar through this cool video. The music was perfect for the little ones – outstanding : ) I am sure the children had a great time with your talented hubby. Cheers!
So glad you enjoyed it; I thought it fit very well with your recent post!
The Carnegie Science Center looks awesome! You must be proud of your husband getting to play the world’s largest guitar!
Rebecca, this was so much fun! Bill is playing there again this weekend and I can’t wait to go back – I want to explore everything all over again and I’m not even a guitarist! This is certainly his “cup of tea” 🙂
What a fun post … and that was my thought even before watching the outstanding video! Well done Lynn! PS: Sorry I’m later than normal. …. and I finally did my first post about the World Choir Games. http://afrankangle.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/on-musical-treats-with-a-story/
Hi Frank, glad you enjoyed it! Not to worry, I’m also behind visiting my fav sites – and I thought summer was going to be easy 🙂 Can’t wait to see the world choir games!
Wow, that’s cool! Is Bill playing a Martin?
Hi Gum Creative – I thought you might like this exhibit. It comes to Idaho sometime, not terribly far for you to visit 🙂 Bill is playing a Collings guitar – beautiful guitar, great sound; they are handmade guitars from Austin, TX – here’s a link to their website. http://www.collingsguitars.com/ Thanks for visiting.
Free air guitar… lol! This looks like a lot of fun. I wonder if the exhibit is going to make its way to the Rock Hall…? I’ll have to check that out. Or maybe we’ll get to Pittsburgh sometime soon. 🙂
Oh, you picked up on that! This exhibit has a sense of humor; that sign was one of my favorites. Looks like this is the closest the exhibit will be to you, but it runs until Sept. 30, so you have time for a visit 🙂
That looks like a real cool exhibit. I wish I could bring my two boys along, they love to play the guitar (I used to play too…). Unfortunately we won’t be going to Pittsburgh in the foreseeable future. But I loved you little video. Thanks for sharing.
Otto, thanks for visiting – once a guitarist, always a guitarist 🙂 It is a very cool exhibit – not only the content but the presentation, using road cases and amp shells to showcase the presentations plus all the interactive elements that encourage visitors to engage with the material. We go back again later in the month for another performance, so I’m hoping to catch a few more elements on camera.
What a nifty exhibit! I’m a self-taught guitarist who hasn’t picked up a guitar in years…I get the impulse every once in a while, but it can be a bit rough on the fingertips once your calluses are gone 😉 One of these days…
Oh you would especially enjoy it, I think! We are going back for one more performance in a few weeks and I’m looking forward to it already. Thanks for commenting 🙂
Lynn. This was educational and fun. I loved learning more about the brilliance of your hubby. Wow, what a talent. When you get a chance, ask your hubby if he is aware of Phil Keaggy (old Glass Harp guitarist and solo artist for the last 3 decades). Believe it or not, he played at our wedding. It still blows my mind. (One of the Ronettes sang at our wedding as well. . .I had no idea what gifts I had been given at the time.)
Thanks, Eleanor, glad you enjoyed it! Bill says thank you and yes, he knows Phil Keaggy, especially from the Glass Harp days, and thinks he is a great guitarist. Phil and a Ronette making music at your wedding – how cool is that?
Very interesting –from someone who is not musically inclined.
Great to feature Bill’s passion on your blog. I didn’t know about this.
HI Jean – you don’t have to be a musician to enjoy this exhibit! Bill is a wonderful guitarist, composer, recording engineer, etc. so it is always fun to share his work with others. He is also a well known guitar educator, so he loved playing for the kids at the exhibit and had at least as much fun as they did 🙂
Thanks for the video, especially that probably they won’t stop by in Ontario. That huge quitar it is really awsome! I would love to hear how it sounds.
Thanks for visiting! Actually, Bill just prepared a sound file of the big guitar which I will be posting later this morning 🙂
Diversifolius, the sound of the big guitar is now there, under the video. Enjoy!
Thanks – the sound coming from it it’s like the guitar itself: unique!
That huge playable guitar is so neat. I hope that exhibit comes to the Twin Cities. By the way, is your husband’s music available online? I listen to instrumental music while I’m working and I do love the guitar. My Dad plays, but not professionally.
Hi Paula, glad you enjoyed! The big guitar was awesome and had an amazing sound; maybe I’ll post a sound file. The exhibit is coming to Idaho next summer, probably the closest place to you.
Bill will be thrilled that you like his music; he spent more than two years working on Sonic Art – you can download singles or the album on iTunes or amazon.com
Hi Paula, I did get a sound file up, right below the video – enjoy!
Have to say, Bill’s guitar music is better than the “big” guitar. LOL! I downloaded County by 8 among oithers. 🙂
Ha ha, I agree! He will be thrilled to know you liked his music so much – I will pass it along.
Thanks. I listened while I worked this afternoon. Very nice workin’ music. 🙂
Just wonderful! Thank you for the tour and Bill’s wonderful music!
Thanks, Kitty! We had a lot of fun with this one!
I enjoyed the video and as it is too far to go to the exhibition, it will have to satisfy me instead.
Thanks for visiting and commenting, Tootlepedal – so glad you enjoyed the post. It really is an amazing exhibit; I believe it is traveling through the US for another year or so; I’m sure it would be a great hit in England!
Nice piece, Lynn. With apologies to Woody Allen in “Sleeper”: That’s a big guitar.
One of my undergraduate roommates–now a philosophy professor in Arizona–is a guitar enthusiast and self-taught guitarist. He had four guitars when we were in college: two acoustics (including a 12-string) and two electrics (including a Fender Stratocaster). I’m pretty sure he still owns–and uses–all of them.
Glad you enjoyed it Kerry. It is the rare guitarist that limits him or herself to just one instrument 🙂 Guitars are often considered the ultimate “life long” instrument. Oh, and “Sleeper” is a hoot; haven’t watched it in years.
NOT a musician, though there is no denying the influence of music, sounds, rhythms, lyrics and the harmonic universe on our life -from sounds in the womb, to baby rattles, to the drone of mechanisms, to the tic-itty-tic of the key board. But the guitar is an object de art for a fickle populous who shows no swanning from it’s love for this instrument. A popular exhibit it will be.
I became intrigued, as to how many people, many none players, take a keen interest on all aspects of the guitar through listening to Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap on CBC radio here in Canada. Many of the segments weave historical elements, technique, evolving changes in the hardware and various other aspects of the instrument (and the name dropping and the characters who played the instrument adds to the Wow factor).
This post definitely captured my attention, your video pure icing,
Hudson, thanks for visiting and commenting. You are exactly right about the “guitar aficionado” – there is a passionate interest in the guitar that goes beyond the “players.” Certainly this exhibit is tapping into that and the excitement of the people going through the exhibit was notable. I just checked and can get Vinyl Tap online – thanks for mentioning it!