This huge art piece made of guitars & other instruments is at MoPOP (Museum of Popular Culture) in Seattle. I think this was the first photo I took inside, and the display was an impressive start to our tour. You can see some of the guitars have mechanisms attached so they can be played. The somewhat blob shaped museum is next to the Space Needle.
Some of the most famous guitars in the world can be seen at MoPOP. The main room features guitars in chronological order to show their development.
Here’s a “Spanish guitar” that was the first six string guitar. It was popular by the early 1800’s. Other stringed instruments go back to ancient Egypt and Greece. Clicking or zooming the photos will enlarge them so you can read the information next to the guitars.
Credit C.F. Martin for the design of the American acoustic guitar we know today. He developed it in the 1830’s and 1840’s.
The larger body made guitars louder, especially so they could be added to orchestras.
It was about a hundred years later when guitars would get really loud…and electric.
Hollow-body electric guitars were invented in the 1930’s. In the ‘40’s, Les Paul famously added a pickup and strings to a 4×4 piece of lumber to make the first solid-body electric. He then added some pieces of a hollow-body guitar to make his contraption look acceptable. The solid body reduced feedback, so amps could be turned up (to 11?).
The Fender Telecaster (originally called Broadcaster) was the first commercially successful solid-body electric guitar. It was made in 1950…just in time for the Rock & Roll boom.
The classic Fender Stratocaster followed in 1954. It featured multiple pickups, a tremolo bar, and a double cutout neck for easier access to higher notes.
At the MoPOP museum, you can see guitars owned and played by Eddie Van Halen, Kurt Cobain, Duane Allman, Pete Townsend, Eric Clapton, Paul Stanley, Jimi Hendrix, and other famous guitarists.
Above, Duane Allman’s guitar, below, Eric Clapton’s.
There were a lot more guitars, and If you get the chance, see them in person. Great job MoPOP!
FYI: MoPOP also has a lot of Sci-Fi displays, including original items from the various Star Trek shows.