Vintage Guitar - June 2018 - open - 24
A Fender Stratocaster made
of plexiglass, on display at the
National Guitar Museum.
NGM VISITS TEXAS
Nearing Permanent Home,
Museum Honors Raitt
t was born at the junction of form and
function," country guitar ace Bill Kirchen
sings in "Hammer Of The Honky Tonk Gods."
And though he was referring to the Fender Telecaster, H.P. Newquist made it clear in his speech
on the opening night of the exhibit "Guitar: The
Instrument That Rocked The World - A Brief
History Of The World's Most Popular Instrument" at the Museum of Science and History in
Fort Worth, Texas, that the same could be said
of virtually any model of electric guitar.
The founder and executive director of the
National Guitar Museum, Newquist pointed
out that, despite cosmetic variations, the electric guitar's basic design has changed very little
compared to that of telephones, computers,
The exhibit, which runs through May 6,
has interactive elements - for instance, planks
of maple, rosewood, and mahogany vividly
demonstrating their different tones - along
with a replica of the workbench used by luthier
Bob Benedetto and instruments running the
gamut from an 1806 parlor guitar to a 1970s
Guitorgan, built in Waco by Bob Murrell.
Though the N.G.M. has no physical building, a photo montage/timeline picturing
classical piano virtuoso Van Cliburn next to
The Museum's replica of Bob
Photos by Dan Forte.
R&B guitarist Ray "Linda Lu" Sharpe, both
Fort Worth natives, hinted that the city could
be in the running.
"We're at roughly 270 guitars," Newquist
said. "The significant thing about that
number is that there are only a few models
where we have more than one representative
instrument - specifically, Les Paul, Strat, Tele,
Martin D-28, SG. Everything else has been
collected so as to be singularly representative
of the history of the guitar, from the various
European luthiers of the 1800s and the oddball
Cold-War-era Russian electrics to evolutionary
steps like Danelectro's Amp-in-Case and Mario Maccaferri's plastic designs. So, there's one
A-22 Frying Pan, one Tonika, one Fabricatore,
one J-200, one Ibanez Iceman, etc."
In February, the N.G.M. announced
that Bonnie Raitt was the eighth recipient of its
annual Lifetime Achievement Award - the previous seven being David "Honeyboy" Edwards,
Roger McGuinn, B.B. King, English session
man Vic Flick, Buddy Guy, Tony Iommi, and
Glen Campbell. Newquist's statement read,
"There has not been a more visible female
player of the electric guitar in history. Bonnie's
extraordinary skill and her inherent passion
for electric blues - along with her mastery of
slide guitar, one of the most difficult musical styles to play well - are second to none
in modern guitar."
Raitt thanked the Museum, saying, "I am
so glad to be part of a tradition that is encouraging people to keep the blues alive and keep
roots music vital and important. If people like
me have been inspirations for young people,
especially girls, picking up the instrument,
I'm very proud." - Dan Forte