The Instrument That Rocked the World
Exhibition Opening Friday, Dec 20, 2013
Starting December 20th, the Fleet Science Center will ROCK you!
The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is cranking science up to 11 this winter with the West Coast premiere of GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked the World! Experience the guitar through 60 instruments, nearly 100 artifacts and 15 incredible interactive exhibits. Watch the three-minute video The Physics of Rock Guitar, created by Dr. Mark Lewney, and learn how distortion effects are created by manipulating sound waves. Explore the inner workings of an electric guitar, flip switches and turn knobs in the hands-on exhibit “Inside an Electric Guitar” and dive into the vast history and evolution of the world’s greatest instrument … the guitar!
“Not a fan of rock and roll? Don’t fret, GUITAR celebrates all music—from classical to heavy metal,” says Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Executive Director Dr. Steve Snyder.
In this electrifying exhibition, you will:
- Become a functioning part of a guitar pickup by generating electromagnetic energy.
- Design your own guitar through a touchscreen interactive.
- Feel, strum and hear the different materials used to make guitar strings.
- Play the World’s Largest Guitar. Certified by Guinness World Records, this Flying V guitar is measured at 43.5 feet long and 16 feet wide!
- Plus, don't miss our live concert series celebrating GUITAR!
A Back Stage Look Into a Touring Museum
GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked the World was created by the National Guitar Museum in 2011. The traveling exhibition is not only teaching people about the history, culture and science of the guitar, but it is an “audition” as well. The National Guitar Museum is looking for a permanent home, and what better way to for the museum to find its main stage than a five year American tour? San Diego is the eighth American city and the first West Coast city to host GUITAR.
Harvey P. Newquist, the National Guitar Museum’s Executive Director and former Guitar magazine editor, wants people to become immersed in the exhibition. Newquist is quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying, "Guitars are meant to be played. In some cases you'll see guitars that are incredibly beaten up. It was intentional from my standpoint. I didn't want this in any way, shape or form to be a memorabilia exhibit. It's important to us that it not look like some kind of showroom floor." The instruments on display range from the rare and antique to the wildly popular and innovative.
Crank Up the Fun Facts
There is no clear history of where or how the guitar originated. However, guitar-shaped instruments have been noted in European paintings since the 13th century, and actual guitar music emerged in the 16th century.
- Henry the VIII loved guitars so much that he added 21 guitars into his instrument collection.
- In the 1930’s, before electric guitars were invented, resonator guitars were used by guitarists who wanted to be heard over trumpet sections when performing live. The sound of this type of guitar is produced by spun metal cones known as “resonators.” The resonators replace the face, or sound board, of the guitar and amplify the sounds of the strings.
- The Gibson L4 CES was built to satisfy the needs of jazz players who had to be heard over horns and percussion. Jazz guitarist Eddie Lang is credited with making this Gibson model a dominating instrument in the guitar market in the 1920’s.
- The first guitar humbucker pickup was designed for pianos by Baldwin Instruments designer Armand F. Knoblaugh, but it’s Gibson’s 1956 humbucker style that we see on guitars today.
- A “Rock Ock” is the world’s largest, fully playable, multi-neck instrument that takes 16 hands to play!
GUITAR is a touring exhibition of The National GUITAR Museum.
The Guitar exhibition is sponsored in part by Cox Communications and The Kenneth T. and Eileen L. Norris Foundation.
Nierman Challenger Learning Center
The Nierman Challenger Learning Center at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is a part of a growing network of centers worldwide that are being established by the Challenger Center for Space Science Education in memory of the crew of Space Shuttle Challenger.