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On Display
May 01, 2015 – Jun 24, 2016

Museum Hours

Monday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Thursday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Museum Tickets
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Past Rare Guitars

Gibson Les Paul, 1953

In 1952, Gibson teamed with popular 1950s musician and music technology innovator Les Paul to design and produce a line of solid body electric guitars. This 1953 Gibson Les Paul Standard Gold guitar, with modifications from 1957, is an example of the first generation of Gibson’s Les Paul models. Until 1958, all Gibson Les Paul guitars had a gold finish, and were often referred to as “Goldtops.” This guitar was used during Paul McCartney’s recording sessions at London’s Air Studios in 2012, as well as in Mark Ronson’s studio sessions in 2015.

Courtesy of Oz Cift

Guitar will remain on display through June 24, 2016.

Jimi Hendrix, 1966

Guitar (Fender Stratocaster)

Already making waves in the U.K., Jimi Hendrix got his big break in the U.S. when he performed on June 18, 1967 at the Monterey International Pop Festival, held at the county fairgrounds in Monterey, CA. Recommended to festival organizers by Paul McCartney, the Jimi Hendrix Experience tore through eight songs (four covers and four originals) with Hendrix wielding this black, rosewood fret board, ’66 Strat. For their ninth and final number, “Wild Thing,” Hendrix swapped guitars for a less-treasured white Strat which he then famously burned and smashed. America and rock n’ roll was forever changed.

On loan by Julien’s Auctions and will be sold at in May 2016.

John Lennon, 1962

Guitar (Gibson)

John Lennon purchased this electric-acoustic, Gibson J-160E guitar at Rushworths Music House in Liverpool soon after The Beatles signed their first recording contract with Parlophone Records. The guitar cost £161 (approx. $450 at the time) and was shipped to Liverpool from Chicago on June 27, 1962. Lennon received the guitar on September 10 and played it at many of the band’s early shows and television appearances. Lennon also used this guitar during the February 11,1963, recording session of The Beatles’ first U.K. album, Please Please Me, and during the July 1, 1963, recording of their fourth single, “She Loves You,” backed with “I’ll Get You.” George Harrison bought a similar Gibson J-160E guitar the same day Lennon made his purchase.

John Lennon, 1962 (Gibson)

On loan by John McCaw, to be sold by Julien’s Auctions on November 7, 2015. The guitar will only be on display at the Museum through October 2015.