Lonely Planet Writer

Tennessee now has a vintage guitar museum charting music from blues to rock

A guitar museum has opened in Chattanooga, Tennessee that features a stunning collection of instruments that chart the history of music from the 1930s through to the present day.

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The Songbirds Guitar Museum includes over 300 classic American acoustic and electric instruments manufactured from the 1920s through to the 1970s on display at once. The exhibit showcases musical history throughout the decades, with over 1700 fretted instruments in the anthology. It also holds over 30 Gibson Les Pauls in Sunburst, made between 1958 and 1960, as well as over 300 custom color Fender guitars and over 75 custom Gibson Firebirds. Fans of bluegrass will also be interested to see the collection of over 45 classic flat-top five-string banjos and mandolins on display in the museum.

As well as offering guided tours and viewings of the instruments, the museum will also hold concerts and special events featuring live performances and talks by some of the best guitar players in the world. Grammy Award-winning country star Vince Gill was named the ambassador for Songbirds Guitar Museum last December, and will curate some of the exhibits taking place. “This is the most impressive collection of rare, vintage guitars I have seen. I am honored and excited to be a part of such a tremendous display of music history,” Gill said.

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The grand opening of the museum is due to take place on March 10 and will  be marked with a free street festival on Station Street, right beside the Chattanooga Choo Choo, the famous hotel that houses the exhibition.  The event will take place on 11 March, from noon to five PM and includes a range of entertainment from local acts. More information on visiting is available on the Songbirds Guitar Museum website.

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