Songbirds

Top choice museum in Chattanooga

Image by Fabio Pagani / EyeEm Getty Images

This astonishing guitar collection – the largest assemblage of vintage and rare guitars anywhere – is Chattanooga's newest world-class attraction. More than 500 guitars, many arranged in time-line fashion from the 1950 Fender Broadcasters (the first mass-produced solid-body electric guitar) to the 1970s, grace this small space, including rock-star axes from Chuck Berry, BB King, Bo Diddley, Roy Orbison and Robbie Krieger of the Doors, among others.

Fender and Gibson guitars make up the bulk of the exhibit, though Rickenbacker and Gretsch are in here as well. Notable exhibits include prewar Gibson Archtops and an impressive collection of '60s surf guitars. The rarest kickers are housed in the Vault – which requires an all-access admission and a guided tour – including every custom-colored Gibson Firebird and an extremely rare 1958 Gibson Explorer.

For guitarists and music fans alike, this is the holy grail of guitars. Those with limited knowledge will get the most out of a visit by taking the guided tour and learning the stories behind some of the more notable instruments in the collection.

Check the calendar page of the website for a list of upcoming concerts, which are held on one of the two stages here.


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