The National Music Centre is pleased to launch a new exhibition at Studio Bell dedicated to the almighty guitar. Showcase: Guitars will open on February 11 to coincide with Get Out Your Guitar Day, a day in celebration of one of the most popular and versatile instruments.
Whether you enjoy classical, jazz, folk, rock, or something in between, the guitar has taken centre stage in the world of music for well over a century, leading to countless augmentations and innovations on the instrument. Showcase: Guitars features 25 guitars curated from NMC’s collection, as well as items on loan from other collectors and musicians. With a selection of acoustic and electric instruments included, visitors will see a wide variety of bodies and styles on display, with an emphasis on instruments that were created, or collected in Canada, or played by prominent Canadian musicians.
Of those guitars, axe aficionados will see an acoustic guitar from k.d. lang that was custom-made by renowned Canadian luthier William “Grit” Laskin for her 1989 Absolute Torch and Twang tour, a rare 1970 electric guitar that belonged to Bill Henderson, lead singer and guitarist of the Canadian rock band Chilliwack, which was made by Mosrite, whose guitars are now coveted by collectors due to their high build quality and sound. Not to mention, guitars that belonged to Canadian legends, including Randy Bachman, Terri Clark, Anne Murray, Jimmy Rankin, and more.
Two Canadian guitar makers, Charles Brasher and Frank Gay, will also be highlighted, along with their respective guitars: a 1930 Hawaiian-style resonator and 1967 flamenco-style flat top acoustic. Both helped to form the very fabric of Canada’s music history yet never gained substantial international recognition.
“How Brasher and Gay are relative unknowns is inconceivable to me,” said David Glass, a guitar player and collector who donated his Brasher and Gay collection to NMC. “After learning about these formidable guitar-makers, collecting their guitars became important to me as a way to preserve their stories and give them a legacy. I have been absolutely pleased to donate these guitars to the National Music Centre.”
“While we’re primarily known for our keyboard collection, we’ve acquired an impressive list of guitars in recent years,” said Jesse Moffatt, NMC’s Senior Director of Collections and Exhibitions. “We’re excited to finally put the spotlight on many of our favourite fretted instruments and the makers and players behind them.”
Located on the fourth floor of Studio Bell, which is all about making music and honouring the tools of the trade, Showcase: Guitars is accessible with paid admission and will run from February 11-December 31, 2023.
Regular admission to Studio Bell is $21.50 for adults, $16.50 for students/seniors (65+), $13.50 for children (3-12 years of age), and free for children under 3 years of age. Admission for NMC Members is free. To become an NMC Member, visit studiobell.ca/become-a-member. Studio Bell is now open five days a week: Wednesday and Thursday, from 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm, and Friday to Sunday, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.