GUITAR: The Instrument that Rocked the World
The most enduring icon in American history is ready to rock St. Louis
GUITAR: The Instrument that Rocked the World is a 7,000 square foot, fully immersive exhibition that explores the instrument’s evolution and history, the science of creating sound with wood and steel and the impact on cultures over the past 5,000 years.
- More than 70 guitars including acoustic, electric, and antique
- 15 Hands-on STEM interactives that demonstrate the science of sound and music
- 100 historical artifacts, ranging from the rare and antique to the wildly popular and innovative
- 10 Video displays
- Interactive kiosks, computer displays, and sound stations
- Listening and viewing environments for different musical genres
- Photos, posters, graphics, illustrations, and banners
Chuck Berry’s 1960 Gibson ES-345TD
displayed in the exhibition.
Study Guide for the Exhibit
Science plays a signiﬁcant role in “GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World.” The science inherent in the guitar (and all music) allows students to explore sound and sound generation from within the instrument itself as well as from the perspective of engineers and musicians.
The downloadable study guide is designed to be used as both a teacher’s Reference to “GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World” and an education and activity book.
The world’s largest playable guitar
This guitar is certified by the Guinness Book of Records at almost 44 feet long. You can even try playing it.
The science behind the guitar
Interactives show how strings resonate on wood and how the vibration creates the music we rock out to. Displays demonstrate how the hollow body and soundboard of acoustic guitars enhance the vibrations of the strings and how electric guitars use magnetic coils to capture the vibration and turn it into amplified sound.
History of the guitar
A full range of historic ancestors and transitional stringed instruments that show the evolution of the guitar’s shape and sound, up to a modern guitar created by a 3-D printer.
Iconic electric guitars
Featuring iconic electric guitars such as the Fender Telecaster and Gibson Les Paul, along with over-the-top models such as the Jackson Randy Rhoads with its exaggerated triangular points.
6-Foot amplifier stack
See through a 6-foot amplifier stack and learn what gives modern music so much volume, while learning about the physics of amplification.
Test your memory by playing riffs on a virtual fretboard that challenges your ability to remember complex patterns.
Feel how strings resonate on wood and discover how the acoustic guitar’s soundbox increases and changes its sound. Make your own music by breaking the beams of a laser harp and explore how to “see” sound with an LED piano.
Guitar classes on Saturdays
Instructors from Shock City School of Music are providing free classes for beginners and seasoned guitar enthusiasts each Saturday in the exhibition.
All level instructional class for all ages on Saturdays with guitar instructor Jared Cattoor.
- 12:00 to 12:45 pm: Warm-up and technique
- 1:00 to 1:45 pm: Application play and jam to popular songs
Specialized workshops based on availability with guitar instructor Dave Black.
Guitar Programs for Groups
Groups of 10 or more can receive special discounts to GUITAR: The Instrument that Rocked the World with advance reservations. Call 314-289-1419 to speak to our Group Sales Manager, or visit our Groups & Field Trips page for more information.
One adult chaperone is required for every 10 children.
No food or beverages are allowed in GUITAR
No pencils, pens, markers or any other kind of writing implements are allowed.
Flash photography is not allowed. You may take photos without flash.
Guitar is accessible to visitors with disabilities, as well as visitors with strollers, scooters, and walkers. Elevators and ramps serve all public areas.