GUITAR: The Instrument that Rocked the World

Experience the science of sound with hands-on interactives for all ages.

From its ancient beginnings in the Nile River Valley to its iconic status as a modern mainstay of every genre of music, the guitar has rocked them all.

Experience the science of sound and the cultural impact of the guitar by exploring more than 70 instruments and 100 historical artifacts-ranging from the rare and antique to the wildly popular and innovative. This special exhibition from The National GUITAR Museum features hands-on interactives for all ages, video performances, x-ray images of guitars’ inner workings and plenty of opportunities to strum and jam.

Final week!
#GUITARrocksSTL through this Sunday, April 14

Buy Tickets Now


This is a paid experience.
Tickets are available online or at the Science Center. Call our box office at 314-289-4400 for more information.
Adults (ages 13-59): $10.95
Seniors (ages 60+): $7.95
Children (ages 5-12): $7.95
Children 4 and Under: Free
Members: $5.00

Last entry is at 4:00 pm each day.


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.

Featured Displays

  • 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.

GUITAR: The Study Guide That Rocked The World


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.

Memory test

Test your memory by playing riffs on a virtual fretboard that challenges your ability to remember complex patterns.

Fun interactives

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.

Times and availability are subject to change and are on a first come first serve basis. Guitars will be provided by the school to use. Personal guitars are not allowed in the exhibition.

Guitar Events

There are no upcoming events at this time.

Commissioner Sponsors

Patron Sponsor

Official Media Partners


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.

Groups & Field Trips

Exhibit Policies

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.

More About Accessibility