Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll
Our much-anticipated exhibit celebrates the iconic musical instruments that gave rock & roll its signature sound.
open: November 22, 2019
Closes: September 13, 2020
Co-organized with The Met, the exhibit offers a rare, in-depth look at the instruments that inspired the musicians and made possible the songs we know and love. Play It Loud: The Instruments of Rock & Roll is the largest single exhibit the Rock Hall has ever displayed and takes over floors. Fans can expect spectacular new acquisitions and adaptations that make the show unique to its venue. Instruments showcased span from 1939 to today and many have never been displayed outside of their original concert performance settings. This is the only time these iconic instruments will be seen together in one massive collection.
From Bruce Springsteen's guitar to a flamboyant costume worn by Prince, fans can examine personal items up close, including:
- Chuck Berry’s early hollow-body Gibson guitar
- Eric Clapton’s Martin acoustic guitar model 000-42 used during his famous MTV Unplugged concert
- Jerry Garcia’s “Wolf” guitar
- Rory Gallagher’s iconic 1961 Fender Stratocaster
- Jimi Hendrix’s hand-decorated electric guitar, dubbed “Love Drops,” made in 1967
- James Jamerson's upright bass used on many early Motown hits
- Keyboard John Paul Jones used to record “Stairway to Heaven”
- Eddie Van Halen’s performance rig from 2013
- Steve Miller's electric guitar painted with psychedelic designs ca. 1972
- Keith Richards's hand-painted Gibson Les Paul Guitar used to record Beggars Banquet
- A sculpture made from what was left of one of Pete Townshend's electric guitars after he smashed the instrument during a photo shoot
- St. Vincent's electric guitar, which Annie "St. Vincent" Clark designed in collaboration with Ernie Ball Music Man in 2015
- Tina Weymouth's "headless" Steinberger bass guitar that she used extensively with Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club through the late 1990s
- A selection of vintage posters from historic concert performances
Other stories shared and instruments on display include ones played and beloved by the Beatles, Eric Clapton, Kurt Cobain, Sheryl Crow, Bo Diddley, The Eagles, Kim Gordon, Wanda Jackson, Joan Jett, Metallica, Joni Mitchell, Kate Pierson, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, the Roots, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Nancy Wilson and other rock & roll greats. Also, on display are several rigs used in live performances and sound recordings, along with exclusive interview footage featuring Tom Morello, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and Eddie Van Halen.