/ Modified nov 1, 2011 5:59 p.m.

Exhibit Tunes In to Guitarmaking History

"Good Vibrations" offers glimpse at the instrument and its construction, from 16th-century Europe to present-day Tucson

110111_UAMA_Guitar_Exhibit_617_347 Celebrating the beauty, craftsmanship, and audio nuances of acoustic and electric guitars, the University of Arizona Museum of Art presents Good Vibrations: The Guitar as Design, Craft and Function.

Good Vibrations: The Guitar as Design, Craft and Function is the name of the new exhibition at the University of Arizona Museum of Art.

Charles Guerin, UAMA executive director and curator of the exhibition, says Good Vibrations offers a visual and auditory experience for the visitor that emphasizes the guitar as an exquisitely crafted instrument.

Guerin points out every guitar in the exhibition is handmade.

“What goes into that [process] is really quite extraordinary because the end product has to be functional," he explains. "There’s an enormous amount of pressure exerted on this wooden box when you crank those strings up, and they’re amazingly thin.”

Guerin points out that Tucson is home to a rich guitar-making community. Nine of these local makers, whose expertise includes both acoustic and electric guitars, are represented in the exhibition.

Brian Dunn is one of the local guitar makers showing his work. His guitars often incorporate a natural grain pattern that pays homage to the beauty he sees in the Sonoran Desert landscape.

“When I came to Tucson 40 years ago, I fell in love with the desert," says Dunn. "I like to incorporate something of the desert into my guitars. Frequently the sound-hole rosette that I inlay to the top is desert ironwood. There’s a cross-section, a particular frontier, between the heart-wood and the sap-wood of the desert ironwood that, to me, makes a very beautiful pattern.”

“There’s really art, both in the design and in the adaptation of the instrument for the musician,” Guerin says. “As well as in the craft and the beauty, and in many cases the simplistic beauty, of these wonderful instruments.”

By posting comments, you agree to our
AZPM encourages comments, but comments that contain profanity, unrelated information, threats, libel, defamatory statements, obscenities, pornography or that violate the law are not allowed. Comments that promote commercial products or services are not allowed. Comments in violation of this policy will be removed. Continued posting of comments that violate this policy will result in the commenter being banned from the site.

By submitting your comments, you hereby give AZPM the right to post your comments and potentially use them in any other form of media operated by this institution.
AZPM is a service of the University of Arizona and our broadcast stations are licensed to the Arizona Board of Regents who hold the trademarks for Arizona Public Media and AZPM. We respectfully acknowledge the University of Arizona is on the land and territories of Indigenous peoples.
The University of Arizona