The Museum of Fine Arts is mounting a retrospective outlining 400 years of guitar design and history (VG November ’00). Although the guitar has become the dominant instrument in popular music over the past 50
years, its history can be traced to the early baroque instruments of the 17th century. This book serves as both exhibit catalog and history of this most versatile and enduring instruments from early ornamental examples of Italy and Spain to more recent electric guitars used by popular musicians. It features 110 guitars, each with a brief discussion of its history and manufacture, and there are 180 full-color photos.
An introductory essay by music historian Darcy Kuronen places the guitar in its historical context while comments from 30 notable modern guitarists provide a more personal view of the guitar and its music. While there have been several histories of the guitar published over the past 10 years, none cover the depth and breadth of this new title, and certainly none so completely capture the instrument in its multitude of shapes sizes and mutations. If you can’t get to Boston to see the exhibit, this book is a little like being there yourself. Available from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, phone (617) 369-3448.
Boston Museum of Fine Arts, 2000, Softbound, 244 pages, ISBN 0-87846-478-6, $45.00.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’01 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.