Where Can You Learn About The History Of Iconic Guitars?

If you’re a fan of iconic guitars and want to delve into their fascinating history, you might be wondering where to find reliable information. Look no further, as this article will guide you to the perfect sources for learning about the captivating stories behind these beloved musical instruments. From legendary guitars played by iconic musicians to the evolution of guitar-making techniques, you’ll discover a wealth of knowledge that will deepen your appreciation for these timeless instruments. So, get ready to embark on a journey through the extraordinary world of iconic guitars!


If you’re a guitar enthusiast looking to learn about the history of iconic guitars, visiting museums dedicated to this captivating instrument is a fantastic place to start. Three museums that stand out are the National Guitar Museum, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Musée de la Musique.

National Guitar Museum

The National Guitar Museum is a treasure trove for guitar lovers. This museum not only showcases vintage and contemporary guitars but also delves into the evolution of the instrument itself. You can explore exhibits that chronicle the different types of guitars, their construction techniques, and influential guitarists who have shaped the instrument’s history. The museum provides an immersive experience, allowing you to learn about various aspects of guitars through interactive displays, audio recordings, and visual presentations.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

For a deeper dive into the guitar’s role in shaping the iconic sounds of rock and roll, a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a must. This iconic institution pays homage to the artists and genres that have defined the rock and roll era. Within its walls, you’ll find exhibits that feature legendary guitars used by some of the greatest guitarists in history. From Jimi Hendrix’s psychedelic Stratocaster to Eric Clapton’s “Blackie,” each guitar carries with it a rich history and story. The Rock Hall provides an immersive experience, giving visitors the opportunity to not only view these guitars up close but also hear the stories behind them through audio guides and informative displays.

Musée de la Musique

If you find yourself in Paris, make sure to visit the Musée de la Musique. This museum celebrates the artistry and history of various musical instruments, including guitars. The Musée de la Musique offers a unique perspective on the guitar’s history, tracing its origins from its early ancestors to the modern-day instrument we know and love. The museum’s exhibits feature a diverse range of guitars, from baroque treasures to flamboyant electric models. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about renowned guitarists and explore instruments that have shaped different musical genres. With its extensive collection and engaging displays, the Musée de la Musique is a fantastic destination for any guitar enthusiast.

Specialized Guitar Exhibitions

Aside from museums, specialized guitar exhibitions provide a unique experience that focuses solely on guitars. These exhibitions bring together guitar enthusiasts, collectors, manufacturers, and musicians to celebrate the instrument’s rich history and evolving artistry. Here are a few notable guitar exhibitions worth exploring:


The NAMM Show, held annually in Anaheim, California, is one of the largest and most influential music product trade shows in the world. While the NAMM Show covers a wide range of music-related products, it always showcases a significant guitar presence. From vintage guitars to cutting-edge innovations, you’ll find a diverse array of guitars and related products on display. The NAMM Show is not only a fantastic opportunity to see iconic guitars up close, but it also allows you to discover new and emerging trends in the guitar industry.

Vintage Guitar Shows

Vintage Guitar Shows are events dedicated to showcasing and trading vintage guitars and related gear. These shows bring together collectors, dealers, and enthusiasts in one bustling venue. Attending a vintage guitar show provides a unique opportunity to explore a wide range of iconic guitars from different eras and manufacturers. Whether you’re searching for a specific vintage model or simply appreciating the craftsmanship and history behind these instruments, a vintage guitar show is an exciting place to indulge in your passion.

Experience Music Project Museum

Located in Seattle, Washington, the Experience Music Project (EMP) Museum offers an immersive and interactive experience for music enthusiasts. While not solely dedicated to guitars, the EMP Museum includes a comprehensive section dedicated to various musical instruments, including guitars. The museum’s exhibits cover a wide range of musical genres, allowing visitors to explore and learn about the guitars that have shaped different musical movements. From blues to grunge, you’ll find guitars used by influential artists, along with interactive displays that delve into the significance of these instruments in music history.

Online Resources

Accessing information about the history of iconic guitars is made easier through a variety of online resources. Whether you’re looking for websites, blogs, online communities, or virtual museums and exhibitions, the online world offers an abundance of valuable knowledge for guitar enthusiasts.

Websites and Blogs

Numerous websites and blogs are dedicated to guitar history, offering in-depth articles, interviews, and archival resources. By exploring these platforms, you can discover fascinating insights into the evolution of iconic guitars and the stories behind them. Websites like Guitar World and Vintage Guitar Magazine provide a wealth of content, ranging from historical features to gear reviews. Blogs such as Reverb and The History of the Guitarist shed light on specific aspects of guitar history and provide a platform for community engagement.

Online Guitar Communities

Engaging with online guitar communities is another excellent way to learn about the history of iconic guitars. Platforms like forums, social media groups, and online discussion boards allow enthusiasts to connect, share knowledge, and ask questions. Websites like TDPRI and The Gear Page host active communities for guitarists across various interests and expertise levels. Participating in these communities provides a space to engage with fellow enthusiasts, access valuable resources, and gain new perspectives on guitar history.

Virtual Museums and Exhibitions

In this digital age, virtual museums and exhibitions offer an exciting avenue for exploring the history of iconic guitars. Many museums and organizations have developed online platforms that provide interactive experiences and virtual tours of their collections. Virtual exhibits allow you to explore famous guitars, view detailed images, and even listen to audio clips that provide insights into their significance. Institutions such as the National Music Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art offer virtual galleries and collections where you can explore iconic guitars from the comfort of your own home.

Books and Publications

For those who prefer a more in-depth and comprehensive approach to learning about guitar history, books and publications are indispensable resources. Whether you’re seeking guitar history books, magazines, or biographies of guitar legends, there is a wealth of literature available to fuel your passion for guitars.

Guitar History Books

Guitar history books provide a comprehensive overview of the instrument’s evolution, from its ancient origins to the present day. Authors like Tony Bacon and Richard Johnston have written extensively on the subject, offering detailed accounts of iconic guitars, influential players, and pivotal moments in guitar history. Books like “Guitar: An American Life” by Tim Brookes and “Guitars: From the Renaissance to Rock” by Tom Wheeler provide well-researched narratives that encompass the broader historical, cultural, and social contexts surrounding the guitar.

Magazines and Periodicals

Magazines and periodicals dedicated to guitars and guitar history offer a blend of informative articles, gear reviews, and interviews. Magazines like Guitar Player, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and Premier Guitar cover a wide range of topics, from iconic guitars and players to gear insights and industry news. These publications often feature in-depth interviews with legendary guitarists, providing personal anecdotes and unique insights into the history of their instruments.

Biographies of Guitar Legends

To gain a deeper understanding of the guitar’s history, exploring biographies of guitar legends is a captivating way to learn. Biographies of iconic guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and B.B. King offer an intimate look into their lives, their relationship with their instruments, and the impact they’ve had on guitar music. Books like “Room Full of Mirrors: A Biography of Jimi Hendrix” by Charles R. Cross and “Clapton: The Autobiography” by Eric Clapton provide valuable insights into these guitar legends’ journeys and the guitars that accompanied them along the way.

Guitar Manufacturers

To fully appreciate the history of iconic guitars, it’s essential to understand the contributions of renowned guitar manufacturers. Fender, Gibson, and Martin are three companies that have played a significant role in shaping the guitar industry and producing some of the most iconic instruments of all time.


Fender is synonymous with electric guitars, and their instruments have indelibly shaped the sound of popular music. The company’s Stratocaster and Telecaster models have become iconic symbols of rock and blues. By exploring Fender’s history, you can better understand the innovations they brought to the guitar world, from the innovatively contoured body shapes to the introduction of electric amplification.


Gibson’s contribution to the guitar industry cannot be overstated. Their guitars, such as the Les Paul and the ES-335, have become legendary instruments in their own right. Gibson’s craftsmanship, attention to detail, and innovative designs have made them a beloved and respected brand among guitarists. Learning about Gibson’s history allows you to appreciate their commitment to quality, their contributions to guitar technology, and their lasting impact on popular music.


Known for their exceptional acoustic guitars, Martin has been crafting instruments since the early 19th century. Martin guitars have not only become staples of folk, bluegrass, and country music but have also found their way into the hands of iconic players from various genres. Exploring Martin’s history provides insights into their dedication to craftsmanship, the evolution of their designs, and their unwavering commitment to producing timeless instruments.

Documentaries and Films

For those who prefer a multimedia approach to learning, documentaries and films about guitars offer an immersive and visual experience. They provide an opportunity to see iconic guitars in action and learn about their historical significance and cultural impact.

It Might Get Loud

“It Might Get Loud” is a documentary featuring three influential guitarists: Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White. This film explores their individual approaches to the guitar and delves into their personal stories, showcasing the guitars that have played major roles in their careers. Through interviews, performances, and jam sessions, “It Might Get Loud” offers a unique perspective on the guitar’s power and its ability to shape music history.

The Search for Robert Johnson

“The Search for Robert Johnson” is a fascinating documentary that explores the life and legacy of blues guitarist Robert Johnson. This film delves into the mystery surrounding Johnson’s life and the influence he exerted on subsequent generations of guitarists. By shedding light on the history of the blues and Johnson’s unique playing style, this documentary provides valuable insights into the roots of guitar music and its far-reaching impact.

Les Paul: Chasing Sound

“Les Paul: Chasing Sound” is a documentary that pays homage to the legendary electric guitar pioneer, Les Paul. This film takes viewers on a journey through Paul’s life, from his childhood to his groundbreaking contributions to the music industry. By showcasing Paul’s innovative designs, such as the solid-body electric guitar and his groundbreaking work in multi-track recording, this documentary highlights the lasting impact of his inventions on guitar music and the recording industry.

Music Schools and Academies

For individuals seeking a more structured approach to learning about the history of iconic guitars, music schools and academies offer specialized courses, music appreciation programs, and masterclasses led by renowned guitarists.

Courses on Guitar History

Music schools and academies often offer courses that specifically focus on guitar history. These courses provide a comprehensive examination of the evolution of guitar music, influential players, and significant developments in guitar technology. By enrolling in these courses, you can gain an in-depth understanding of the historical context and cultural significance of iconic guitars, as well as the musicians who played them.

Music Appreciation Programs

Many music schools and academies offer music appreciation programs that delve into the broader history and genres of music. These programs often include sections dedicated to guitar music, where you can learn about the development of different guitar styles and the impact of iconic guitarists. Music appreciation programs allow you to explore the historical and cultural influences that have shaped guitar music throughout the ages.

Masterclasses with Renowned Guitarists

Masterclasses offer a unique opportunity to learn directly from renowned guitarists, many of whom are well-versed in the history of iconic guitars. These masterclasses provide a platform for guitarists to share their knowledge, insights, and personal experiences with students. By attending these sessions, you can gain first-hand insights into the history of guitars, as well as learn advanced techniques and approaches employed by guitar legends.

Vintage Guitar Shops

Exploring vintage guitar shops is an exciting way to get hands-on experience with iconic instruments and immerse yourself in the world of guitar history. Vintage guitar shops often boast a wide selection of classic and sought-after guitars, making them ideal destinations for enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Consulting Knowledgeable Staff

One of the greatest advantages of visiting vintage guitar shops is the opportunity to consult the knowledgeable staff. These experts possess extensive knowledge about guitars, their history, and their value. They can guide you through their collection, help you understand the unique characteristics of different guitar models, and provide insights into the historical context surrounding these instruments. The staff’s expertise ensures that you will receive accurate information and valuable advice when exploring the history of iconic guitars.

Exploring Guitar Collections

Vintage guitar shops often have vast collections of iconic guitars, ranging from rare and valuable models to more accessible and affordable options. By exploring these collections, you can see guitars that have played pivotal roles in music history and experience their unique craftsmanship up close. Whether you’re admiring the intricacies of a vintage Les Paul or marveling at the resonance of a pre-war Martin, vintage guitar shops offer a sensory experience that allows you to appreciate the historical significance and artistic beauty of iconic guitars.

Attending Workshops and Seminars

Many vintage guitar shops organize workshops and seminars that focus on the history of guitars and related topics. These events often feature industry professionals, collectors, and historians who share their knowledge and provide in-depth insights into the evolution of iconic guitars. Attending these workshops and seminars allows you to engage with experts in the field, ask questions, and gain a deeper understanding of the historical context and significance of guitars.

Guitar Festivals and Events

Guitar festivals and events offer a vibrant and immersive experience for guitar enthusiasts. These gatherings celebrate the instrument, showcase iconic guitars, and provide opportunities to immerse yourself in the rich history and culture surrounding guitars.

Crossroads Guitar Festival

The Crossroads Guitar Festival, founded by Eric Clapton, brings together some of the world’s greatest guitarists for a series of unforgettable performances. This festival not only showcases breathtaking talent but also offers a unique opportunity to witness iconic guitars being played live on stage. From historic Stratocasters to vintage Les Pauls, the Crossroads Guitar Festival presents a feast for the eyes and ears, providing a firsthand experience of the history and impact of these instruments.

Montreux Jazz Festival

While primarily a celebration of jazz music, the Montreux Jazz Festival also pays homage to the guitar as an integral part of the genre. This renowned festival boasts performances from guitar maestros across various styles, showcasing the versatility and artistry of the instrument. By attending the Montreux Jazz Festival, you can witness masterful guitar playing, explore the history of jazz guitar, and gain a deeper appreciation for the iconic guitars used by jazz legends.


MerleFest is an annual music festival that celebrates the life and music of the late guitarist Doc Watson. This festival features a diverse lineup of artists performing in various genres, including folk, bluegrass, and Americana. MerleFest provides an opportunity to experience the rich traditions and history of guitar music, as well as witness the impact of iconic guitars on these genres. The festival’s workshops, performances, and jam sessions create a vibrant atmosphere where guitar enthusiasts can fully immerse themselves in the history and artistry of the instrument.

Purchasing Authentic Iconic Guitars

If you’re looking to own a piece of guitar history, purchasing authentic iconic guitars can be an exhilarating endeavor. However, it’s crucial to approach the process with care and ensure that you’re acquiring genuine instruments from reliable sources. Here are three avenues to consider:

Auction Houses

Auction houses specializing in musical instruments are excellent places to find authentic iconic guitars. These reputable establishments curate collections that feature rare and valuable instruments, providing an opportunity to bid on guitars with significant historical or cultural significance. Auction houses often provide detailed documentation for each instrument, including its history, provenance, and condition. Participating in auctions allows you to potentially acquire guitars that have played a crucial role in music history.

Authorized Dealers

Authorized dealers for specific guitar manufacturers offer a reliable and trustworthy source for purchasing iconic guitars. Companies like Fender, Gibson, and Martin have established networks of authorized dealers who adhere to strict standards of authenticity, ensuring that you’re acquiring genuine instruments. Authorized dealers typically provide a range of models and options, allowing you to select guitars that align with your interests and budget. Purchasing from authorized dealers offers peace of mind and the assurance that you’re investing in authentic iconic guitars.

Vintage Guitar Stores

Specialized vintage guitar stores offer an extensive selection of iconic guitars, ranging from rare and collectible models to more accessible vintage instruments. These stores often have expert staff who meticulously research and evaluate each guitar’s authenticity and condition. By purchasing from a reputable vintage guitar store, you can access knowledgeable guidance and gain access to a wide range of iconic guitars with varying historical significance and price points.

In conclusion, the world offers a plethora of avenues to learn about the history of iconic guitars. From visiting museums and specialized guitar exhibitions to exploring online resources and engaging with the guitar community, enthusiasts have countless resources at their disposal. Additionally, books, documentaries, and films provide immersive experiences to delve deeper into the stories behind iconic guitars. Whether you prefer physical exploration or virtual learning, the guitar history journey is yours to embark upon. So go forth, explore, and immerse yourself in the captivating world of iconic guitars.