This is my third post about the guitars on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts.
The first – A Trip To The Museum – went up on March 13, 2014. It features three very old guitars (circa 1628, 1680 & 1725) found in the MFA’s “Musical Instruments” gallery. The second post – Another Trip To The Museum – appeared on September 2, 2017. It features three newer guitars (circa 1840, 1954 & 1964) also (still!) to be found in Gallery #103.
On my latest trip to 465 Huntington Avenue this past January, I visited Level 3 of the MFA’s Art of America wing and took a close look at the two gorgeous guitars on display there.
The two musical works of art share a tall square glass case. The case stands just about in the middle of the floor in the back gallery on the right hand side of Level 3. Both instruments are products of the National String Instrument Corporation.
(The National String Instrument Corporation was formed in 1927 in Los Angeles, California by John Dopyera and George Beauchamp. The company manufactured the first resonator guitars.)
The acoustic guitar pictured below is a Tri-Cone Resonator guitar built in 1934. Its body is made of nickel alloy plated with nickel silver.
Here is a photo of the guitar that hangs in the case behind the resonator guitar.
This electric instrument is a Lap Steel Guitar, the “New Yorker” model, made in 1947. It is made of wood and plastic.
Both of these remarkable guitars are meant to be played “Hawaiian” style: the instrument lies horizontally across the player’s lap and the strings are “fretted” with a round steel bar or glass tube (or bottle) held in the player’s left hand. The player picks the strings finger style with his/her right hand. Hawaiian music with its distinctive swooping, sliding and melodious lead guitar was immensely popular in the United States during the first decades of the 20th century.
These instruments, and the others on display at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, remind me that what I always say is so very true: “The world of guitar is a vast, wonderful and fascinating place.”
P.S.: Level 3 of the Art of America wing at the MFA is also home to two of my favorite paintings: Number 10 (1949) by Jackson Pollock and Hot Still-Scape for Six Colors – 7th Avenue Style (1940) by Stuart Davis.