Bulger's Beat: Guitars of the stars give Nashville its nickname - WSMV News 4

Bulger's Beat: Guitars of the stars give Nashville its nickname

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The guitar was the musical instrument that helped give Nashville its nickname, Music City.

A recent exhibit at the Tennessee State Museum showcased more than 150 legendary guitars in style.

"Nashville is, besides being a music town, it's a guitar town. Everybody here loves guitars," said curator Renee White. "Just amazing pieces of art, beautifully made."

Among instruments on loan for the show was a guitar played by Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton's 1958 Gibson Explorer and singing cowboy star Roy Roger's OM-45 Deluxe guitar made by C.F. Martin & Co., circa 1930.

Intricate diagrams and the right material for wood and strings are a starting point for a great guitar, but it won't shout excellence in the wrong hands.

"It's like Chet Atkins - you have someone play Chet's guitar, and it doesn't sound the same way as Chet would make it sound," White said.

The guitars are carefully now packed up and on their way back to their owners, including Nashville's Vince Gill and other musicians.

While most museum-quality pieces are forever just exhibits, these can still play.

"There's magic in the guitar, and when you play a guitar, there's magic in the music," White said.

Now, if you've ever stopped to wonder why Nashville as Music City turned into a guitar town - more than, say, a piano town - it's an easy answer: mobility.

It's just a whole lot easier to move a guitar from gig to gig than it is a piano.

Next at the Tennessee State Museum is a traveling exhibit from the National Archives called 'Discovering the Civil War,' during which visitors can view the original Emancipation Proclamation.

The exhibit opens Feb. 12, and for more information visit: http://www.tnmuseum.org/home.cfm.

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