No trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York would be complete without a visit to the Musical Instrument Room. (It doesn't hurt when you bring your eleven year old son that it's right near Arms and Armor). Among the Stradivari Cello, the tortoiseshell violin bow, and the beautifully carved mandolin, are two guitars once owned by the father of classical guitar Andrés Segovia. I like to think some of that magic can rub off even through the exhibit glass.
Opening at the Met on January 14, and running until December 7 is an exhibit of Early American Guitars made by C.F. Martin. The founder of the Martin Guitar Co. Christian Frederick Martin learned to make guitars in is native city of Vienna, Austria. When he moved to America in 1833 was influenced by Spanish-style guitars, and that marriage gave birth to a uniquely American Guitar.
The story is told in a new book as well. Inventing the American Guitar Edited by Robert Shaw and Peter Szego was published by Hal Leonard last year. It includes detailed explanations of how C. F. Martin's design innovations led to the kinds of guitars we play today.
Related events include a concert by Rosanne Cash and Friends at the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium at the Met on February 22nd. In the meantime check out the Rosanne Cash video: