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Dear Musician - The Gig ... A Celebration

... the discovery of a hidden treasure


by Dendy Jarrett



Dear Musician -

April is International Guitar Month. I'm a drummer, so why would I care? Well, the guitar is arguably one of the most influential instruments that developed our music today. Truly, all fretted instruments are extremely important in music history, but the guitar takes the prize, especially after The Beatles performed on national TV on the Ed Sullivan show. And since the guitar has so influeneced music and inspired so many to make better music, I'm a big fan.


International Guitar Month, which began in 1987, is an annual celebration of guitars and guitar products promoted by the Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association (GAMA) and the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) to attract awareness and develop loyalty.


I was surprised to learn this past week as I was receiving e-mails for International Guitar Month of a hidden treasure right here in Nashville ... Harmony Central's corporate back yard! How could I have missed this gem for the last year?


Nashville's Gallery of Iconic Guitars (The GIG) opened its doors on April 25, 2017,  with a special performance from legendary musicians Vince Gill and Ricky Skaggs. The following is from a press release on April 10, 2018:

"The museum now attracts tourists and musicians alike who seek a sneak peek at the historically significant stringed instruments. The GIG is the result of a gift to Belmont University of nearly 500 vintage guitars and supporting endowment—amounting to a total value of approximately $10.5 million—from the estate of the late Steven Kern Shaw. Shaw was a collector, philanthropist, and the grandson of Jerome Kern, who was one of America’s foremost composers of musical theater and popular music (responsible for such classic songs as “Ol’ Man River”, “The Way You Look Tonight,” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”).

Steven Kern Shaw family friend George Gruhn (founder of Gruhn Guitars and vintage instrument expert) serves as co-executor of the estate and noted that Mr. Shaw’s will specified his desire that the instruments be donated to an institution capable of properly exhibiting and caring for them, preferably in the Nashville area.

Gruhn noted, “An instrument is not a servant to a musician, but rather a partner. The really great instruments are alive, and they make suggestions. Sometimes you lead them and sometimes they lead you… Belmont University was the natural choice for a permanent home for this collection since it draws students and scholars from around the world and is noted for the excellence of its music programs.”

The collection has a total of nearly 500 unique and irreplaceable instruments with approximately 100 guitars currently on display, from an 1887 Martin 0-28 to a 1989 Paul Reed Smith Custom 24 “10 Top.”

The Gallery of Iconic Guitars is located on the campus of Belmont University inside the Lila D. Bunch Library (1907 Belmont Blvd., Nashville, TN 37212) and is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m.  Free parking is available on the street and in designated visitor lots. Admission is $5 but free for children under 12, as well as Belmont students, faculty and staff.

Visit thegigatbelmont.com for more information and to purchase tickets."


So, celebrate International Guitar month, whether you're a guitarist or not, and the next time you're in Nashville, make certain you discover The Gig. You'll be inspired to make better music!


photo credit: Sam Simpkins/Belmont University





Dendy Jarrett is the Publisher and Executive Director of Harmony Central. He has been heavily involved at the executive level in many aspects of the drum and percussion industry for over 25 years and has been a professional player since he was 16. His articles and product reviews have been featured in InTune Monthly, Gig Magazine, DRUM! and Modern Drummer Magazines.


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Alex2x3  |  May 02, 2018 at 6:42 am
Your ways to describe the partnership between instruments are truly heart-warming. I've never thought of this like that. It's truly interesting to see it this way. Happy Guitar Month, Dendy! And thanks for this article.
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