The Re-Chorded History of Illinois Guitars

Curated/Designed by: Illinois Rock n’ Roll Museum on Route 66

The special temporary exhibit will serve as the premier public opening for the Illinois Rock n’ Roll Museum on Route 66 in Joliet, Illinois. Often relegated to a place behind larger brands, the guitars from Illinois played a key role in changing the course of 20th century popular music. A true mid-western underdog story, Chicago once served as the mass-production epicenter for innovative, unique – and affordable – guitars. Initially coveted by savvy Chicago blues pioneers, soon middle-class families across the country discovered these instruments as the ticket to childhood dreams of stardom and expression. Out of this culture spawned young, ambitious entrepreneurs looking to make their mark on the industry. This exhibit, written by award winning author Wally Marx Jr., will chronicle how guitars from Illinois have become cherished by contemporary rock stars and collectors across the globe and have found their way into hearts of players. The exhibit will also feature instruments played by some of Illinois’ greatest guitarists including Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, Jim Peterik of the Ides of March, and Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins and many others.

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