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Let’s Rock and Roll at the Met

Let’s Rock and Roll at the Met

Lovers of Rock and Roll time to Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art . Over 130 instruments, played by a cross-section of iconic musicians, are all tucked into one space.

Play It Loud Metropolitan Museum of Art Chuck Berry

All images courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Chuck Berry guitar that was used to record “Johnny B. Goode.” Berry (1926-2017) is considered to be rock & roll’s prime innovator. Guitars by Muddy Waters, the Beatles’ George Harrison, Heart’s Nancy Wilson, and dozens of others, are also on display. Guitars primarily make up the exhibit. Jimi Hendrix white guitar he played at Woodstock, Prince’s 1993 “Love Symbol” guitar, Pete Townshend’s smashed guitars encased in lucite, Joan Jett’s guitar and Jack White’s red Airline guitar that he played with The White Stripes.

Eddie Van Halen’s guitar played on “Eruption,” is in the exhibit’s Guitar Gods section. His 1975 “Frankenstein” red, black, and white guitar is in a glass display, and you can see both the front and back of the Fender that he took to with a chisel and a hammer to cut holes to make room for a Gibson pickup, and later twice re-painted.

Play It Loud Instruments of Rock and Roll Guitar Gods Eddie Van Halen Frankenstein Guitar

Eddie Van Halen’s 1975 “Frankenstein” guitar can be seen from both sides in the exhibit’s Guitar Gods section.

In an interview clip Van Halen states, “Ninety percent of the things that I do on guitar, if I had taken lessons and learned to play by the book, I would not play at all the way I do…Crossing a Gibson with a Fender was out of necessity, because there was no guitar on the market that did what I wanted.”

Eddie’s 1978 rig is also on display, along with rigs of Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, each accompanied by video clips.

Eddie Van Halen 1978 rig Play It Loud Metropolitan Museum of Art

Eddie Van Halen’s 1978 rig.

Jimmy Page initially worked as a studio musician, his custom double neck guitar is on display—a combined acoustic and electric guitar that he created to play “Stairway to Heaven.”

Jimmy Page Double neck Acoustic Electric Guitar Play It Loud Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jimmy Page’s double neck guitar. 

Then there are the piano’s and drums. Jerry Lee Lewis’s gold baby grand piano, Lady Gaga’s custom Artpop piano, The Who’s drum kit, Steve Miller’s analog synthesizer and EP-3 Tape Echo, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s towering Moog synthesizer. Music festival posters from Woodstock, Monterey, and other concert events are highlighted as well.

Play It Loud Moog Synthesizer keyboard instruments Metropolitan Museum of Art

In the background, Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s Moog synthesizer. In the front, Steve Miller’s analog synthesizer (right), with the Echoplex EP-3 Tape Echo, left.

The exhibit’s will be special events and runs through Oct. 1st,

For more information, visit


Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email:

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