Prince’s Grand Piano, Eric Clapton’s Guitar, to Be Displayed in Arizona

A purple grand piano played by Prince on his 1997 ‘Jam of the Year’ tour will be on exhibit at the Musical Instruments Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, opening on Nov. 11.

The new exhibit–Treasures: Legendary Musical Instruments — includes pieces from ancient flutes to priceless instruments owned and played by musical icons like Prince and Eric Clapton.

Clapton’s famed 1956 Stratocaster, “Brownie,” which can be heard on classics like “Layla,” will be on display, as well as the 1958 Gibson Flying V guitar. Instruments dating back to the 14th Century as well as Jacob Hochbrucker’s pedal harp design c. 1720 and the “first ukulele” from Hawaii dated 1879 will also be showcased.

The exhibition will reopen as Rediscover Treasures: Legendary Musical Instruments on Nov. 11, and features 28 new acquisitions and loans of historical significance for guests to explore alongside exhibition favorites like the Erard grand piano, Amati violin and viola, ancient Mesopotamian lyre fragments, and Jimi Hendrix’s Black Widow electric guitar.

Featured historic instruments in Rediscover Treasures include:

• Prince’s Purple Yamaha Grand Piano.

This purple Yamaha grand piano featuring the word “beautiful” written in metallic gold was used during Prince’s Jam of the Year tour from 1997 to 1998 following the release of his triple album Emancipation. The artist danced atop the piano during live performances, as seen in the “Somebody’s Somebody” music video.

Also on display is Prince’s green stage wardrobe featured in the same music video, as well as a custom “Black Power” Lākland bass. Bassist Rhonda Smith –who recently appeared with Jeff Beck at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank–commissioned this instrument and gifted it to Prince in the late 90s.

Loans courtesy of The Estate of Prince Rogers Nelson and Paisley Park

• “Brownie,” Eric Clapton’s 1956 Fender Stratocaster.

This two-color sunburst electric guitar was Clapton’s first Stratocaster, and it became a key part of the guitarist’s signature tone. Purchased by Clapton in a London music shop in 1967, the guitar can be heard on Clapton’s early solo classics, such as “Layla” and “Bell Bottom Blues.”

Courtesy of the Museum of Pop Culture, Seattle, WA

• 1958 Gibson Flying V electric guitar.

Created to compete with popular guitars like the Fender Stratocaster, the modernistic Flying V was initially so controversial that only 81 examples were shipped in 1958, making originals incredibly rare. This particular Flying V has been played by many world-class guitarists, including Joe Bonamassa, Eric Johnson, and Jack Pearson.

Anonymous loan

• Lionel Hampton’s Deagan vibraphone, c. 1935.

This one-of-a-kind gold “King George” model vibraphone was custom-made for Lionel Hampton, and remains the only example built to the Deagan company’s most deluxe trim level. Known as the “King of the Vibes,” Hampton played on recordings by Louis Armstrong and others, and he effectively introduced the vibraphone to jazz music.

• Dizzy Gillespie’s Martin Committee trumpet.

Regarded as one of the most iconic trumpeters of all time, Gillespie played an equally iconic trumpet with a distinctive angled bell. The trumpet on display is one of Gillespie’s personal instruments; built in 1962, it features gold plating, custom engraving, and his signature upturned bell in sterling silver.

Loan courtesy of Joey DeFrancesco

For more information or if you are planning a trip, click HERE.

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