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The Instruments of Rock & Roll show rocks the Met Museum

Opening April 8, the Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll exhibition debuts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

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Steve Guttenberg

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The Roots stage setup

With its new exhibition, Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock & Roll the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City examines the "tools" of the trade, and rock and roll's outsize influence on culture. The show opens on April 8, and visitors will experience the artistry and craftsmanship of the most iconic instruments of rock music. There is no separate admission fee to see the exhibit. 

Above, the Roots stage instruments.

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A really big show

Play It Loud showcases 130 instruments dating from 1939 to 2017 -- played by artists such as Chuck Berry, Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Don Felder, Kim Gordon, Jimi Hendrix, James Hetfield, Wanda Jackson, Joan Jett, Lady Gaga, Steve Miller, Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Page, Kate Pierson, Elvis Presley, Prince, Keith Richards, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Eddie Van Halen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, St. Vincent, Tina Weymouth, Nancy Wilson and others.

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The Beatles stage set

Ringo Starr's Ludwig drum kit is flanked by John Lennon's Rickenbacker 325 12-string and George Harrison's first electric guitar, the Hofner Club 40.

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Eddie Van Halen's rig

This is a reconstruction of Van Halen's 1978 rig, the year the band Van Halen released its debut album.

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Jerry Lee Lewis' grand piano

The instrument here, painted gold, was Jerry Lee Lewis' home piano from 1957 to 2017.

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Jimmy Page mannequin with 1971 EDS double-neck guitar

Jimmy Page used this iconic guitar to play the acoustic and electric parts of 1971's Stairway to Heaven.

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Tom Morello's rig from the 1980s to 2000s

You know, Tom from Rage Against the Machine; he plays a Gibson Explorer II and James Trussant Steelcaster guitars.

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Prince's guitar

Prince asked instrument maker Jerry Auerswald to design and build this guitar in the shape of his eponymous symbol. 

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Keith Richards five-string Telecaster

It's missing the low E.

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Kurt Cobain's demolished Stratocaster

A different way to "play" a guitar.

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Steve Vai's guitar

This "Bones" JEM Series Stratocaster prototype was made with humbucking pickups in 1987. 

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Vox Continental organ (1964-65)

Ray Manzarek of the Doors was one of the first rock musicians to use a multi-keyboard setup with a Vox. 

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Eddie Van Halen's Frankenstein composite electric guitar, 1975

This guitar was pieced together by Eddie Van Halen from modified factory seconds and mismatched odd-lot parts, then spray-painted. It represents an effort to combine some of the most desirable elements of Gibson and Fender guitars into a single instrument that was not commercially available at the time.

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Frankenstein guitar's guts

A piece of work!

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Metallica's stage set

Metallica made a big sound with just a few instruments!

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James Hetfield's JH-2 Custom Explorer guitar

James Hetfield's second signature model, the JH-2, is an Explorer-style guitar outfitted for heavy-metal performances. This one-of-a-kind version features a chrome-diamond-plate top that Metallica provided to the ESP Custom Shop.

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The Who's stage set

Check out the double kick drums.

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Keith Emerson's Moog systhesizer

This is Emerson's customized Moog Modular Synthesizer with keyboard, ribbon controllers and stand from 1968.

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Jimmy Page's rig

Page bought the black-and-white guitar from London's Selmer shop in 1963 for his session recording work; the acoustic is a Sovereign H1260.

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Rear of Steve Miller's Les Paul TV Special guitar

Sometimes the backside of a guitar was more interesting than the front. 

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Buddy Holly's J-45 Gibson guitar

Buddy Holly composed many of his hits with this wartime Gibson J-45.

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Mellotron MkII keyboard instrument

The Mellotron uses prerecorded three-track tapes to produce orchestral instrument sounds, rhythm tracks and effects. This Mellotron was played by the Rolling Stones on their Their Satanic Majesties Request album. 

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Two Hofner violin basses

The left one was built for Paul McCartney. 

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Early 1960s concert poster

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Eric Clapton's Blackie guitar

Blackie was Eric Clapton's main recording and performance guitar in the 1970s and 1980s, and has become his most famous instrument. Clapton's guitar tech, Ted Newman-Jones, assembled it from three late-1950s Stratocasters: it has a 1956 body, a 1957 neck, and 1950s pickups.

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Roland SH-2000, 1973

The SH-2000 and its sibling the SH-1000 were the first keyboards produced by Roland. Smaller and easier to play than Moog and ARP synths, the Roland SH series employed a series of preset sounds. 

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Roland SH-2000, 1973, detail

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Keith Richards rig

Here are Keith Richards' Fender High Power Twin Combo amps.

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Keith Richards 1959 Les Paul Standard guitar

This beauty has a burst finish with a Bigsby tremolo.

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Play It Loud closes October 1, 2019

The exhibition uses instruments borrowed from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and will close at the end of the year.

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Play It Loud, the book

If you can't see the show, get the book, It's lavishly illustrated.

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