Guitar Inspirations: No Strumming Needed

Ken Parker Archtop Guitar. Image via Premiere Guitar.

I’ve got a thing for the guitar. Partly because I am fascinated by guitarists — I have had crushes on some. And partly because it’s the only instrument I know how to play, albeit not well. I love that it’s down-to-earth and not snobbish at all, but rather extremely approachable! People from all walks of life can touch it, play it, listen to it.

Inside an acoustic guitar. Image via Graf Guitars.

Mostly I just find it wonderful and magical how this amalgamation of wood and strings can create music.

One of my best memories is waking up one morning in the deck of a my college roommate’s family’s beach house to a beautiful sunrise, cool ocean breeze, and the sound of a friend playing his guitar against the background of waves rippling onto the shore. I just lay there relishing the moment, the experience of sheer contentment.

But even when it’s mute, a guitar’s beauty remains — in the grain of its wood, in the gracefulness of its neck, in the curves of its body, in its strings, knobs, frets. In and by itself a guitar is a sculpture — an enthrallingly engaging kind, one that can be held and touched, one that responds to its player’s embrace with a melody.

Do we wonder then that the guitar is not only a muse to countless musicians, but painters, sculptors, photographers and crafters as well?

"The Old Guitarist" by Pablo Picasso, 1903

Collage by Picasso

"Guitar, Sheet Music, and Glass" by Pablo Picasso, 1912. Image via MoMA.

Guitar, sheetmetal

"Guitar" by Pablo Picasso, sheet metal and wire, 1914. Image via MoMA.

Pablo Picasso was a fan, allowing the guitar to share in the bleakness of his blue period, and in the exuberance of his ground-breaking experimentation a decade later. I was quite enamored of his sheet metal guitar, that I made a version of it (attempted to) in pottery class some years ago.

Image by Nathalie Mariano

By Nathalie Mariano

Here’s another one I’ve made, a product of some musings on how womanly the guitar’s shape is.

Here are other awesome expressions of other artists’ affinity for this amazing stringed instrument.

From Jon Pettyjohn's Guitar Series

Typographic Guitar. Image via Web Design Burn

From Kaki King Guitar Art Project. By Ninja via Ninja vs Penguin.

Cement Guitar Art in Victoria Park Kitchener, Ontario.

Guitar Tattoo. Image via Spoki.

From Pinterest user Margorie Doering

Stuffed plushy guitar

Image via Pour Mes Jolis Momes

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