above: outside the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona
Recently I had the great pleasure of working at the Southwest Regional French Horn conference in Phoenix, Arizona. A few miles up the road from the college was the Musical Instrument Museum...so I had to go.
above: a Conn double bell Euphonium
The museum is organized by geographical areas; Europe, North America, South America, Asia, Oceania, Africa with musical instruments from almost every country in each area. When you enter the museum they give you a head set that automatically detects where you are and plays a musical example from the exhibit in front of you. It's pretty great.
In addition to the world exhibits, there is also an interactive exhibit with Nickelodeons (very elaborate player pianos with drums, accordions, bells, etc) gongs, drums and even a Theremin that you can play.
Across from the interactive exhibits was the restoration area. The museum had a large window so patrons could see specialists maintaining or preserving old instruments. Unfortunately we were there on a Sunday afternoon so there wasn't much going on.
above: Mike Riepe masterfully plays the Theremin
above: VERY old Conn Eb Tuba
above: Miraphone Wagner Tuba circa 1983
above: Rotary valve set from Cerveny Eb Helicon
above: another photo of the Cerveny Eb Helicon
above: a small Eb Tuba
above: the MIM had MANY helicons
above: 5 and 6 valve Trombones
above: some kind of strange Sousaphone shaped harmonica like horn
above: Rotor valve set with VERTICAL action and clockwork springs for a tenor Tuba
above: full view of the same Tenor Tuba
above: Eric Clapton's guitar "Brownie." He used this one to record Layla.
above: Steve Vai's custom 3 neck Ibanez. The top photo has a "cheat sheet" with the tunings listed for each neck.
above: Contrabass to be played with a double reed. A link in the chain between Bassoon and Ophicleide. The sort of great grandfather of Tuba...
above: Ophicleide on the right, the creature at the bottom is the bell of a Russian Bassoon.
above: civil war era "over the shoulder" horns
above: Musical Banana. Need I say more?
above: Paul Reed Smith (PRS) 25th Anniversary Dragon
above: Martin Guitars workshop display
above: the gift shop had Sousaphone magnets!
While at the museum I took many photos, but due to a technical problem I lost over half the photos I took. This entry is just dips your toes into how cool this museum is. The admission is (at the time of this writing) only $15.00 and in my humble opinion is worth every penny. If you are going to be near the Phoenix area anytime soon, please make plans to visit. I don't think you will leave disappointed.