Guitar geekery meets Game of Thrones at the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM)’s new exhibit Dragons and Vines: Inlaid Guitar Masterpieces. The collection, running through September 4, 2017, features guitars, banjos, and one ukulele with inlay design created by some of the greatest contemporary North American inlay artists and luthiers.
Highlights include a Martin D-50 Koa Deluxe (2003), which features Martin’s traditional “Tree of Life” design with vine patterns cut from dark-heart abalone shell and outlined in mother-of-pearl; and Martin’s “Night Dive” OM (2004) with its fretboard depicting divers collecting abalone shells, rendered as if seen through rippling water.
The never-before-seen exhibition—exclusive to the MIM—is presented in partnership with the Maryland-based inlay company Pearl Works, with the majority of the pieces coming from the private collection of the company’s founder, Larry Sifel (1948–2006). Based in Phoenix, Arizona, the MIM’s permanent collection boasts 16,000 musical instruments and associated objects and includes ethnic, folk, and tribal instruments from around the world.
This article originally appeared in the December 2016 issue of Acoustic Guitar magazine.