The Tour
The Book
The Exhibit
Let’s hope that the diagnostic imaging clinic’s quality assurance officer doesn’t happen to drop in on the scene unfolding before our eyes … and ears. The place is abuzz this afternoon and the waiting room is packed. While some patients are being carefully cradled in their guardians’ arms, others are strewn about the floor or leaning against walls. We’re trying to reach the first subject for our new diagnostic screening project and, as fate would have it, we’ve chosen the patient propped up in the far corner of the frenzied space. So, we’re stepping over some patients, weaving around others, and simply trying to observe that most basic of Hippocratic commands, “first, do no harm.” To make matters worse, a few inhabitants of the waiting room have broken into song and this has catalyzed others into snatching patients from the floor and dragging them toward the source of merriment.

Yep, we’re X-raying guitars. "We" are Shelley Giordano, Tania Blythe and Natalie Pellatier of the Quinnipiac University Diagnostic Imaging Department, and yours truly, certified and certifiable guitar geek. The scene with Patient Number One, a 1943 Gibson Southerner Jumbo, unfolded several years ago as an adjunct to the book, “Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of extraordinary Women and Gibson's 'Banner" Guitars of WWII.” We’ve since published our scientific findings in a pair of articles in the journal of the American Society of Radiologic Technologists (Subscribe now!). But, the process was intriguing, we enjoyed the waiting room jam sessions and getting to play some rare, vintage guitars, and well, the pics just look cool.

Dare we say that the images are “art”? Thanks to the vision of Kate Paranteau, the Director of both River Street Gallery and Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, Connecticut, graphic design and artistic advice of Lesley Holford, and the stunning framing and installation work of Dwight Pederson, the answer, is a definite “yes.” On September 15, 2012, “Vintage Steel: the Art and History of the American Steel String Guitar” opened for a five month run at River Street Gallery.

Don your lead apron, step inside our state-of-the-art digital imaging facility, and take a gander at “Vintage Steel.” And, if you’d like to see this exhibit visit a museum or gallery near you, get thee to the "Contact" page.

John Thomas
The Art and History of the Steel String Guitar