Umeå can blame music for placing this northern Swedish city on the world map. Maybe, this is why Umeå is home to the gorgeous Guitars Museum!
Bands like Meshuggah and Refused call Umeå home, and they are not alone. The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Nocturnal Rites, Koma, Naglfar; we could be name-dropping bands for quite a while here. But, this is not everything you can hear in Umeå; the city has also been a base for the Norrland Opera, the opera of northern Sweden. And one of Europe’s oldest and among Scandinavia’s largest modern jazz festivals: is the Umeå Jazz Festival.
Fotostrasse visits the Guitars Museum in Umeå.
Last week, we had the pleasure of being there for the Guitars Museum opening, and we can say that you should go there. The Guitars Museum is Europe’s largest guitar museum and one of the world’s largest privately-owned vintage guitar collections, with more than 500 electric guitars, basses, and lots and lots of vintage items.
In the building, you can also visit Scharinksa, Umeå’s renowned live music venue, formerly a historic family home built around 1904, and exhibitions on photography, fashion, art, and design inspired by music. A music shop, a studio, and a café can also be visited there.
You may be asking yourself how all those guitars ended up so close to the north pole, and the answer is simple: the love for music shared by the twin brothers Samuel Åhdén and Michael Åhdén. Their great interest in music began in the mid-sixties when the twin brothers used to follow their mother to the corner shop to buy sweets and magazines. One of the magazines featured an article on the Rolling Stones, a band that changed their life forever.
It took them three more years until they could play some chords. With the help of a neighbor who owned a Gibson Les Paul Custom and a Marshall amplifier, they started learning Chuck Berry songs. At the time, rock and blues albums were not easy to find, and they had to order them from a record store. An Eric Clapton album cover with a Gibson Les Paul sparked the start of this vast collection.
In 1973, the family went on a holiday trip to Stockholm, Sweden’s capital. And here, the boys visited the guitar guru Halkan and his music retail store, Rock House. There they found their dream place with lots of Fender and Gibson guitars. Later, in the summer of 1976, Samuel planned a trip through Europe.
Today, they have a unique and highly sought-after collection of guitars, basses, amplifiers, and props worth millions of dollars. And a considerable sum of money had been saved for this purpose, but before he set foot on foreign soil, Samuel wanted to visit Halkan, and there it was the long-awaited Gibson Les Paul guitar. This resulted in the vacation budget being minimized by about 95%. But the guitar was with him.
And you can see all these guitars at the Guitars Museum in Umeå. You can find them at Vasagatan 18-20, 903 29 in Umeå, Sweden.
And there are more pictures from our visit on Flickr: Umeå 2014 – Guitar Museum – a set on Flickr.