Thanks to a donation from Epiphone valued at $3,500, the Waukesha County Museum is now home to 20 new guitars.
It's the latest new addition to the museum, which recently opened the Les Paul exhibit earlier this summer.
Among Paul's many inventions and contributions to the music industry, the man known as the Wizard of Waukesha created the Log using Epiphone parts in some of his first steps toward creating the modern day electric guitar.
"Epiphone's rich history with Les Paul makes this donation to the Waukesha County Museum an excellent fit," said Jim Rosenberg, president of Epiphone Guitar, a musical instrument manufacturer. "Whether you're young or young at heart, we're celebrating Les Paul's legacy by getting these instruments into the hands of as many people as we can."
Ten of the guitars are Les Paul Performance packs and include a Les Paul Special-II guitar as well as a 15-watt amplifier with reverb and a tuner. The other 10 are AJ-220S acoustics.
The guitars will be integrated into the museum's Les Paul Guitar Grab program, a partnership between the museum and White House of Music. Les Paul Guitar Grab participants will learn basic chords from a certified instructor from White House of Music. The upcoming sessions are scheduled for Sept. 10, Oct. 1, Oct. 22, Nov. 12 and Dec. 3.
The fee for each session is $10 for adults and $5 for children.
Besides the instruction, participants receive a packet containing coupons and a ticket to tour the Les Paul exhibit during museum hours. Registration is limited, and required by the Saturday before the desired date.
White House of Music will send its own instructors to work with program participants.
Longtime museum partner Hal Leonard Corporation is also supporting these efforts by donating 40 copies of "The Epiphone Guitar Book: A Complete History of Epiphone Guitars" to the museum. They will be given to the first 40 program participants.
"The support we've received from Epiphone, Hal Leonard and White House of Music is tremendous, and enables us to continue addressing important community needs," said Kirsten Lee Villegas, president and CEO of the Waukesha County Museum. "There's nothing like the feeling that comes with strumming your first chord or playing your first song.