Even if you’re not a guitar aficionado, chances are you’ve heard of Les Paul, the American Jazz and country virtuoso who invented the solid-body electric guitar that made the sound of rock and roll possible.
Along with Les Paul’s eponymous classic instrument, the Fender Stratocaster is the most popular electric guitar manufactured continuously by the Fender Musical Instruments Corp. to present.
This Memorial weekend, a host of 10-foot Fender Stratocaster guitars (60 of them!) showed up in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Under a Greater Cleveland community public art project called GuitarMania, local and celebrity artists sculpted, decorated and painted these gigantic guitars.
Among the artists were engineers from Rambus, who built for this occasion a guitar illuminated with some of the most advanced LED lighting in the world.
In case you are wondering why on earth Rambus (Mountain View, Calif.) -- best known for the company’s memory technology IPs (and sometimes for its aggressive legal tactics) -- is fooling around with psychedelic LED guitars, remember that Rambus is also deep into LED lighting technology development these days.
In 2010, Rambus acquired technology and patents related to LCDs and optoelectronics from Global Lighting Technologies (GLT) for $26 million. Along with GLT’s innovative LED edge-lighting technology for LCD TVs and general illumination, Rambus also hired its inventor Jeff Parker and his engineering team. Rambus’ intention is to nurture the acquired technologies for further development.
Rambus’ lighting team is based in Brecksville, Ohio.
In order to raise money for the Rock Hall and United Way’s education funds, Rambus engineers built a 10-foot Fender Stratocaster replica with an irresistible blue glow.
The engineers distributed the light from 280 LEDs over the guitar's surface with a combination of the company’s lighting technologies known as MicroLens and edge-lit design.
“The advanced LEDs struck a chord,” said Rambus. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is going to display the guitar in its lobby from Memorial Day to Labor Day as part of the GuitarMania fundraiser. Rambus officials couldn’t help but add one more plug for its feat. “As an added bonus, the LEDs will last for about 25 years before needing replacement.”
As for the rest of the 10-ft Fender Stratocasters, they will be dispersed to the streets of downtown Cleveland, where they will stay for the summer. Then, on Labor Day weekend, they will be auctioned off to raise money for the United Way of Greater Cleveland and the Rock Hall's education programs.
Enjoy the GuitaMania slideshow on the following pages.