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Music Rising's ohyay gallery brings the stories of over 30 famous guitars to life

Written by 
Aletta Hiemstra

Today, Music Rising and ohyay are launching a virtual gallery (www.ohyay.co/musicrising) with over 30 guitars donated by Bono, Lenny Kravitz, Tom Morello, Paul McCartney, Joan Jett, and Elton John, among many other legendary musicians and friends of Music Rising. 

Virtual guitar gallery where fans can navigate into artist rooms to learn the stories behind the donated instruments.

Music Rising was co-founded by U2’s The Edge and producer Bob Ezrin in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to help musicians regain their livelihoods. “COVID-19 has posed a similar existential threat to music in New Orleans. We wanted to run an auction of ‘star owned’ and played instruments to once again lift up musicians in the city,” said The Edge. 

The Edge surprised U2 super fans during their early access event on November 28.

Music Rising set out to create an interactive ohyay environment where fans could learn about the history of music in New Orleans and guitars to be auctioned off at “Guitar Icons: A Musical Instrument Auction to Benefit Music Rising” on December 11th. Music fans from around the world can enter the virtual guitar gallery to access 360 degree views of the hand-picked instruments and watch performances filmed exclusively for the experience.

A special performance and video by Bono, filmed for the ohyay experience.
Fans can click on each guitar to view it in 360 degrees and learn more about its history.

What excited The Edge about ohyay was “its potential to create communal, experiential, and inclusive virtual spaces,” he said. “While putting together the live guitar auction, an idea formed: let’s ask the artists to shoot videos playing the instruments they’ve donated and bring it all to life in ohyay.” 

Fans trying on U2 outfits and merchandise with The Edge.

The result? A virtual space brimming with each artist’s personality, all set against the backdrop of iconic New Orleans landmarks — including Bourbon Street, Preservation Hall, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. 

Here’s an overview of the virtual experience, available at www.ohyay.co/musicrising — 

  • You start on a virtual trolley that transports you to a virtual Bourbon Street, New Orleans.
The Edge and company riding the virtual trolley to Bourbon Street.
  • Upon arrival on Bourbon Street, a virtual The Edge appears and tells the story behind Music Rising and the live guitar auction. “To keep live music alive beyond the pandemic, we have to offer a helping hand now,” he urges. 
  • From there, you can navigate into special jazz exhibits, an exclusive virtual store, or the guitar viewing gallery. 
A virtual recreation of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.
Virtual store where fans can purchase new and limited edition Music Rising merchandise.
  • In the jazz exhibits, you can get a feel for New Orleans’ rich music culture by watching footage from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s archive. 
  • In the guitar gallery, click on each donated guitar to enter its respective artist room and watch videos detailing its history. 
"Buy this guitar!" -Ronnie Wood in his artist room
Front row seats for a recorded performance and talk by The Edge.
A fan trying on sunglasses in Lenny Kravitz's desert room.
  • Once in the artist rooms, click on “Register to Bid” in the upper right corner to place a bid on a guitar in advance of the live auction. 

Some standout virtual artist rooms: 

The Edge 

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” Custom Signature Fender Stratocaster

Take a seat on The Edge’s living room couch and learn about his custom Strat, which he played on tour with U2 from 2017-2019. “Artists have gotten together to sell guitars and other rock n’ roll paraphernalia to raise money for the music and culture of New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz and R&B,” he says. Stay as long as you want, but please, no feet on his coffee table — he’s just painted it :)

Paul McCartney 

Tour and Studio-Played Left-Handed Wings Yamaha BB-1200 Bass

Join The Beatles’ bassist Paul McCartney on the rainy streets of London, where he showcases his maple, elder, and mahogany Yamaha bass. Click on the street sign to view a photograph of him playing the guitar with Stevie Wonder in 1981, during the “Tug of War” recording sessions. 

Chris Martin 

Tour-Played Custom Painted Fender Telecaster Deluxe 

Step into rainbow-colored lights flashing across Coldplay’s “Mylo Xyloto” tour stage and watch Chris Martin play the chords from “God Put a Smile on Her Face” on his painted fender telecaster deluxe. Up close, you can see that the street art-inspired guitar is a vibrant artwork in itself and a piece of Coldplay’s overall stage presentation.

Tom Morello

Signature "Soul Power" Stratocaster

Get an inside look into Tom Morello’s studio, where he rehearses, records albums, scores films, and jams with his kids. Hear about the guitarist’s involvement with Music Rising and the guitar that he played on his latest album, “The Atlas Underground Fire.” “We’re stepping up for a city that we all love and that is so culturally important to the history of music,” he says. 

Eddie Vedder

Concert Smashed Fender Telecaster

Dive into an undersea cove to reach Eddie Vedder’s concert-smashed Lake Placid-Blue Fender American Special Telecaster. You can also bid on signed posters, a ukulele, and a hand-illustrated tambourine. 

Alice Cooper 

Tournament Used Big Bertha Golf Clubs 

Head out to the golf course to see Alice Cooper’s personal set of Callaway Big Bertha golf clubs. “I play golf every day. When I do, I have a choice of clubs. Today, I’ve chosen these. I played with these in the Bob Hope Classic with John Daily and Arnold Palmer,” says Alice. 

A few of our favorite fan Tweets (so far!): 


Anyone can join the ohyay experience and invite their friends along. Head over to www.ohyay.co/musicrising starting today until January 1, 2022.

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Aletta Hiemstra

Community & Communications at ohyay