June 15, 2011 Edition

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The Lawrence County Tourism Committee has fine-tuned original plans for the Guitar Walk, slated to be built in downtown Walnut Ridge. Details can be seen in this computer-generated model.

New Guitar Walk
plans show details

Visitors to Walnut Ridge will soon get to experience a genuine rockabilly guitar, and on a massive scale. Plans for the Guitar Walk to be built downtown have been updated to look the part of a genuine electric guitar, down to the finest details.

"As our latest drawing shows, the Guitar Walk is taking on the look of a modified Gibson Epiphone guitar," said Charles Snapp of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Tourism Committee. "John Lennon, as well as other Beatles and numerous rockabilly and Sun Studio artists, played Epiphones, or similar guitars from other manufacturers, and that's why plans call for the look of an Epiphone, by Gibson."

The Guitar Walk is to be constructed south of the Chamber of Commerce office, a few feet from Rock 'n' Roll Highway 67.

According to plans, as visitors walk from the south side of the chamber parking lot, approaching the guitar's headstock, they will notice six well-groomed bushes, representing tuning pegs.

"That's the start of what may be the world's largest guitar. At 100 foot long by 40 feet wide this guitar may break all the existing size records," Snapp said.

As they proceed down the neck of the guitar, visitors will notice the cement isn't the drab gray concrete called for in the original plans. Instead, the entire guitar will have coloring embedded in the concrete, to match the color configuration of the guitar.

"A bit further down the neck, and they're sure to notice the strings of the guitar aren't there at all. Instead, the concrete will have strips cut to an appropriate depth, representing the actual placement of the guitar strings," said Snapp.

In addition to the strings, plans call for using flat brass bars for the "frets" along the neck, all providing perfect detail, yet permitting the Guitar Walk to remain handicap accessible.

On the body of the guitar, visitors will see the instrument's bridge and the pickups are shown in great detail as part of the embedded coloring, and they will also notice the aluminum volume and tone knobs have been formed and raised to make stools.

And, if there happen to be several in a group, the "F-note cutaways" will be what they are looking for, as plans call for them to be raised and used for benches, according to Snapp.

Spaced around the body of the Guitar Walk will be eight life-sized silhouettes, representing some of the Sun Studio and rockabilly artists who traveled Rock 'n' Roll Highway 67 in the 1950s.

"Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Conway Twitty are just a few of the original silhouettes being included, and each will be accompanied by an aluminum plaque providing an overview of why that person was selected to be one of the first to be included around the newly designed Guitar Walk," he noted.

The tourism committee, working in conjunction with the Downtown Walnut Ridge Association, continues to raise funds for the tourist attraction. Snapp reported that the effort has now crossed the $20,000 threshold, which is over halfway toward funding the project.

In addition, the tourism committee has fully funded a Beatles tribute, known as the British Invasion of the Rock 'n' Roll Highway. That sculpture will also be placed in downtown Walnut Ridge, commemorating the Beatles' surprise visit to the Walnut Ridge Airport in 1964.

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