Cheap Trick’s Tom Petersson, Inventor of the 12-String Bass, Adds to Rick Nielsen's "Rick’s Picks" Exhibit Collection

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Exhibit features Cheap Trick’s mercurial guitarist, Rick Nielsen, and his collection of guitars and music memorabilia at the Burpee Museum.

Newly added to the Rick's Picks exhibit, Tom Petersson's 2012 Waterstone 12-String Bass

Petersson’s bass joins the 73 guitars, 100 show posters, 55 platinum and gold records, 170 Rick-designed, unique guitar picks and 60 F.O.R. (Friends of Rick) picks, 115 pieces of fan art..and many hundreds of other personal items and memorabilia.

Cheap Trick’s legendary bass player, and inventor of the 12-string bass guitar, Tom Petersson, has lent his 2012 Waterstone Black 12-String bass guitar to his bandmate’s exhibit: Rick’s Picks: A Lifelong Affair With Guitars & Music.

Hailed as one of the premier music exhibits in the world, Rick’s Picks features 73 guitars from Rick Nielsen’s private collection as well as those of his friends’, including Slash (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver), Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), Todd Rundgren, Conan O’Brien, Brian May (Queen) and now, his partner on stage, Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick.

Tom Petersson’s magically orchestral bass playing is a foundational block in Cheap Trick’s signature wall of sound. But it wouldn’t be possible without the 12-string bass. In 1973, Tom began the process of designing and fine-tuning his signature instrument with Hamer Guitars, and the first Hamer 12-string bass model was delivered in 1977.

At that point, Rick Nielsen began giving Tom a cheerful shout out on stage each night as, “the inventor of the 12-string bass guitar.” Set up with three (each) E, A, D and G strings, in Tom’s skilled hands, the 12-string bass adds beautifully woven color and harmony to Cheap Trick’s recorded and live music.

Over the years, Tom has commissioned many different instruments by a variety of manufacturers, including Gibson, Chandler, E.G.C. and Kids Guitars of Tokyo. Founded in 2002, Waterstone is a relatively new player in the guitar/bass market. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, the company is owned by a vintage guitar collector (and neurosurgeon) named Dr. Robert Singer.

Petersson’s bass joins the 73 guitars, 100 show posters, 55 platinum and gold records, 170 Rick-designed, unique guitar picks and 60 F.O.R. (Friends of Rick) picks, 115 pieces of fan art sent from fans around the world and many hundreds of other personal items and memorabilia.

In addition to over 3000 artifacts, visitors enjoy an exciting environment enhanced by audio and video, including a 30-minute biopic "Rickumentary" movie featuring appearances by Rick and his family and friends. A concert stage features vintage equipment and historic concert footage. Large projected images and a rich audio track set the audio environment for an engaging and one-of-a-kind rock & roll experience.

Rick’s Picks is at Burpee Museum of Natural History, 737 North Main Street Rockford, IL 61103 until April 10, 2013. Post-Rockford, officials intend to send the exhibit on a worldwide tour.

Corporations and Organizations interested in national and international sponsorship of the exhibit are invited to visit the Rick’s Picks Sponsorship page, or to contact Rick’s Picks Director of National Sponsorship, Jennie Walker at jwalker (at) rickspickslive (dot) com for more information. Many levels of collaboration are available.

This project was partially funded by a Grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism. 

A celebratory concert, Rick Nielsen & Friends is being planned for January, 2013. Find more information at the exhibit website, on Facebook or follow emerging news on Twitter.

About Rick’s Picks
It’s Guitars. It’s Rick. It’s Music History. It's a Fundraiser. From Rockford, Illinois’ skating rinks to Tokyo’s Budokan, Rick’s Picks tells the 40-year story of one of the hardest-working stars in Rock & Roll. As one would expect, Rick has more stories than his five neck has strings. Rick's Picks is a fundraiser for Rick Nielsen's favorite hometown museum, the Burpee Museum of Natural History. For more information, visit or contact Anne Boccignone, 815-742-0110, aboccignone (at) grahamspencer (dot) com.

About Burpee Museum of Natural History
Since 1942, Burpee Museum of Natural History has inspired people to engage in a lifetime of learning about the natural world. Burpee Museum of Natural History is home to 66-million year old juvenile T.rex, Jane, as well as a number of other interactive and educational exhibits. For more information, or to see a schedule of events, please visit

About Rick Nielsen & Cheap Trick
When Cheap Trick burst onto the national music scene in the 1970s, it broke new ground with a punkish, hard-edged brand of literate garage rock that was the perfect antidote to what ailed weary FM radio listeners worldwide. The band’s uniquely midwestern sensibilities have been deftly recorded in 28 albums and laid bare in thousands upon thousands of performances worldwide. With walls of gold and platinum records to prove their enduring success, Cheap Trick and its pick-flinging, checkerboard-bedecked dynamo Rick Nielsen have never stopped touring, much to the delight of one of rock history’s most loyal fan bases. Rick Nielsen, and bandmates Robin Zander and Tom Petersson can be seen touring with Aerosmith in major cities across North America this fall. The band and the summer leg of the tour were named among “the summer’s hottest” by Rolling Stone magazine and critically acclaimed across north America.

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Anne Boccignone

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