Academic journal article Notes

Stars and Their Guitars

Academic journal article Notes

Stars and Their Guitars

Article excerpt

Stars and Their Guitars. DVD. Directed by Kent Hagen. [North Holly - wood, CA]: Passport International Entertainment, 2008. DVD-1665. $19.99.

If I had been given the task of writing the title for this DVD I would have chosen, "The History of the Development and Manufacture of the Electric Guitar." That certainly is the main story to which we are introduced in this fascinating and effectively presented 155-minute documentary. Yes, famous guitarists are interviewed for the purpose of disclosing why they have chosen their particular makes and models of instruments, but the real stars of this story are the guitars. We learn about the instruments that made their players famous and how and why they are built.

Gibson and Fender are certainly the principal companies that come to mind when one thinks of electric guitars manufactured in the United States, and those are the instruments that this DVD features primarily. Representatives of both manufacturers review the history of their companies. We learn how Leo Fender and Les Paul labored as pioneers leading the way with innovative designs that drove each company forward into an age of new music. Both of these inventors were trying to help guitarists of their time to move beyond the position of accompanist in bands' rhythm sections by giving them the volume and projection they needed to solo.

As the unique features of each company's instruments are described, we are shown captivating behind-the-scenes footage of the manufacturing processes. This is supplemented with close-up shots of some of the fine hand craftsmanship needed to produce the companies' specialty models. It is a particular treat to hear about the materials used to give each of these guitars its distinctive character. …

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