Call 'em what you will (ax grinders, stringmeisters, fret burners), guitar players are the main men (and sometimes women) in the worlds of rock, blues, and country. So the idea behind this 90-minute, Canadian-produced doc... more »umentary (examining various guitarists' styles, hearing their stories, and of course listening to them play) is sound, so to speak. The first half spotlights a dizzying array of players, from older rockers (Peter Frampton, Steve Winwood, Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi, Yes's Steve Howe, Tom Petty, and many others) to younger guns (Mark Bryan of Hootie and the Blowfish, Soul Asylum's Dan Murphy), from country pickers (Travis Tritt, Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn, Chet Atkins) to blues giants (B.B. King, T-Bone Walker), with a couple of bass players (the Who's John Entwistle, Jefferson Airplane's Jack Cassady) thrown in for good measure. They talk about how they started, pay tribute to their own heroes and favorite axes, discuss the evolution of their techniques, etc.; there's a little history, including Les Paul's invention of the solid body guitar and studio multitracking, and several too-brief live concert excerpts. The second half consists of unedited solo improvisations (mostly blues riffing) by about 20 of the players; good idea, mixed results. In the end, those who can't tell a G string from an F-hole won't be fascinated; jazz guitar lovers will feel short-changed; some will be outraged about who isn't represented (what, no Eddie Van Halen?), and Emmylou Harris is the only woman on hand. Still, guitar freaks will find plenty here to make their strings twang. --Sam Graham« less
stringdancer | Muncie, Indiana United States | 07/18/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I suppose one of the first things a person wants to do after they acquire a DVD deck is to get a few disks and spin them to check out the all-digital clarity and beauty of the medium. Thus begins the collection. And the first thing a guitar player wants to do after that is to get a DVD about guitars. Hopefully, the disk would be a title that has some VERY cool footage of great old guitars, and some of the world's best guitarists discussing their intimate relationships with their instruments. It's comforting to see that our own guitar obsessions are not at all uncommon even among the elite.With this in mind, I recently bought a copy of Wired for Sound - A Guitar Odyssey, an extremely well-produced and informative 90 minutes of unadulterated guitar obsession captured in full Dolby digital glory. With additional footage of off-the-cuff jams culled from filming outtakes, biographies of the featured artists, a gallery of guitar photos, web links, absolutely gorgeous background sets, locations, and lovingly-rendered live-action close-ups of some of the world's most beautiful guitars -- well, this disk has had me spinning my deck every night since the DVD arrived in the mail. My obsession is doing fine, thank you.... The featured artists talk about how they got started, pay tribute to their musical influences and favorite axes, discuss the evolution of their techniques, etc. There's a little history, including a few details about Orville Gibson, the early days of recorded music, Les Paul's invention of the solid body guitar and studio multitracking, the birth of rock & roll -- and B.B. King retells the fine old tale about why he named his guitar Lucille. The film interweaves these segments with several live concert excerpts, some of them quite rare (and all of them too brief).The flow of the narrative moves naturally and diverges into new segments seamlessly, as when several artists allude to Django Reinhardt, and the film slides right into an examination of the Hot Club guitarist's phenomonal drive and talent, and from there on into how Django's determination to overcome a handicap inspired Black Sabbath's Steve Iommi to persevere in spite of his own. The film exhibits a veritable stream-of-consciousness style in the sequencing of segments.Additional footage includes outtakes from the original filming sessions. I found it particularly interesting to watch these outtakes, when the players were just sitting around jamming as the crew adjusted lighting and whatnot. You get to see the musician more or less killing time alone with their axe, noodling pensively, oblivious to their surroundings. Sound familiar? While the results are mixed on the editing of these outtakes (too much Steve Winwood, I thought, who's mostly a keyboardist, fer godsake -- and not enough Brent Mason, who plays some brilliant fingerstyle while waiting for the lighting to get right), still it is a rare opportunity to see these performers in an ungaurded moment, just staring off into space and making stuff up.Now of course afficionados can argue what is included on this disk and what is not. For instance, Emmylou Harris is the only woman represented. Also, the film bears an obvious bias toward the Gibson camp, as Leo Fender was hardly mentioned, and indeed Fender instruments seem to get very short shrift overall. Essentially all other companies were excluded from any quality time, as well. The genres of classical and flamenco were completely overlooked in favor of rock, blues and mainstream country, and jazz at best gets a rather cursory glance (given the musical enormity of the style). But even with that -- while clearly Jimi Hendrix was unavailable for filming, was Eddie Van Halen?! Yes, the film reveals a glaring omission here and there.No 90-minute film can even begin to summarize the wide, wonderful world of guitars, the companies that make them and the people who play them. Couldn't be done in a 10-hour mini-series, I'll wager. But this flick is a worthwhile journey nonetheless. The soundtrack blazes with memorable and historic examples of guitar playing. There's a guitar in virtually every frame of this film, with each image beautifully presented for your edification. The closing macro-footage of some gorgeous Gibsons under ideal lighting conditions (revolving and reflecting and seducing the obsessive heart of any plank-spanker worthy of the name) is not to be missed.Guitar players love the tools of their trade moreso than any other profession, I'd venture to say. While others might shake their heads in bemusement, WE know that guitars are just about the coolest things in the world. Wired for Sound - A Guitar Odyssey is a film made for us."
A fun watch
Jesse J. Kennedy | slc, ut usa | 07/18/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wired for Sound - A Guitar Odyssey is a very well put together history of the GIBSON guitar throughout the developement of Western Rock and Roll from the blues movement all the way to the Smashing Pumpkins. Although not a great documentary because of the lack of hard data there are interviews from many influential musicians from the last 40+ years. Strangely enough, in the story of the Gibson guitar in rock history nobody mentions Jimmy Page."
A Gibson Guitar Tribute but great interviews!
Steven I. Ramm | Phila, PA USA | 07/24/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Though released now in 2007 by MPI, this documentary was originally produced in 2000 to celebrate the Centennial of the Gibson Guitar Company. (That explains presence of now gone folks like Chet Atkins and why Les Paul looks younger?) Actually some of the Heavy Metal rock stars look, well let's just say "mature" and more mellow. The array of big names that talk about their first guitar is impressive and there are a few full-length performances. The "early" - pre- rock - are given short shift though there is a nod to jazz legend Charlie Christian.
If you play electric guitar you'll certainly want to get this disc - and will also understand the terminology used. (Nope, I can't play guitar. Someone has to be a listener, right?)
Anyway, it good that it's being made widely available. Sure wish there were some bonus features though. That would have made this FIVE STARS.
Steve Ramm "Anything Phonographic" "
A Gibson odyssey...
James J Caldwell | Houston, TX United States | 04/21/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
""A Gibson Odyssey" would be an appropriate title. Did anybody else notice that every guitar pictured, played or mentioned (whether it be acoustic, solidbody electric, hollowbody electric or bass) was a Gibson? That's why you won't find EVH or any other non-Gibson player featured here. This video is okay. Kind of interesting. A friend of mine insisted I watch it knowing that I'm a guitar fanatic. I enjoyed watching it, but it's not something I will treasure till the end of time. Actually, I found the player outtakes to be rather boring and uninspiring. I mean I love 'Frampton Comes Alive', but watching him jam in his home studio was a big dissappointment - nothing exciting in his performance at all. Same goes for Steve Howe - I always thought of him as a genius/giant, but he couldn't have put on a more boring display. Still, it's worth a look for the historical content."
Wired for Sound DVD- Why does it stress Gibson Guitars?
C. L. Kennedy | Boston, MA USA | 03/19/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The reason that this DVD Documentary speaks only of Gibson Guitars is that it was made under contract by the Gibson Guitar Company for it's 100th year Aniversary. This was a made for television documentary and was aired on the Learning Channel in the USA. There is also a companion book titled Wired For Sound by Martin Melhuish and Mark Hall."