The Story of the Guitar: The Complete Three-Part Documentary

It start­ed back in the 1950s. Bill Haley and Elvis burst onto the scene. Rock ‘n’ roll was born. The gui­tar took cen­ter stage, and it nev­er left. How the gui­tar came to “dom­i­nate the sound­track of our lives” is the sub­ject of The Sto­ry of the Gui­tar, a three part doc­u­men­tary nar­rat­ed by the BBC’s cre­ative direc­tor Alan Yen­tob.

The sto­ry of the gui­tar is, of course, a big one. The instru­ment, and its stringed pre­cur­sors, goes way back — all the way to the Greeks. And the influ­ence of the gui­tar can be felt far and wide. It plays a lead role in clas­si­cal music in Spain (and Chi­na); jazz in France (think Djan­go); the blues in the Mis­sis­sip­pi Delta, and beyond. Yen­tob paints the big­ger pic­ture for you in the first seg­ment, “In the Begin­ning” (above). Part II (Out of the Fry­ing Pan) focus­es on the big moment when the gui­tar went elec­tric. And Part III gets you up close and per­son­al with the mas­ters of the elec­tric gui­tar. The doc­u­men­tary fea­tures inter­views with Pink Floy­d’s David Gilmour, The Who’s Pete Town­shend, Iggy Pop, and The Edge from U2 (Part 1Part 2 and Part 3), to name a few. We’ve got more great gui­tar-relat­ed resources list­ed below. H/T Men­tal Floss

Part 2 — Out of the Fry­ing Pan

Part 3 — This Time it’s Per­son­al

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A His­to­ry of Rock ‘n’ Roll in 100 Riffs

Here Comes The Sun: The Lost Gui­tar Solo by George Har­ri­son

Mak­ing Fend­er Gui­tars, Then (1959) and Now (2012)

Jim­my Page Tells the Sto­ry of “Kash­mir”

Bob Dylan’s (In)Famous Elec­tric Gui­tar From the New­port Folk Fes­ti­val Dis­cov­ered?

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