I just finished watching Strat Masters, The definitive history of the world’s most famous guitar. The 3 hour 2 DVD epic documentary claim’s to be the history of the Fender Stratocaster but that would be selling this DVD somewhat short. This is not just the history of the Fender Strat, this is the history of the Electric guitar! Ok so you’re not going to see any other guitars in the film aside from the occasional Gibson, especially the very nice Charlie Christian model (ES150) played by Trefor Owen, but it puts into perspective the impact that this guitar had back in 1950′s and how without hardly any visible design evolution it has continued to do so.
At the beginning of the film there is a quote by Hank Marvin who says if someone had to draw a guitar they would probably draw something like a Fender Stratocaster and I think that sums up the importance of this design, it is the shape that people consider to be an “Electric guitar” what more endorsement could you want? The film has lengthy interviews with the likes of Ry Cooder, Mark Knopfler, Hank Marvin and the late Rory Gallagher including some unique footage of Rory playing his beat up old Strat. Each of these people have such distinctive sounds and yet play the same basic instrument which shows the versatility of Fender’s masterpiece. Of course a lot of the sound has to do with pickups so who better to explain how these were created than the master pickup creator Seymour Duncan. The film goes inside the Seymour Duncan and shows Seymour hand winding a pickup, something I really knew nothing about prior to seeing this, I have always taken pickups for granted I must say! There are also plenty of shots inside the Fender manufacturing facility and explaining each part of the process, its pretty funny seeing the production lines of ladies hammering in fret wire, it makes you realise why you pay extra for the custom shop guitars!
I could go on all day about this film but I really think you should just buy it for yourself and watch it, if you are a guitarist I guarantee you will enjoy it! Where else are you going to get 3 hours of Robert Cray, Chris Rea (I didn’t realise he had arthritis!), Richie Kotzen and Jeff Beck showing off their Strats and in Mark Knopfler’s case demonstrating the difference between 3 of his personal collection. I would like to have seen a bit more of Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan mentioned and maybe John Mayer or Eric Clapton but it is still great viewing.
You can find out more information on Strat Masters here.