Within decades of first manufacture, the electric guitar became a highly collectible, vintage artefact and symbol of rock/pop music, an icon of the babyboom generation, and an investment opportunity. The film looks at the emergence of the vintage guitar and those who repair, sell, collect and play what is at once an instrument/tool, art object, and nostalgia device. So rare are vintage guitars that an industry has grown up based on the fabrication of faux vintage relics, artfully distressed, new guitars that mimic the feel and appearance of the “real” things. Shot in London, and featuring the playing of Guthrie Govan, the film offers a view of Guitar World from the vantage point of the artisans and traders for whom vintage guitars represent a living past.
Stephen Nugent teaches in the Anthropology Department, Goldsmiths, University of London. His main research area has been the Brazilian Amazon. He is also Director of the Centre for Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths. In 2009 he released Waila: the Music of the Tohono O’odham, available at onlinefilm.org.