It Might Get Loud (2010)
Every guitar has a name, and every name has a story behind it. Stories of adventure through music land, of clashing notes and sweet riffs. What’s more amazing are the musicians behind them, their masters, the geniuses that make the guitar moan and cry. It doesn’t matter how loud it gets, because that’s not the sole purpose of it. Just music and music alone.
One day in January of 2008, three of the greatest rock guitarists of this modern time came together to discuss the electric guitar. One came from Dublin, one from Tennessee, and the most veteran came from London. The Edge from U2, Mr. Jack White of White Stripes and The Raconteurs, and Mr. Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and the Yardbirds, respectively. When this kind of men come together to talk about the one passion they all share, you know stories of inspiration and motivation will surface and amaze you. I know, because that’s how it turned out for me.
The documentary presented the different style and techniques of the three musicians, the perspectives they have when they make music using the guitar. I admit I was not much of a fan of the guitar since my college days when I switched to playing the drums, so getting to see how these musicians work on their craft was nostalgic and relaxing.
The movie shows that the three were definitely unique from each other. The Edge, as described by Page, was a “sonic architect”. He utilizes sound effects together with his guitar to create different sounds with just a switch of a button. It was his magic, and he understands it well. The pitch, the scaling, everything. He wrote music for U2 from these formulae, and judging by the nice feeling U2’s sound brings to their audience, I guess his material’s quality speaks for itself.
On the contrary, Jack White dwells on the simplicity of the guitar’s clean mode and distortion. The mixture of advanced technology with music does not fit him well. Being a multi-instrumentalist, his skills on music playing are really high. White has the WYSWYG attitude on his instruments; you can hear his music is simply produced, whether it’s a guitar, a piano, or any stringed instrument, etc., but it has power to capture your rock sense; it has nice rhythm that makes you nod in appreciation.
We then come to know of Jimmy Page’s music history, from being a young teenage guitarist (as young as 15) to becoming a session musician until finally becoming a full-time rock artist with The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin. It seems that he had perfected his skills from playing different stringed instruments, such as the Spanish guitar and ukulele (shown on the movie). He shared his sentiments regarding his interest on learning arts, to learn things like oil painting, and also to know the secrets used by the old masters. But then, he’s known more of a guitar master to us, and generations of young and old had been inspired by his style.
While the story went on deeper, each guitarist shared their own stories of how they met their different guitars, the unique moment each of them had when they acquire their soul partners in music. They explained more of the details for every guitar: how they wanted it to sound, or how it should look like. Of course these were only natural. If you want to express yourself really in the sound you are producing, you must customize your instrument to suit you, to make both of you become one.
As I see it, guitarists and musicians alike should watch this documentary. We have different stories regarding our music and our instruments, and to see how these musicians talk about their experiences can inspire you more. No matter how odd or shallow, the paths we take with this passion are the same. After seeing the Edge, Jack White and Jimmy Page expose their life, you can also say that there’s not much of a difference between us and them. Undergoing obstacles and claiming fame and awards were just normal phases to test how really passionate we are for music.
This documentary is highly recommended. After watching, go on and make music with your guitar, or whatever instrument that suits you. It doesn’t matter if it might get loud, just play it well, and get your message across your audience.
(pertaining to Jimmy Page’s strumming)
Edge: I think there’s a bit of punk rock in this man.
Jack White: I think there’s some punk left in there.