The Group Of Seven Guitars is off-key

Documentary about famous Canadian guitar makers creating unique instruments inspired by the Go7 landscape painters needs a more interesting palette

THE GROUP OF SEVEN GUITARS (Jason Charters, Liam Romalis). 80 minutes. Opens Friday (February 2). See listing. Rating: NN

So much talent, so little entertainment.

Commissioned by the McMichael Gallery, The Group Of Seven Guitars is about seven renowned Canadian guitar makers – or luthiers  – tasked with creating seven unique instruments, each inspired by one of the famous landscape painters.

Then, once the guitars are completed, musicians like Bruce Cockburn and Jesse Cook play a song on them at the gallery. 

And that’s about it. 

We get a bit of background about the burgeoning guitar-making scene in the 70s, in which luthiers like Jean Larrivée (a pioneer), Linda Manzer, Grit Laskin and David Wren painstakingly crafted alternatives to Gibsons and Martins.

But the connection between each guitar maker and GO7 artist is tenuous, and even when they’re presented with a terrific character like the scruffy, self-professed asshole luthier Sergei De Jonge, whose front teeth are missing, directors Jason Charters and Liam Romalis don’t shape the material into anything dramatic or interesting-looking. 

The best moments are the musical performances, especially a fast-tempo number by Don Ross.

Ironically, this film seems destined for the gift shop at the McMichael.

Directors Romalis and Charters will take part in post-screening discussions on Saturday  (February 3), 8:45 pm, and February 8 at 9:15 pm. 

Brand Voices

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