French guitar player and teacher Renaud Louis-Servais has been featured on Guitar World before. Now he’s back with a new project called Fifty Plugged Guitars, an electric guitar “orchestra” that tackles symphonic film scores.
The orchestra’s latest video sees them taking on perhaps the most well-known film score in modern history, John Williams’ Star Wars main theme, which Louis-Servais rewrote for 50 electric guitars and produced during France’s COVID lockdown.
“Like in a real symphonic orchestra,” he explains, “each guitar player plays one note at a time – no chords – and the ensemble builds the global harmony.
“This crazy project’s roots are my passion for the guitar and the desire to combine the classical orchestra's symphonic functioning with the electric sounds' modernity. I spent a long time designing this orchestral ensemble and developing ways to write arrangements for it.”
And because Louis-Servais is clearly an ambitious fellow, and also, given the pandemic, had a lot of time on his hands, he didn’t merely arrange the movie’s main theme – he also took on Yoda’s theme, Han Solo and Princess Leia’s theme, Darth Vadar’s theme and everyone’s favorite, the Empire Strikes Back theme.
Given France’s strict COVID guidelines at the time of production, each guitar player shot themselves at home, with Louis-Servais compiling the results.
'Will this ode to life succeed in bringing courage back to the hearts of earthlings?' Louis-Servais asks at the top of the performance video.
Who knows. But it’s a pretty killer creation.
You can check it out above, as well as Fifty Plugged Guitars’ first video, an adaptation of composer Michael Legrand’s What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?, from the 1969 film The Happy Ending.