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Green Guitars?

Front detail of CF Martin's very popular 000-2...
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Musicians are always singing about social change. Now their guitars are getting into the act.

Martin Guitar Co. has just unveiled one of the greenest guitars to date: the D Mahogany 09, an acoustic guitar made entirely from wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Finding certified mahogany for the neck and certified spruce for the top and internal braces was the big challenge. Other sustainable woods were available, but they would have changed the tone of the guitar.

Very risky, in guitar circles.

Good guitars are typically made from old-growth spruce, rosewood, ebony and mahogany. It takes time for a new guitar to find its sound. The best-case scenario is a guitar made from old-growth wood that’s had decades to mellow with age. Like wine. But it’s hard to find tonewoods in sustainable species. So a few years ago, Greenpeace got together with the heads of Martin, Gibson, Taylor and Fender — four companies synonymous with great guitars — to talk about wood. In particular, the environmental group wanted to discuss Sitka spruce, which is often used to make the soundboard, or top piece of an acoustic guitar. Once these trees reach a certain size — which can take 90 to 250 years — their wood lends great tone and projection to guitars, violins, pianos and other instruments.

But a lot of Sitka spruce grows in Alaskan forests that are rapidly being cleared for construction and other purposes. Relatively speaking, these guitar companies use a very small portion of the Sitka spruce logged by Sealaska, the Alaskan company in question. But Greenpeace figured that high-profile guitar guys could have a big impact on the public and on the logging companies. Greenpeace was right, and the Music Wood campaign was born.

The goal of the Music Wood campaign is to help the music industry use wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Wood certified by the global nonprofit comes from forests that have been audited for good management practices.

Today, Sealaska has taken the first steps toward certification. Gibson is FSC-certified and produces FSC guitars, though they’re mostly electric and don’t use Sitka spruce. And now Martin has introduced the D Mahogany 09, with a price tag of $3,499.

The onus is on the guitar companies to find sustainable wood in traditional species and to introduce new species of wood to the business, Boak said. The D Mahogany 09, for example, substitutes katalox for rosewood on the fingerboard and bridge.

From Houston Chronicle


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9 Responses to “Green Guitars?”

  1. whamx.com Says:

    Green Guitars? | Forced Green…

    Musicians are always singing about social change. Now their guitars are getting into the act….

  2. Barbara Says:

    Hi Linda,

    Ever watch that show “How’s It Made? They have shown the process of making a guitar, but your article puts the “green” spin on. Great job!

    Barbaras last blog post..Autism In The Spotlight

  3. Ribbon Says:

    First time here. I like your blog!

    Ribbons last blog post..PS

  4. Linda Says:

    Hi Barbara … thanks and I am always looking for the green!

  5. wilson Says:

    The musicians are as concern as we did, Linda and I think it’s great concept to introduce the Green Guitar.

    wilsons last blog post..Too Hot and Too Spicy is Bad For Your Health!

  6. Martin Guitars Says:

    Hadn’t heard of the Music Wood campaign prior to this article. Very interesting!

  7. Linda Says:

    Hi Martin Guitars! Glad to help!

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