When I first started writing this post on Eco Friendly Guitars, I thought it would be fairly easy to write. I was wrong! Thank you to the following resources. Some of the reasons it was challenging #1) I don’t know that much about guitars #2) Most of the Green Guitar manufacturers, don’t have anything about the sustainability of their products on their websites. So I defer to the following sites:
I just Gotta Eco Ya
- Market for Guitars- 30 Billion
- It takes between 120 and 150 Spruce logs to supply the entire guitar manufacturing in the US for one year. A saw mill can turn 120 logs into 2 x 4’s in a single shift.
- Three million acoustic and electric guitars are sold in the United States each year — it is growing again, especially among serious amateurs willing to pay $2,000 and up for a quality instrument.
Wood Used: Tonewoods include Sitka Spruce, Brazilian Rosewood, Ebony, Mahogany. and Maple. These woods come from boreal, temperate, and tropical forests from all over the world, and often are harvested using unsustainable forestry practices. Much of the wood used for sound boards in pianos and guitars comes from Alaskan Sitka Spruce harvested by Sealaska.
- Sitka from the Pacific Northwest
- Englemann from the Rocky Mountains
- Italian Alpine Spruce that Stradivari used
- Carpathian from the Georgian Mountains in Eastern Europe
- Adirondack from New York State.
- Rosewood, mahogany, and koa from Hawaii.
Top 13 Green Guitars
- Cole Clark guitars – Australia are promoting use of a timber called Bunya which is similar to Spruce and is used for soundboards on acoustic guitars and puts on a good amount of biomass each year, is relatively quick growing, good for absorbing carbon, bears edible fruit and has strong links to Australia’s indigenous people.
- Dave Maize- Since the beginning of my guitar-making career in 1990, I have made it a major part of my process to utilize both reclaimed and sustainably harvested tonewoods for my instruments as well as for the materials which I furnish to other builders. I made this decision after seeing the diminishing supply of traditional luthery woods such as mahogany, ebony, spruce and rosewood. I discovered that there is a wealth of both re-claimed traditional tonewoods and under-utilized woods which can produce a superb instrument and help to stretch the supply of these precious materials.Some of the woods I like to build with are Claro Walnut (urban tree removal), Redwood ( building demolition), Bay Laurel (driftwood log), Sitka and Englemann Spruce ( blowdowns or bug-killed trees), Red Cedar and Port Orford Cedar ( fire-killed trees).
- Maton also use Bunya as well as a few other native species such as Queensland Maple.
- Ellis Guitars in Western Australia have been Certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and has the following statements on their site:
- RKS guitars, (from hippy shopper) co- founded by Ravi Sawhney and British Rocker Dave Mason (of Traffic & Fleetwood Mac fame) have developed a revolutionary “neck through body” design and have produced the world’s first eco-friendly guitars. Traditionally, guitars use 6-8 pounds per instrument of hardwoods from South American rain forests, but RKS pick wood from sustainable tree farms in the US and also use recyclable wood based polymers. Plus each instrument uses only 2 pounds of wood – a massive 66%-80% reduction to the norm. Choose from the “RKS Wave”, the “Boomerang”, the “Day Glo” and the stunning “RKS Pop” series. Play guitar, save the world! Although at approximately £2,500 for the
- Taylor Guitars are trying to dedicate a forest in Alaska for musical wood, something they are working toward along with Gibson, Martin, Fender,Greenpeace, the Forestry Stewardship Council and Sealaska (a Native American logging company). This would provide US guitar makers with a sustainable resource that is responsibly managed, far more appealing than moving logging to a new country and ravaging their supplies.
- First Act Bambusa several eco-conscious elements went into the design – the guitar’s body and neck are constructed of bamboo, one of the fastest growing plants in the world, and an uncommonly renewable resource. In its processed state, bamboo is harder than maple, making it a supreme-sounding and killer-looking substitute for high quality tonewoods. The guitar has a water-based natural matte finish.
- Flaxwood Guitars (from igreen) One of Finland’s famous guitar makers, Flaxwood had manufactured an guitar. Unlike other fine guitars, Flaxwood never faces extinction because its whilst helping to protect endangered species, and still have created guitar bodies with acoustic consistency and a .
- Gibson- 80-90% of Gibson’s regular production electric guitars contain mostly SmartWood-certified wood, SmartWood is one of the certifiers endorsed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Rainforest Alliance.
- Martin- Martin Sustainable Wood Series acoustic guitars ($1700), constructed from a mix of FSC-certified wood plus some old-growth mahogany and rosewood.
- Mada Hemp Guitar-
- Zero Impact Guitars We have always tried to be conservative in our usage of the natural resources involved in the manufacturing of our guitars. We use solar power to drive most lighting and most computers. Re-chargeable batteries are used in some of the hand tools, others are powered by, well, hand. Thats why, by using the guidelines setup by theForestry Stewardship Council, we have developed the eco-Axe – An electric guitar that is built from “Smartwood” for the body, recycled steel for the bridge components and a graphite neck for sustainability. My guitars have an incredible feel, they have endless sustainand are low impact on the environment.
- Red Dog Guitars– Makes Guitars from recycled materials
- Wheatware guitar picks which were used at this years Live Earth event. These picks are “Bio-Compostable products are designed to biodegrade in 45 to 90 days in microbially-active soil or a commercial compost facility“, this production doesn’t impact on the Wheat supply either.
- Music Wood The Greenpeace Music Wood Campaign is partnering with the music industry to protect threatened forest habitats and safeguard the future of the trees critical to making musical instruments. We are working together to increase the availability of traditional woods used by musical instrument manufacturers that can be certified to the exacting management standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and demonstrating, one species at a time, that there is a strong and growing market for well-managed, FSC certified wood. Current partners include: Gibson, Martin, Taylor, Fender, Guild,Yamaha,Walden, Luthiers Mercantile International, Pacific Rim Tonewoods,North American Wood Products, Allied Lutherie and with additional companies soon to come on board.
- CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)