The Martin 00L Earth guitar, with its striking painting of our planet, was inspired by Greta Thunberg and protests seeking meaningful action on climate change. But its roots like back in the 1960s with the first views of Earth from space. Its message is too important to ignore.
Mangoes, cherries and Martin guitars
Mango and cherry trees provide sustainable wood options in very different ways. They’ve both featured on guitars made by C.F.Martin & Co. whose factory we visit here.
Applewood: instruments from the orchard
Apples are a staple fruit for many people, and it turns out that apple trees produce a great guitar wood too. Here I look at the history of apple cultivation and the decline of the traditional apple orchard – and, of course, an applewood guitar.
A collector’s passion: diverse woods used in early European guitars
A chance visit to a historical guitar collection in an Italian art gallery provided interesting insights into the variety of types of wood used in early European guitars – not much tropical wood and a lot of local species.
The curious case of the violin in a cage
Following visits to museums in Oxford and Cremona to see historic guitars and violins, I discuss the world of rare instruments and explore issues around their value, whether they should be played or not, and how their authenticity is established – and how this all relates to modern instrument building.
Metal, mines and music: resonator guitars
Metal-bodied resonator guitars first appeared in the 1920s and were played by many blues musicians. Here I celebrate these amazing vintage guitars and their modern counterparts, while also taking a look at the mining industry that produces the metals that go into them.
Dance band on the Titanic: on loss, hope and music
Three of Australia’s musical icons died recently, and the world news is awash with stories of extreme climatic events. Plenty to reflect on and ponder about the future.
Guitars without trees: Blackbird, flax and Ekoa
Alternatives to wood for guitar making include various types of natural and synthetic fibers. Flax is a renewable material that makes great sounding guitars. San Francisco encounters In an early post on this site, I told the story of how idea for the Nature of Music project began – with the guitars of Wayne and…
Cities, urban forests and Taylor’s Urban Ash guitars
Cities are human’s prime habitat, but trees and other natural features play an important role in regulating the city environment. The urban forest provides many services, and the wood from trees that have to be removed can also be very useful – and make excellent guitars.
Witnessing the past: memories and hope in trees and wood
Freeman Vines made guitars with wood from a tree in which a man had been hanged. Trees bear witness to the many things humans do to the environment, and to each other – and can remind us of the past but also provide hope for a better future.