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-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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Hawaiian music took the world by storm in the first part of the 20th century and catalysed new guitar types and playing styles. Hawaiian koa also become one of the most desirable tonewoods, and after history of over-exploitation is now being actively conserved and restored.
The ash trees that produce Fender’s iconic Telecasters and Stratocasters are being threatened by an invasive beetle and changing rainfall and flooding regimes.
I’ve been a researcher in ecology for 40 years, but recently jumped into the world of guitars. These foci intersect in the increasing concern for how the natural world continues to be affected by human activities. Two recent books provide fascinating accounts of recent research in both these areas.
Cigar box guitars were an inexpensive means to make music by using discarded materials and are gaining popularity again today.