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.
Consumer choices are increasingly influenced by environmental and social factors – Gibson’s corporate behaviour is alienating many guitarists
Some amazing guitars came from Gibson during World War II and were made by women – but the story only recently surfaced.
Gibson has made great guitars, dabbled with sustainability, fallen foul of environmental trade rules and was often poorly managed.
Redwoods were extensively logged for structural timber and remaining stands are precious but vulnerable. Recycled redwood has stories to tell and music to make.
Cheap Stella guitars from the 1920s-30s were made from local woods, were played by many well-known blues artists, and show the value of ordinary things.
The best violin bows come from Pernambuco, an endangered Brazilian tree, bringing together musicians, instrument makers and conservationists.
What makes classic violins made by Stradivari and others so good, and how is climate change relevant to this?
Guitars come in all shapes and forms, and enthusiastic obsession happens. This can be fun but can also result in too many guitars.