Thursday, March 27, 2008

Greenpeace and Guitars?

I was perusing guitar related news the other day and ran across “Greenpeace” and “Guitar”, which I thought was an odd combination. It turns out that Greenpeace has enlisted the aid of guitar manufacturers to avert a crisis with Sitka spruce.

Sitka spruce is a wood species prized by guitar manufacturers for soundboards and their source is Sealaska, a Native American logging company; the largest private landholder in Alaska. The best tone and appearance is from old growth forests but there is only a 15 year supply left if logging practices do not change. Oops.

Although the vast majority of this wood goes overseas for construction, Greenpeace enlisted the participation of the guitar makers because they and their customers are a high profile group as compared to a maker of door sashes for instance. Greenpeace brought Sealaska and guitar makers Gibson, Taylor, Martin, and Fender together at the 2006 NAMM to launch the effort. Yamaha has since joined the organization.

So, add yet another benefit to making music; promotion of sustainable practices. The current status is Sealaska has agreed to a full assessment of its logging practices this summer and will hopefully move to full certification against the Forest Stewardship Council standards from there. You can keep up on this information by visiting the Greenpeace Musicwood site.


eric said...

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.

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