Do musicians ever think about how their instrument is made? We really love to play the guitars. We love the new guitars made of expensive wood even more. But what is the value of making guitars in the 21st century?
Everyone knows that acoustic guitars are made from wood. Two scientist geographers from the University of Wollongong in Australia decided to conduct a large-scale study of the guitar manufacturing industry. Recently, abstracts from their work have been published.
Let’s talk about numbers. The study continued for six years. During this time, guitar factories around the world were studied. The researchers were primarily interested in two questions. The first question was about the material of guitar production and the impact of production on nature. The second question concerned the economic part of entrepreneurial activity. The researchers concluded that many of the leading guitar manufacturers are illegal logging of unique tree species and spend a lot of money lobbying for new laws.
All this is happening on a grand scale. Every year, manufacturers around the world release two and a half million guitars. The turnover of the entire industry is estimated at US $ 1 billion per year. This volume of production requires a lot of raw materials.
But not every tree is suitable for guitar production. In addition, due to the guitars’ manufacturing method itself, manufacturers are unable to economize on raw materials in order to reduce tree felling. The point is that in order to achieve high strength and good sound, wooden blanks for different parts of the guitars are cut perpendicular to the growth rings of the trees. There are two problems with this at once. Firstly, a lot of excess material remains during production. Secondly, only old trees are suitable for guitar production. For example, leading companies in the United States use spruce that is at least half a century old for the production of their guitars. This is due to the fact that younger spruces are not suitable due to their small size.
The solution to the problems in the guitar industry is seen in expanding the population of trees by planting them in underutilized or unused areas. Companies such as “Maton” and “Cole Clark” have already taken this path and have achieved some success.