The eco guide to guitars

Musicians’ love affair with tonewoods such as mahogany and and ebony plays mayhem with sustainability – and synthetic materials sound just as good

The tag “rock’n’roll royalty” should really belong to the instruments: the backstory of some of the world’s best acoustic guitars is frankly breathtaking. Take Bedell’s Antiquity Milagro Parlor guitar. It’s carved from a 400-year-old Brazilian rosewood tree. Wandering troubadours who possess one should make sure they have their “guitar passport” handy, otherwise their instrument could be confiscated by customs officials under trade-in-endangered-species laws.

Many other guitars sold each year (nearly 3m in the US alone) are also made from rare timber. Thanks to musicians’ bias for tropical tonewoods – particularly mahogany, rosewood and ebony – this is a market in which the illegal timber trade can flourish. That’s anything but harmonious when you bear in mind that every two seconds an area of forest the size of a football field is clear-cut by illegal loggers.

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from Sustainable development | The Guardian

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