Playing for time: Wood shortages threaten world's best guitars
The electric guitar has survived ritual stage smashing and the rise of electronic pop. But now it faces a bigger challenge: guitar makers are running out of wood.
The head of Gibson, home of the Les Paul guitar, has warned that the rare and exotic woods used to craft the best instruments are running out at such a rate that the guitar could become an endangered species.
"The true wood guitar is disappearing quickly. We need to act now because it just won't be around in 10 years," said Henry Juszkiewicz, the chief executive of Gibson, whose instruments are brandished by rock legends including Slash, Dave Grohl and Jimmy Page. The wood traditionally used to fashion premium guitars – rosewood, maple, ebony, mahogany and spruce – is being lost as a result of over-harvesting and the depletion of rainforests.
The quality of the wood used lends each guitar its distinctive tone and resonance. Mahogany provides a rich, dark sound, while rosewood creates a bright, brilliant tone.
Madagascar boasts 47 types of rosewood and more than 100 ebony species. But many are threatened with extinction.
Gibson's factory in Nashville, Tennessee, was raided in 2009 after a tip-off that the company was using banned rosewood. No arrests were made but Gibson, which manufactures 2,500 guitars a day, is working with Greenpeace to source sustainable alternatives.
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Keira Knightley topless: Conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Argentina may change its capital city from Buenos Aires, says president
- 3 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 4 The 3D-printed key that can unlock anything
- 5 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
X Factor, ITV, review: Simon Cowell bans sob stories but Cheryl Cole can’t stop crying
Doctor Who, Into the Dalek, review: Classic sci-fi adventure has blockbuster spectacle
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >