December 12, 2023


Sustainability, in a broad sense, is the capacity to endure. It can be defined as the ability of an ecosystem to maintain ecological processes, functions, biodiversity and productivity into the future. In ecology, the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time.

Sustainable maintenance of the natural world and the responsible use of natural resources is a defining issue of our time.

In musical terms sustain is the duration of a sound before it becomes inaudible.

Guitars have a lot of sustain, which is one reason for their rich sound and tone. Rosewood, maple, mahogany, ebony and spruce, are some of the more popular tonewoods because they are workable as well as durable and beautiful.

Unfortunately it has become highly important for the guitar manufacturing industry as a whole to consider preserving the trees from which guitars are made so that they do not become irrevocably lost.

Bob Taylor, cofounder and president of Taylor Guitars, says it’s a simple function of    “More people, more goods and a higher rate of harvest than regrowth.” And, he says, “We need good, quality wood.”

Gibson, Fender, Martin, Taylor and Yamaha have put their best foot forward though and joined forces with Greenpeace to create the MUSIC WOOD COALITION:

The Greenpeace Music Wood Campaign is partnering with the music industry to protect threatened forest habitats and safeguard the future of the trees critical to making musical instruments.

There are several eco-friendly guitar makers so there is no EXCUSE anymore for destroying the environment for the sake of tone! THe Mada guitars below are some of the most beautiful guitar-art-objects I have ever seen.

Simon Lee Cyclotrons

High Quality, hand made, sustainable guitars and basses, using environmentally sound processes and materials where possible. Explore each style, each has its own unique tone and feel. Full specifications are listed on each page. Full and partial customisation of styles and body material and pickups are available upon request.

First Act Eco guitars

The Bambusa guitar’s body and neck are constructed of bamboo, one of the fastest growing plants in the world, and an uncommonly renewable resource. In its processed state, bamboo is harder than maple, making it a supreme-sounding and killer-looking substitute for high quality tonewoods. The guitar also has a water-based natural matte finish, and uses food safe glue.

“It’s a guitar you can rock out with, and feel good about playing. It feels so good, like you’ve played it a thousand times, but it has a ‘sizzle’ to it’s tone that you’re hearing for the first time.” says Craig Small, Director of Product Development.

Zero Impact Guitars

Zero Impact Guitars’ lovingly hand-crafted eco-Axe body is made from SmartWood FSC-certified Alder, the neck is moses graphite and the bridge is made from recycled steel.

Mada Guitars

The MADA caimes body is an organically shaped semi-acoustic electric guitar body made of hemp pulp and is not carved or milled like traditional guitars. Design has revolutionized the production technique. One form without any linings or bracings. With its edge-less organic shape, MADA develops an unmistakable, wonderful sharp and organic sound.  Why hemp? The permanent transition from impact sound into airborne sound is essential to the sound. Thats how resonances are formed. This makes Hempstone® the perfect 3 dimensional molding material for music instruments. The material consists of 100 % hemp fibres and contains no plastics, which would close these resonance-gaps.

Flaxwood guitars

We’re open to any technology (ancient, medieval or new) that can help us make a great guitar.

What sets Flaxwood apart from many other great guitar producers is that we don’t limit our options; the phrase “…because that’s the way guitars have always been built” is constantly questioned at Flaxwood. Is there a better way to do things? Do the new technologies now available have something to offer that we are unaware of?

Yes, we’re irreverent, we’re curious, we’re open-minded, and innovative technology does not spook us. But we don’t love innovative technology for its own sake; we only use technology that delivers, that helps us get closer to that tone and that feel we crave for. If technology does not deliver, we stick to time-tested solutions.

As much as we love wood, we wondered whether wood could be made more resonant, more uniform, and more stable.
In the process, using spruce as our base material, we created a completely new high-end tonewood in its own right – flaxwood. This wonderful material gave us a combination of properties that we were unable to find in traditional woods, and this material is at the heart of the wonderful vintage Flaxwood tone. And yes, it really is probably the most environmentally friendly tonewood available today.


Jake Edwards

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