This was my first attempt at building an instrument without any tropical or endangered woods or other materials. It was a challenge – one that I set myself. Why? Because as a person with concerns about the future of the planet, the tropical forests and all natural resources, I wanted to know if it was possible to build an instrument using only materials native to and readily available in Europe and North America without making any compromises regarding the tone or the “look and feel” of the instrument.
Some guitar makers had already started offering “Eco Line” instruments, but they were still using rosewood for the fretboard and bridge. I wanted to find alternatives to rosewood and ebony and started experimenting with different woods.
One of my discoveries was that the wood of the plum tree is remarkably hard, tight grained and smooth-as-ebony to the touch. The color can vary quite a lot, often with purple highlights – it tends to darken (at least with air contact) to a medium red-brown, but the purple highlights are still visible. Albeit the colors of plum won’t go well with some wood combinations, but for cherry/spruce it works well.
Here are the details:
- Scale: 400 mm / neck joint at the 12th fret
- Top: German spruce from my sawyer in Mittenwald
- Rosette: Cherry with rings of walnut and maple
- Bridge: German plum
- Back and sides: American cherry
- Binding: German walnut
- Tail graft: Plum / walnut
- Neck: Alder
- Head plate: Plum / cherry
- Fretboard: Plum
- Side markers: Steel nail tips