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Guitars made from recycled components
Musical instruments made from recycled components are a creative way of re-using materials and reducing the environmental impact. In this article we will learn about a number of initiatives to use all kinds of recycled elements to build a really popular instrument: A guitar.
The first of the protagonists that you are going to learn about is called Burls Art, a luthier and youtuber who has built instruments with raw materials as diverse and incredible as a shovel, paper and salt. Another of his projects involves using aluminium from 1,000 beverage cans to build a guitar. Music lover, we are sure you already know that it is very complicated to get rid of this type of packaging if it is not recycled properly. It takes a beverage can about ten years to convert into iron oxide if just left in the open air. Then it takes another forty years to fully decompose. In Burls Art they have taken significantly less time to manufacture this guitar that we should at least admit that it is quite cool, even though we have not tried it yet.
Another of Burls Art's really interesting projects is to build a guitar from plastics thrown up by the sea. According to Greenpeace, 80% of the waste to be found in the sea originated on land, while the remaining 20% comes from maritime activity. This is a very durable material and is easily dispersed, so plastics can be found in all corners of the planet. They can also be ingested by marine fauna, remain suspended or float on the surface, sink and remain on the seafloor, and they can even be trapped in Arctic ice. To become part of a guitar is without doubt a better destination, and the result is also quite astonishing.
While we are talking about guitarists who made their instruments from recycled materials, we should surely include one of the most famous: Brian May, from Queen. He built his iconic, unmistakable Red Special with the help of his father, using wood from an old mantelpiece and a table. Under that same philosophy, but brought up to the present, on the youtube channel tchiks guitars have built one using the remains of IKEA shelves and chairs. As there really has to be something for freaks, there is a model called Vecna, which many will remember for Stranger Things and for Dungeons and Dragons.
Another of the most popular youtubers also involved in building instruments with recycled materials is Tim Sway. On his channel you will find instruments made of recycled metal and wood. In this video you will see them building an acoustic guitar using hollow door panels from old cabinets. Although, as he says, they could be better, we think it is a fantastic initiative.
If you are looking for something really bizarre (bordering on the crazy) we have those responsible for the 'How to Make Everything' channel, who have built a guitar using parts of cars found in a scrapyard. Apparently, the body is the silencer from an exhaust pipe, and the neck is the pipe itself but crushed. Even the strings are recycled, made with the cable that is used to open the bonnet.
At this point, it is time to go back a little, and return to the subject of tin cans, in this case those used by Busch beer, a company that has developed a manual to build a guitar (or something similar) using its cans as raw material. The guitar is called Busch Light DIY and to build it all you need is a toolbox and a pack of 30 cans of beers, so it is better to build it after the party is over. The guide was created by the craftsman Logan Elliott, and consists of 17 steps. If you would like to build your own, here is the manual:
In addition to Youtube and guitars, there are a large number of other publications you can use to spend an entertaining weekend making musical instruments, even with the help of the children. In this regard we recommend the following books: ‘Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred’ and ‘Junkyard Jam Band’, both by David Erik Nelson.