November 2018

Sustainable Woods

Key instrument makers are emphasizing sustainability when it comes to harvesting trees for guitars, drums and more.

Additional Resources


Have the class read Sustainable Woods (page 28 of the student edition). The article overviews the reasons many companies have been making efforts to establish sustainable harvesting strategies.

Discuss and Review

  • Why should we bother with sustainable woods? What is the goal?
  • Do you think this should be a priority for instrument companies? In your opinion, is the quality of the instrument more important than how it was made?
  • Do you know what your instrument is made of? Jason Mraz, Brandi Carlille, Maroon 5, and My Morning Jacket always ask where the wood for their instruments comes from. Do you? Why or why not?
  • Do you implement any other strategies in your life that contribute to sustainability?


Quiz Answers

Students can take the quiz online by going to or by clicking here. All correct responses are in bold.

Q1: Title of Adam Gardner and Lauren Sullivan’s eco-friendly organization

  1. Resound
  2. Echo
  3. Reverb
  4. Resonate

Q2: What is the purpose of sustainable wood?

  1. To produce as much high-quality wood as possible exclusively for instrument making
  2. To protect our forests by eliminating all wood as a material for making instruments
  3. To ensure a steady supply of wood without dangerously depleting valuable woods

Q3: What does CITES stand for?

  1. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
  2. The Corporation for Independence of Trees and Environmental Safety

Q4: What did the 2008 expansion of the Lacey Act of 1900 prohibit?

  1. The invention of new instruments that can only be made with endangered species of trees
  2. The importation of products made with illegally logged wood
  3. The production of stringed instruments made from Brazilian rosewood

Q5: Taylor Guitars co-owns an ebony sawmill in Cameroon, Africa.

  1. True 
  2. False

Q6: Which type of wood is still a central component of acoustic and electric guitars and is being studied for sustainable certification?

  1. Rosewood
  2. Hard Maple
  3. Alder

Q7: Tree logging can actually be beneficial to the environment, because older trees create potential danger for natural disasters

  1. True
  2. False

Q8: Which area has become the most recent go-to spot for forestry?

  1. France
  2. China
  3. North America
  4. Tasmania

Q9: All tree-harvesting companies do their jobs improperly and destroy unnecessary resources

A: T or F

Q10: Fender recently switched from rosewood to which sustainable alternative?

  1. Almond wood
  2. Pau ferro
  3. Banana