Episode 118: The Guitar: Tracing The Grain Back To The Tree
This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast presents an interview with Chris Gibson and Andrew Warren. Chris is a professor of geography at the University of Wollongong, Australia while Andrew is a senior lecturer in economic geography at the same university. They are also the co-authors of The Guitar: Tracing The Grain Back To The Tree, a deeply insightful book which lies at the center of this episode.
Guitars inspire cult-like devotion. An aficionado can tell you precisely when and where their favorite instrument was made, the wood it is made from, and that wood’s unique effect on the instrument’s sound. In The Guitar, Chris and Andrew follow that fascination around the globe as they trace guitars all the way back to their source tree. The authors visit guitar factories, port cities, log booms, remote sawmills, Indigenous lands, and distant rainforests, all on a quest for behind-the-scenes stories and insights into how guitars are made, where the much-cherished guitar timbers ultimately come from, and all the while introducing you to the people and skills that craft those timbers along the way.The authors interviewed hundreds of people to give readers a first-hand account of the ins-and-outs of production methods, timber milling, and forest custodianship in diverse corners of the world, including the Pacific Northwest, Madagascar, Spain, Brazil, Germany, Japan, China, Hawaii, and Australia. They unlock surprising insights into longer arcs of world history: on humanity’s exploitation of nature, colonialism, industrial capitalism, and cultural tensions. But the authors also strike a hopeful note, offering a parable of wider resonance — of the incredible but under-appreciated skill and care that goes into growing forests, felling trees, and milling timber in order to craft these enchanting musical instruments. The Guitar promises to resonate with anyone who has ever fallen in love with a guitar.In this episode host Michael Shields explores with Chris and Andrew the many compelling facets of their comprehensively researched book, including how tracing the roots of the guitar can teach profound insights about history and the human condition. Chris and Andrew pinpoint the exact origins of the modern guitar and examine how Climate Change is threatening the industry, as well as deforestation and irresponsible harvesting. They tip a hat to all the foresters and those in the guitar industry who are employing forest management techniques to preserve guitar wood for generations to come, and much, much more.
Grab a copy of The Guitar: Tracing The Grain To The Tree here!
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