5 Practical and Impractical Tips to Being an Earth-Friendly Guitarist

Here are 5 practical, and impractical, ways you can start using TODAY to make the world a better place.

Ultimate Guitar
As guitar players, we hold more sway and influence over the populace of the world than any political entity, therefore it is up to us to set an example of Earth-friendly responsibility the nations of the world can rally behind. Here are 5 practical, and impractical, ways you can start using TODAY to make the world a better place.

Practical Idea No. 1

Buy From a Sustainably Responsible Manufacturer

Harvesting wood for all types of musical instruments is big business, and the short-sighted deforestation of woods in the old days lead to the extinction of highly demanded "musical" woods such as Brazilian Rosewood and Adirondack Spruce. Since then, laws have been put in place that force manufacturers to adhere to different wood-sourcing practices, but certain guitar builders go above and beyond.

Doing a quick google search of your favorite guitar maker's wood-sourcing eco-footprint will yield some interesting and innovative practices, but Taylor Guitars has been at the forefront of environmental ethics. One example of their business model is partnering with small villages in emerging countries such as Honduras and Cameroon, where they partner different villages together and give them the machinery and training they need to source their own wood, vitalizing the community with a skilled labor force and bringing modern efficiencies of cutting and regrowing a forest.

Impractical Idea No. 1

Choose to have an Earth-friendly cremation instead of a wooden coffin burial after you grow old and die waiting for the new Tool album.

Practical Idea No. 2

Get More Life Out of Your Strings

Quit being so cheap and just buy the Elixirs. They really do last at least 3x as long in my experience, they're easier on your hands, and in a lot of cases they sound better (I vote for the phosphor bronze ones, just check out some YouTube shootouts for proof).

Regardless of what strings you use, the dirt, oils and sweat that everyone accumulates on their hands will damage and corrode your strings over time, thus shortening their useful life. This can be nullified with the mind-blowing modern technology of WASHING YOUR HANDS before playing.

Impractical Idea No. 2

Turn off the light and practice your Lamb of God riffs by candlelight, the way they were meant to be played.

Practical Idea No. 3

Stop Printing Stuff

It started out with good intentions, but when is the last time you even opened that enormous binder stuffed with Bon Jovi tabs and chord charts? There are so many awesome guitar resources that can be acquired as E-Books or downloads. A lot of them are even free, or at least cheaper and can be stored on a phone or tablet.

Impractical Idea No. 3

Carpool in your bass player's car to band practice. Why is this impractical? Because bass players don't own cars.

Practical Idea No. 4

Buy Used

Second-hand gear is essentially the recycling of the gear world. In most cases, used gear is cheaper and just as good if not better, so you're doing the planet and your pocketbook a disservice by not at least looking into buying used. Pawn shops can be kind of risky, and Craigslist could get you murdered so if you don't feel like rolling the dice, check out gear from longtime preferred sellers on eBay or Reverb.com.

Impractical Idea No. 4

Stop using electricity to power your pedalboard and instead use tiny, tea light candles... Oh wait:

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Practical Idea No. 5

Use Rechargeable Batteries

This is something else that is better for the environment and will quickly end up paying for itself anyway. You can get a 4 pack of Duracell 9 volts for your pedals or onboard electronics for about $10. Or for just over twice that, you can grab a 4 pack of rechargeable lithium-ion 9 volts with the charger. Same goes for AA and AAA, after 1 or 2 charges it pays for itself.

Impractical Idea No. 5

Instead of making your own new songs, you can reduce waste by reusing and recycling riffs from a lesser known band that you toured with in the late '60s, leading to a long, drawn-out lawsuit, that probably won't matter anyways, because your recycled riff is way more awesome and popular than the organic original.

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Another practical way to be an Earth-friendly guitarist would be to join the #AppsForEarth campaign and get a useful guitar app while helping a noble cause. You can do that here.

29 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'm so confused right now. Is this suppose to be an actual lesson or a joke?
    Think it tries to be both and ends up in an awkward middle
    I was gonna say something like this. It definitely just comes across as trying too hard.
    Weren't bass players the one who HAVE the cars, and practise spaces? Because the one that gets leeched on is the "bad bass player". I think you got the stereotype wrong?
    stop printing? This is just wrong. Your computer/phone/tablet use electricity for the whole (and multiple) time you are reading and end up poluting more than paper. I remember reading a study about that, and they came to the conclusion that anything that you'll spend more than 2minutes reading should be printed. It's probably not that clear since comparing different types of pollution isn't easy, but you get the idea.
    >anything that you'll spend more than 2minutes reading should be printed WEW LAD that's some grade A retard shit right there. I guess the energy expended by the printers and ink factories don't count huh?
    Of course they count, you just didn't get it. The point is: the energy et ressources required to produce/print a book is only spent once, and the time you spend reading it consumes 0 energy (during day time at least). On the other hand, reading something on a computer uses energy and ressources for the whole time you are reading (servers where the data are stored, the computer, its screen, etc.). So for something that you are going to read for a long time and/or for multiple time, printing the document is actually better than viewing it on a screen. I can't find the study I was speaking about, it was printed (ha yeah, would have been better to be an internet article ), but many other articles speak about that, like : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/omega-institute-...
    Pick 'n' Finger
    keeping an iPad powered one year on average use costs about $2 (Source: epri) Keep your brainless comments to yourself.
    Don't use metal strings for electric guitar. Use nylon - make guitar extremely useless, but its earth friendly. Don't buy strings either. If you will play without strings you won't pollute the air by your playing for sure. Be air friendly. Forget all what i said and get rid of guitars, strings, amps etc. Play air guitar - woods are saved, metals too, air is clean - ABSOLUTELY EARTH FRIENDLY.
    louiseclark52 · Apr 24, 2016 02:25 AM
    All environmentalists here should start using solid state amps, because tubes tend to overheat and increase the global temperature by 0.000001 degrees (yes i pulled that number out of my ass), so you are technically increasing the global warming effect. KEK
    It's a bit hypocritical - tryin' to be all eco friendly while you're playing on a piece of a plant.
    Pick 'n' Finger
    "Because bass players don't own cars." Can confirm. In my last band everybody had a car except for the bass player.
    2. No thanks, Elixers break all the time and shed like a snake in heat, never lasted me as long as what is says on the box before breaking or going dull. Daddarios and Cleartone last twice as long in my experience. 5. How are rechargeable batteries any cheaper or more environmentally friendly than power supplies? Either way you need to charge them which uses electricity, and due to the nature of lithium ion batteries, they will lose maximum charge over time, meaning you'll still end up throwing them out at some point. And when that does happen, batteries are much more harmful when thrown out than power supplies, as the battery acid can leak out; power supplies don't have this problem.
    ^ I believe he meant to say "rechargeable batteries instead of regular ones" but you're right, power supplies are the best way to go
    Way Cool JR.
    Yeah a power supply would be a much better & greener option for powering your pedalboard. IMO batteries (rechargeable or not) should be avoided whenever possible. The rechargeable option really isn't a greener option anyways because they are even more hazardous than the regular ones. Why anyone would want to use batteries on their pedalboards anyways is beyond me.
    I was going to be critical, but seeing this was basically one long drawn-out joke on Led Zepplin, I approve.
    Tip #1 The earth has no friends - it is a planet. Killing yourself now will greatly reduce your carbon footprint and may save some polar bears on a faraway iceberg. Oh yeah and plant live matter for all you vegans. lol
    Practical idea #1 resonated with me, if not really the others (as far as the battery one goes, I use a power supply anyway)- I'd never thought of flaxwood or bamboo as guitarwood (after googling other less impactful woods) and I don't believe in tone woods- it's all about weight and feel in my opinion on an electric Anyway, here, have a positive comment
    I'd like to point out that candlelight is a lot less cost-efficient. Also candles are usually made from paraffin, so if I'm not mistaken, the argument of Eco-friendliness goes out the window right there.