By Meg Crane

Many musical instruments are made with wood. But how good is that for the environment? With forests disappearing, not very. Threatened exotic woods are often coveted by musicians, further endangering their existence. The music industry was blamed in part for endangering the Sitka spruce. Fortunately, there are some alternatives so we can have our music and forest hikes too!


Flaxwood is made by blending European spruce with polymer. This is a non-endangered wood and the material can be melted down and recycled, making it an eco-friendly alternative to straight wood.


Some musical instruments are made from recycled materials. Simon Lee Guitars has a large selection of guitars made of industrial pipes, coffee cups, yogurt containers, CDs and plastic bottles. You can choose an already made guitar or bass, or custom order one.

RhythManiA, an all female drumming group in Israel, uses only upcycled materials, including brooms, plastic bags, garbage cans, barrels and buckets.


Bamboo grows quickly and is similar to wood, but more sustainable. Drums Workshop Inc. a drum kit that is a a combination of bamboo and birch.


MADA guitars uses hemp pulp to make their uniquely shaped guitars.


Forest Stewardship Council only certifies businesses that harvest wood in a sustainable way. At Zero Impact Guitars, you’ll find many guitars made with FSC-certified exotic woods that are sourced ethically. The maker also uses solar power and rechargeable batteries to power what he needs to get the job done.


Or you could get crafty and make your own instruments. Not so handy? Head over to Etsy and see what you can find.

Article by Meg Crane, founder of Cockroach. Follow her on Twitter @MegCrane.