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The Burls Art channel at YouTube fronts a man who specializes in making guitars from atypical or sustainable materials. One video shows him making a guitar from epoxy while another chronicles a hike into a forest where he built a guitar on site from a fallen tree.
In this recent 15-minute video he teamed up with 4ocean along the coast of south Florida to gather unnatural materials found in nature: ocean plastic.
The haul that included packaging such as metal cans, PET water bottles, and HDPE buckets — the latter of which he uses for the guitar body — is collected, weighed, sorted, and ground into small pieces.
In short, the process involves melting the plastic into a block that is cut to form the body followed by the other components. His full-disclosure video notes a fail while making the neck whereby embedded bottle caps weakened the part. He switched to using discarded straws he filled with epoxy. The result was a colorfully attractive neck/fretboard.
On completion, the from-scratch (and plastic) hand-made guitar looks and sounds amazing. The demo recording of him playing the guitar near the end of the video had a dreamy quality that reminded me of a walk along the beach.
The project struck a major chord with an appreciative audience: in just a few short weeks the video had 800 comments including this sampling:
“Sustainable, made on a budget and has a beautiful tone: I loved it!” — Carol Mariana
“This is genuinely one of the prettiest guitars I've ever seen, if you ever do decide to sell your creations, I think a business making recycled ocean plastic guitars would be sick.” — Nathan Stolte
Right on, man.
Some offered suggestions.
“Would've been cool to make the knobs bottle caps, too. Turned out great though, awesome idea.” — Leif
“Following the recycling theme, it would be cool to see a guitar made from recycled/discarded vinyl records! Awesome work dude, this is one of the only channels I have notifications turned on for!!!” — Levi B
Yes, this is ingeniously awesome work, dude, rock on!
The only sour note is that the 4ocean salvage operation like many others of this type is highly sustainable: to date, the global organization is credited with removing 20 million pounds of trash from the ocean and there's a lot more available.
About the Author(s)
Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday
Rick Lingle is Senior Technical Editor, Packaging Digest and PlasticsToday. He’s been a packaging media journalist since 1985 specializing in food, beverage and plastic markets. He has a chemistry degree from Clarke College and has worked in food industry R&D for Standard Brands/Nabisco and the R.T. French Co. Reach him at [email protected] or 630-481-1426.
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