Posted on March 13, 2020February 2, 2021 by Dale Phillips Sustainability: An Issue Confronting Luthiers Sustainability: An Issue Confronting Luthiers by John Curtis from his 1992 GAL Convention lecture Originally published in American Lutherie #33, 1993 and Big Red Book of American Lutherie Volume Three, 2004 All around us we see people whose livelihoods are undergoing change. For some the change is minor; for others it is cataclysmic. How would you like to be a furrier or a slide-rule manufacturer? While most people can conceive of life without a mink coat, these same people have trouble conceiving of a world without musical instruments. What can we do to keep building instruments that sound great and keep our customers happy? Let’s look at where we are and where we want to be a few generations down the line. A few items in our favor are: ▶ People would have low tolerance in a world without music. It would be hard to celebrate, to dance, sing the blues, or create a common ground among people. ▶ We are learning to manage our forests sustainably. ▶ There are other woods that would probably make very good instruments until we can ensure the survival and healthy propagation of species which have come to be preferred over the ages, even though this ensured survival will probably not happen in our lifetimes. ▶ Support for woodworkers who “source” their raw materials more responsibly is growing among consumers. ▶ Methods of verifying claims of sustainably-produced woods is starting to reward producers and users. ▶ Changes in the trade have begun to be seen as opportunities and not obstacles. ▶ There are organizations ready to help luthiers make adjustments: crafts organizations, schools of design, the media, galleries, forest-products laboratories, even CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species). Become A Member to Continue Reading This Article This article is part of our premium web content offered to Guild members. To view this and other web articles, join the Guild of American Luthiers. Members also receive 4 annual issues of American Lutherie and get discounts on products. For details, visit the membership page. If you are already a member, login for access or contact us to setup your account.