I was sitting around the house recently and was wondering if they make glasses frames out of recycled materials. Well, it turns out they do! I found Sea2See, a company that makes beautiful frames out of reclaimed marine plastic–the stuff that’s floating around in the ocean and is forming into the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It’s one small thing I can do, and they look great! I guess bigger frames are back in vogue!
Once I got excited by this idea, I started thinking about electric basses. I’d been saving my band earnings for a new bass. Was it possible that someone was making basses out of recycled materials? Well, one quick search on the internet found me the answer–yes! Tim Sway builds guitars, basses, furniture, and other handcrafted items in his workshop in rural Connecticut! His New Perspectives Music doesn’t just recycle the material–they “upcycle,” using wood that was once doing something else to make guitars!
I perused the website and decided that I had to have one of his basses. I ordered it, paid using Paypal, and a week later, a big, oblong box arrived at my house.
I opened it up, and there was my beautiful, handmade bass. It’s serial number 002, so I don’t think I’ll see another one like it anytime soon.
I’ve since used my bass at a few gigs.
My four-string instrument is made from cumaru, a Brazilian teak. It’s slim, but the wood is hard, so Tim was able to build not only the body but the neck as well out of this handsome material. It originally was part of a deck.
Why not keep going? I wondered about upcycled guitar straps! And yes, there are ones made from seatbelt material. I ordered one from the Couch Guitar Straps company, and it arrived around the same time as the bass.
If we are looking to have a circular economy, we want to generate a lot less one-time-use material. If we don’t make the plastic bottles we don’t have to try to recycle them. But as long as there’s a lot of usable material around, why not make something good out if it?