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From Trash to Treasure: Turning Leftover Wood Into Gorgeous Electric Guitars with @sustainablecomponents
For more of the craftsmanship behind Sal’s electric guitars, check out @sustainablecomponents on Instagram. For more music stories, check out @music.
As part of a film crew shooting at the San Pedro Harbor in Los Angeles, lighting technician Sal Cocuzza (@sustainablecomponents) was struck with the inspiration to make electric guitars and guitar pedals out of reclaimed wood. There he met a longshoreman who introduced him to mounds of leftover wooden beams that were previously inserted between shipping containers and were now for sale in the shipyards. “The wood comes from all over the world,” Sal explains.
Fascinated with the idea that the wooden planks he discovered could be used to make musical instruments, Sal began to design his view of the perfect electric guitar made of reclaimed wood. While unable to identify the exact type of woods used, Sal could determine the musical significance of the wood based on its density, selecting denser wood for the guitar neck and lighter wood for the body. “That is the whole premise. I have all these woods, I could probably only name five of them, but I know where in a guitar each piece will be the best-suited based on its characteristics.”
Sal learned to play guitar as a child, and cites his uncle, who made him a custom guitar when he was a teen, as an inspiration, “I worked with my uncle in a cabinet shop,” he says. “I was really good at it. My grandfather, uncles and my dad all work with their hands.”
In describing the perfect sound for his guitars, Sal explains that he is going for a workingman’s guitar, “It’s not going to sound the same as a true hollow body, but for versatility, it is the average of everything I thought was cool about guitars and what people want.” Sal has also designed his guitar pedals to replicate sounds he likes to play, including California surf and blues rock.
While Sal has dreamed up a list of people that he would like to try out his custom guitars ranging from soul and blues oriented Gary Clark, Jr. to indie rocker Adam Granduciel from The War on Drugs, he points to British hard rock band The Cult’s lead guitarist as being on the top of the list, “I would really like Billy Duffy to play one. When I’m making guitars I’ll listen to certain music and it will go into the guitar a little bit.”