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Scientific American: ‘Climate Change Could Shred Guitars Known for Shredding’ – ‘Threatening the wood that helped build rock & roll’

Climate Change Could Shred Guitars Known for Shredding

It is the wood that the rock greats have sworn by—swamp ash, in the form of their Fender Telecaster and Stratocaster guitars—for over 70 years. If you’ve ever listened to rock, you’ve probably heard a swamp ash, solid body guitar. But now, climate change is threatening the wood that helped build rock and roll.

In a piece in the February Scientific American, Andrea Thompson and Priyanka Runwal  write: every winter and spring rains across the central U.S. combine with the snow melt along the Northern reaches of the Mississippi river to inundate the hardwood dominated bottom lands of the lower Mississippi. When the floodwaters recede and soils dry up in the summer, logging crews move in.

One of their targets has been swamp Ash. These wetland trees have thin-walled cells with large gaps between them creating a low density wood, and some say a special sound that has made it the material of choice for some of the most famous guitar players in rock and roll. Today on the science talk podcast, we chat with Jim Campolingo. He’s a veteran guitarist who’s recording career started in the mid 1990s.