Swamp ash which makes the Fender guitar ‘will be gone in a couple of years’

Due to an invasion of the emerald ash borer beetle in conjunction with climate change causing flooding, swamp ash as it is known by musicians, is dying out which means the wood will no longer be used to make the world’s most prized electric guitars.

Swamp ash
Swamp ash. Photo in public domain.

Swamp ash grows in the lower Mississippi River and is in danger of disappearing. The experts say that it creates a unique sound which is both mellow and precise, “a warm but crystal-clear twang”, according to the magazine Scientific American.

Emerald ash borer beetle
Emerald ash borer beetle. Photo: public domain.

You probably know that many famous guitarists used the Fender guitar including John Lennon who used one on the Beatles’ album Rubber Soul and George Harrison who played one on Abbey Road. Others who used the Fender guitar are some of the world’s best-known guitarist including: Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton.

The business which makes the guitar, Fender Musical Instruments, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA has said that a shortage of the right kind of ash has forced it to stop using the wood in this production lines.

1958 Fender Stratocaster
1958 Fender Stratocaster. Photo: Lubbad85 – Own work on Wikipedia.

There have been attempts to contain the ash beetle invasion which have failed.

It’s eating its way through the forest, and ash will be completely gone in a couple of years. – said Justin Norvell of Fender.

The business is working on other woods as a replacement. Climate change has caused flooding for longer periods than normal which has hit harvesting of the wood.

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