Thread April 2, 2016 editorial: comments
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Don’t Throw Out Those Guitar Strings!
I surprise even myself sometimes with the amount of stuff I recycle: bottles, cans, cardboard, paper — even guitar riffs, but that’s for another column. Seriously, I don’t like the idea of putting anything in the trash that doesn’t need to go there. Being able to recycle is good for both the planet and my soul.
But it had never occurred to me that I might be able to recycle my guitar strings. I certainly go through a lot of them, and have just been throwing the used ones in the trash. But I recently heard that string manufacturer D’Addario, along with a recycling firm called Terracycle has launched a program called Playback, which they say is the world’s first for string recycling. It makes it possible to recycle any kind of instrument string or string clipping, and it’s free.
All you have to do is go to the D’Addario Players Circle website, and sign up for a free account. Click on the string recycling link and you’ll be sent a mailing label that you can attach to any package or box containing strings that you want to recycle. D’Addario has set it up so that you can get rewards points based on how much you recycle (calculated by weight), which can either be applied to the charitable D’Addario Foundation, or towards future D’Addario string purchases.
I checked with D’Addario, and currently, Playback is only available within the United States, but hopefully more programs like this will start up in other countries. While strings may be a proverbial drop in the bucket compared to other items that need recycling, it’s nice to know that you can dispose of them in a way that keeps them from being dumped in a landfill. So check it out.
Something else to check out is this week’s interview with mix engineer par excellence Michael Brauer. If you’re not familiar, he’s an eight-time Grammy winner whose client list includes Coldplay, John Mayer, Dave Matthews and many others. Brauer is renowned for his “Brauerizing” technique of multi-bus compression, which he explains in a video portion of the interview that’s part of our story.
Finally, this week, I wanted to let you know that the Musikmesse, a gear trade show that’s even larger than NAMM, is coming up this Thursday through Sunday in Frankfurt, Germany. Audiofanzine will be on the scene covering the show and we’ll be posting news items and videos as the show progresses. Hopefully, there will be some cool new products announced. Stay tuned.
On the specific point of guitar (and bass and other stringed instruments) strings, the point is even more relevant when you consider that nickel, cobalt, steel and the other metal components are getting rare and expensive by the day (not to mention the conditions of extraction of nickel, thanks to modern slaves in less than democratic countries).
I salute the initiative of d'addario and wish it flourishes. In France we have something a bit similar, with a non-profit organization collecting strings from a variety of collecting points generally set up in music stores (and also collecting via mail package).
Maybe d'addario and the other brands could set up a network like this, collecting strings from the shops where players drop their old strings and get new ones.
In France we have something a bit similar, with a non-profit organization collecting strings from a variety of collecting points generally set up in music stores (and also collecting via mail package).
Hey Doctor Sven--Thanks for your response. I'm glad to hear there are options for string recycling in France.
Unfortunately, people read articles like this and a week later, revert back to their old, careless and cavalier ways on all things that relate to environmental consciousness.
Point well taken, but we can only keep trying.
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