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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As some of you my know, I like to play guitar. Lately, i've been looking more closely at guitars. I've taken my bass apart, to see how it works, and I want to take a look at the potentiometers in my friend's Les Paul.

Anyhow, it's occured to me that in guitar construction, there are a lot of animal products used:

Glue: A lot of luthiers use hide glue, which is made form animal bits. In guitar, the most common application is in gluing a neck to a body, or gluing a fingerboard to a neck.

Mother of pearl: This is derived from pearl oysters. it's the actual shell. (Abalone is similar, except it's from a different shellfish) It's used for fingerboard inlays.

Shellac: Secretions from insects. This is used to polish guitars.

It's kinda hard for the guitarists out there to avoid animal products in guitars. I'd put this as "One of those things where you have to accept that animal products are used." Like in cars etc.

But there are alternatives out there! You see, animal glue doesn't have to be used. To avoid the problem with necks being stuck to bodies, you can get a bolt on neck, like a Fender, and to avoid the use of gluing a fingerboard to the neck, get an all-maple neck. I dunno though.

Anyhow, I'm wondeirng what all you other veg*n guitarists think about animal products in guitars. Personally, I'm happy to play any guitar. It's best to avoid animal products where you can (ie get a non-leather guitar strap) but you can't really get an inlay done with plastic unless you buy a relaly cheap (And most likely crap) guitar. Most luthiers have a joke about plastic inlays, referring to them as "mother of toilet seat" unless you get them custom made, which isn't cheap. I'm happy to sit here with aguitar which has probably been put together with animal glues, has mother of pearl inlayed dots, and was probably shellac-varnished.
 

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Yeah... I'm with you on that one. I also have leather tap shoes, leather jazz shoes, horse hair violin bows (I don't play anymore, so I haven't rehaired them in a while -- I suppose that's something.)... I can't always win. And when it's a choice between animals and good quality instruments & dance shoes... well, the animals lose.


My guitar strap is mostly cloth and I do have cloth ballet shoes. The cloth ones work really well. I'm not entirely worthless, I guess.
 

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I don't really think about that when buying an instrument. Maybe I should, but my tele cost me $900 so sound and feel were the ruling factors there. My bass was about $500 and my keyboard $800.So I figure animals animals may be in the glue and/or whatever else, but I don't think these drive the animal butchering industry. Right?

I turned down the free leather guitar strap that came with the bass though and went with the free strings.

rigmarole
 

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I think that if you eliminate most animal products from your life, that's doing a helluva lot more than most people. If everyone in the world would eat meat one less day a week, as you always say Loki, the world would be a completely different place.

We took the step to cut out everything but dairy and fish at first, and a friend of mine said "If everyone would do that much, think of how different the world would be."

She's right. Do what you can.

I agree with Rigmarole that guitar sales are not a driving force with animal slaughter....

------By the way, is Elmer's glue, or white school glue, still made from horse hooves? Or is that a thing of the past?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Loki

It's kinda hard for the guitarists out there to avoid animal products in guitars.
A lot of guitar players, before they actually do it, underestimate how possible it is to build yourself a quality guitar. With your penchant for taking them apart, you seem like an ideal candidate for building one, too. You can use your own kind of glue (I imagine there is something out there that is capable of holding an axe together that is not animal-derived) and instead of using mother of pearl, or toilet, you can go with no inlays, or even wood-inlays (maple inlay on a mahogany fret board, for example). I'm sure, also, that there are alternatives to shellac.

I agree, especially being very much "only" a vegetarian, that such products as musical instruments are not going to make an impact on the whole AR scene. It's a matter of degree, and guitars are of issue to an extremely minimal degree. However, isn't that a common argument against veg*nism on the whole? "What difference would it make if *I* went vegan?" One might ask. It makes as much sense to say that one person affects the animal consupmtion of a planet as much as it makes sense to say that your buying an "animal guitar" affects your veg*n lifestyle on the whole. It's a slippery slope, too. What if I ate one McNugget on the third Friday of every month. Aren't I compromising something there? What about a small order? What about every OTHER Friday? And so on...

I'm really just playing devil's advocate here, I applaud the very fact that you're thinking about it. I say play on, and perhaps when you're ready to, you can build a vegan guitar. As a guitar tinkerer myself, I'm sure the benefits of building such an axe go beyond just the ethical satisfaction. Hey, maybe there's a market for custom-built vegan guitars!
 

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I have one classical, two electric guitars and an electric bass and bought all these while I was an omni. Anyway, I'm wanting to get another guitar this summer and I have thought of this issue a bit.

I suppose one could think that these glues are only bibroducts of a meat industry and nobody would think of raising animals just for glue alone as the glue would be enormously expensive (so other sources would be used I'm sure ... some may use non-animal glue now). I think with electrics you may get less concern by makers for using "traditional" glues and ingredients as it's a relatively new thing (compared to traditional acoustic instruments).

As for mother of pearl , I though a lot of reasonably affordable guitars use a simulated type for fretboard inlays and stuff like that. I know I've heard the term "pearloid" used as a material alot.

Guitars used to use tortoise shell a lot for pickguards (also some guitar picks where that material) but it would be almost entirely simulated plastic today (maybe some expensive guitars would use that , I dont know, and they'd be out of my price range anyway ;-) )

The nut (very end of the fretboard where the strings are supported at the headstock , also saddle on an acoustic) on many guitars is not bone but dense plastic . But some semi-higher end ones use use bone. Graphite is a popular choice too as it reduces friction ... all my guitars have some sortof high-density plastic or something there.

I imagine most solid-body electric guitars use a plastic varnish (in fact most places I've read people only mention plastic) ... I suppose some higher end hollow body acoustics or classical or jazz guitars may use something else, I don't know.

Here's a quote from a guitar making book I have, This segment talks about glues (sorry , it's a photo ... I'm not typing that all out ;-) )

http://www.dkingdesign.com/guitars/guitar_glue.gif

In that, these two luthiers say they do not use animal glue as the synthetic ones are as good and less hastle.

Since I'm posting from their book, here's a link to this book (I never actually got to making a guitar but this shows a classical and a steel-string acoustic and seems well done by two great luthiers)

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...books&n=507846

http://www.dkingdesign.com/guitars/guitar_book.jpg

I wouldn't be surprised if most electric guitars being made commercially (even Les Pauls and Fender Teles and Strats) don't use any animal ingredients. I'd have to email them but I think it's fairly probably that they have no animal ingredients (unless they have actual abalone or mother of pearl inlays or bone nut ).
 

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Interesting thread, I'm enjoying it.


Tell me though, do you consider an oyster as something to avoid? I mean, do they feel pain? Who knows for sure? Are some folks that adamant about veganism? I really have no idea about all this . . . .
 

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" do you consider an oyster as something to avoid?"

To be honest , I avoided all those shell things as an omni cuz they were gross LOL

I do recall scallops being good though ;-)

I don't know enough about the anatomy of these things .... I'll have to look at some biology online

Hmmm, interesting, I suppose there's some people in the world who are quasi-vegan but eat shell animals
 

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I'm reading this blrub on clams just for starts

http://www.scsc.k12.ar.us/1999bst/Me...nformation.htm

"Nervous System: The nervous system of a clam is composed of ganglia and nerve cords. A ganglion is a mass of nerve cell bodies. The ganglia are located in the mouth area, in the foot, and near the posterior adductor muscle. Each ganglion controls the area in which they are located. A clam does not have any sense organs, but there are sensory cells along the edge of the mantle. A clam can respond to touch, light and to chemicals."

I don't know if they feel pain or not . They seem pretty simple (far simpler than insects). I don't see a brain as part of the anatomy

who knows??
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Max Power

A lot of guitar players, before they actually do it, underestimate how possible it is to build yourself a quality guitar. With your penchant for taking them apart, you seem like an ideal candidate for building one, too.
i was thinking the same thing. there may be a real demand for vegan instruments! i know of one or two people who'd be interested
 

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Loki- don't be too hard on yourself. There are so many by-products in everyday things it would be virtually impossible to not come in contact with them during the course of a day. There is gelatin in film, by-products in automotive stuff, ect.

If you stop and think about it, you're making a difference by not eating meat and chosing things ethically. You do your best to make a difference, but you can't be perfect!
 

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I was looking at guitar building supplies and found this glue which this site says is "The standard wood glue used by luthiers world wide." (who knows if that's true or just a marketting slogan)

http://www.stewmac.com/cgi-bin/hazel..._glue&sku=0620

It's Titebond original wood glue

http://www.titebond.com/ProductLineT...ne=1&prodcat=1

This glue is described as "Aliphatic resin emulsion"

The aliphatic word can be seen here

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=Aliphatic

The resin word can be seen here

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=resin

the emulsion word can be seen here

http://dictionary.reference.com/search?r=2&q=emulsion

This glue appears to be totally non-animal based.

Anyway, just investigating more ;-)
 

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I posted this question below at a guitar forum

"Just wondering if anyone has info on this. I see "pearl inlays" and mention of pearl even on not too expensive guitars and was wondering if this is real mother of pearl or abalone (if they mention abalone). I would assume that would be more expensive than it seems.

I was wondering this especially on this guitar

http://www.washburn.com/products/guitar/wi66v.shtm

where it says " pearl wing fingerboard inlays". Surely that must be a 'pearloid' or whatever and not real

Anyone have any information on use of mother of pearl, abalon or other similar items on today's electric guitars? (not custom or outlandishly expensive ones , just typical production ones)"

I got these replies

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"you know those dots on the sides of fretboards? most of them are made by cutting up guitar picks to the size of a pen tip...

I cant imagine most inlays being much different"

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"its probly pearloid (cheap plastic look-a-like crap). Even Gibson puts this stuff into their $2000 LP standards"

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"I like to think of it a "Mother-of-toiletseat". Very few guitars, and only high end guitars use real pearl."

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SO it is probably the case that most reasonably affordable electrics use simulated shell inlays on fretboards and bindings (etc).

It's looking good for vegans and guitars the more I find out ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Good stuff dk!

Although I'm not completely worried about guitars. If I had a few grand to spare, I'd be out and getting a Les Paul, regardless of what was used to make it. (I love les pauls.)

I'm thinking of giving guitar-making a shot, so it's going to be fun trying. I know you can get real mother of pearl, but it's bloody expensive!
 

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The wiring is the most complicated part, imo, loki. There are so many ways you can hook up the pickups to get different tonal qualities. Everything else is just time consuming.

I had an old strat from which I extracted the middle pickup and wired it so the bridge and neck pickups each have individual volume controls with a master tone control. That took me 3 days of experimenting before it worked how I wanted. Now it's better than ever, to me anyway.

Hard work, but fun. Good luck.

rigmarole
 

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"The wiring is the most complicated part, imo, loki. There are so many ways you can hook up the pickups to get different tonal qualities."

---------------

Yeah , the whole electrical stuff would be something to learn ..... I also have concernes with the truss rod (I suppose being a pre-made fretted and truss-rod installed neck would be an answer. There are some which have a headstock you can shape yourself).

Making one would be cool as I could get the features I want (currently wanting a non-Strat shape with vibrato system and mohagony body and humbuckers. Would be nice to have two volume and two tone knobs too)

Anyway , I designed two designs for electric guitars.

http://www.dkingdesign.com/guitars/guitar_design1.jpg

http://www.dkingdesign.com/guitars/guitar_design2.jpg

I especially like the second one (I suppose a little Rickenbacker inspired) ... I'm still wondering if I should attempt trying to make one (at least it's not acoustic, which would be much harder IMHO)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
For my thingy, I'm having an original design, a 640mm scale length (that's quite long) I'm doing it on the cheap, sinc eits a first guitar. If I make a decent one with the crap that i have, i'll spend more on my next guitar. It's gonna be an ash body, maple neck and ebony fingerboard. I'm considering whether to use mother of pearl, or if i should use an alternative material. I can get scrap mother of pearl, so that might be an option. I'm also thinking of using the same stuff that scratchplates are made from for inlays. (It looks all pearlised but its plastic.)

The wiring is the bugger bit, but i've got my ass covered. I know nothing about wiring, so I'm just gonna copy the wiring of a les paul. (It's gonna have similar pickups and a tunematic bridge thing.) essentially, it'll be a Les Paul in disguise. (And really cheap and probably crap knowing my skills.) The only major differences will be that I'm upping the scale length because i prefer longer scale lengths. It's only a few millemetres more htan a PRS though, so it's not very big. And I'm also going for the double octave 24-fret thing. (I'm realy getting into playing lead stuff)

I've also decided that instead of veneering the headstock, like on many acoustics and on les pauls, I'm going for a flat headstock, much like on strats & teles. It's easier.

Anyhow, once I've got a job, and therefore some cash, i'll get some materials ordered, and start! Hopefully, I won't bugger it all up!

Anyhow, i love those guitars dk. #2 looks great. So does #1, but I'd recommend #2,
 

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DK, those are great.

who built them? you said you were wondering if you should still make one, but they look like more than drawings to me.

I prefer #1, probably because it's more rounded and I hate guitars with angles. You know those flying V guitars? I freaking hate them.

FENDER RULES

rigmarole
 
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