Exotic hardwoods are getting harder to come by and tighter tonewood regulations are having an impact on guitar making. Over the last few years, many leading manufacturers have been raiding wood piles from demolished buildings or using materials that are easier to come by. But France's Alquier Guitars is going all out for its Cosmic builds, turning away from tropical wood, making use of sustainable bamboo and breaking out titanium hardware.
Major guitar makers have had to dance around tighter CITES regulations introduced early last year that aimed at putting a halt to rosewood trade around the world, usually replacing the endangered wood with less exotic species. Alquier has a more progressive philosophy, to only use FSC and PEFC certified sustainable wood and bamboo.
"We don't have the right any more to build guitars like we did in the 1950s, using tropical wood," said the company's Jean-Yves Alquier. He has spent 5 years looking into sustainable guitar making before launching the company's Ethiq line of instruments – which use bamboo as an alternative to exotic woods, titanium for hardtails, knobs, switches and truss rods, and custom in-house pickups. Now it's launched a Kickstarter to get the Cosmic One into the hands of eco-conscious players.
The instrument benefits from a familiar-looking ergonomic single cut design, with the fast-growing evergreen used for the body back and fingerboard. Its body front is fashioned from flame maple, and it has a 25.2-inch scale maple neck. The company says that it uses titanium for the hardware as a less toxic replacement for the kinds of metals (such as nickel and chrome steel) normally found in electric guitars, noting that it "adds resonance and sustain to your guitar's tone." And it rocks curvy, bamboo-covered P90-style custom pickups at bridge and neck positions.
The 22-fret Alquier Cosmic One is limited to just 100 models, with the Kickstarter pledge set at €1,990 (about US$2,450). If all goes to plan with the already-funded campaign, shipping is expected to start in June. If you fancy a titanium tremolo system rather than a stoptail, three double-rail pickups and a 5-way blade switch on a one-of-a-kind Alquier guitar, the Custom Buzz is still available for a pledge of €8,500. The video below has more.
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