Ongoing History Daily: Climate change, a bug, and guitars

For decades, one of the best woods for making electric guitars has been ash. Not only has it been plentiful and cheap but using ash results in some of the best-sound guitars ever. A particular type—green ash, which grows in the US South—is especially great for guitars because something happens to it during the months of the year its submerged in swamps.

There’s a problem, though: climate change.

The floods that produce this prized ash are receding less, meaning it’s harder to get to the wood. Making things worse is the emerald ash borer, a little green bug whose larva loves to eat ash, and has created one of the worst insect infestations in North America. The result is that old ash guitars could go up in value and new electric guitars will be made from different wood.

Will that affect the sound of rock? We’ll see.

Friday’s post featured the story of when Elton John attacked Iggy Pop onstage. And Elton was wearing a gorilla suit at the time.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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