The UrbanMeisters community is an international bunch of motivated ‘greenies’ on sustainable product hunt, tracking the latest trends, conscious start-ups & DIY ideas. We share practical green solutions for everyday life from across categories – covering the latest from fashion, fitness, food, lifestyle, home & work. Like every month, today we bring you the GREEN ART DIGEST, a collaboration between UrbanMeisters and Offcyclers that aims to bring you a bit closer to the the Premium Sustainable Design & Art worlds. We want to show the nuts and bolts of this rapidly growing industry and the people that conform to it, the best independent sustainable designers and sustainable artist on our planet. This week we have something you never thought about: sustainable guitars!!
Now, remember this is only a peak into this whimsical world, so if you want to discover more about what Premium Sustainable Design & Art is, or what it can be, just visit Offcyclers. We’ll be incredibly happy to help you out with any questions or doubts, or help you out in choosing that sustainable Christmas gift you’ve been wanting to give to your special one for some time.
Let’s do a quick re-cap on what we’ve seen together: Up to now we have presented you with some of the greatest artists in the sustainable design and art spheres, from Bel&Bel and their classic vehicle adaptations to interior design, Boris Bally and his reuse of old traffic signs for decorative and functional purposes, or Times TOP 100 green artist Rodney Allen Trice and his eclectic art/design creations that you just can’t ignore. We’ve talked a lot about art, and interior design, but today we want to introduce you to a different style of designer.
An artisan, a luthier and a master instrument craftsman: DePalet
DePalet makes sustainable instruments – mostly sustainable guitars – using only reclaimed pallet wood. DePalet is the creation of Jose Alejo, a young and energetic luthier-entrepreneur that found purpose in giving old transportation pallets a different, and ultimate, purpose.
But how did it all begin?
When we first met Jose Alejo and the DePalet project, we were incredibly interested in learning the hows and whys behind his sustainable guitars. His knowledge of the types of woods and the intricacies of guitar manufacturing are second to none. We soon realized that we had no real idea about wood, or the music industry, so we decided to sit and listen to the master speak.
But back to what we were talking, how does someone start making incredibly beautiful sustainable guitars that are 100% sustainable and made from reclaimed wood? The answer: persistence.
After years of playing guitar – and becoming quite good at it I must admit – Jose Alejo decided to create his own guitar. The motivation of learning the guitar-building craftmanship was a simple professional deviation of his past as a furniture designer. He wanted to learn how to build his own guitar and he decided to go ahead and try.
At the moment, in the job he had, Jose realized there was a huge number of transportation pallets that were being thrown away. Doomed to be turned into lumber for fire, or broken down to be turned into particle slabs, this precious material was being disrespected, and Jose felt he had to do something about it.
Now to really understand the importance of DePalet’s mission, let me just put you in context first:
In Europe, there is a standard size of pallets called the EPal (European Pallet), this pallet has a specific type of dimensions because it is perfect for transportation uses. Now, the problem is that all the merchandise that is imported to Europe doesn’t normally come on EPal’s, but rather they come on pallets of different dimensions and compositions. For standardization reasons, all the merchandise that comes in international pallets, is always immediately changed into European Pallets once it reaches the EU. Hence, the international (or American) pallets are just discarded, either crushed or burnt. DePalet ONLY uses International or American transportation pallets because it is the really sustainable thing to do. His commitment is only to use non-standard or EPAL pallets that are ready to be destroyed and that don’t have a purpose anymore.
The process: Not that easy
With the years, the expertise and knowledge Jose Alejo has amassed is beyond comparison. From dismantling old pallets, to putting them together into a beautiful and functional piece, the process of making every single guitar can take up to a month, and is far more complex than the making of a “normal” guitar. Take for instance the construction of the body of the guitar. While normal guitars are made with two perfectly symmetrical and clean slabs of wood that are already cut to the perfect thickness, DePalet uses 5 slabs which have to be glued together. But in order to find the best piece of wood to use there are 3 extra steps in the process which are far from easy: disassembling the pallet, choosing the ideal piece of wood, and cutting it to the proper thickness, making sure each slab is perfectly symmetrical.
Unlike European Pallets, which are all made from Pine wood, international pallets are made with different types of wood. From Oak to Cedar, or even Pinewood, each type of wood has different acoustic and constructive properties. As you can probably already imagine, the craft of building a sustainable guitar with reclaimed wood is not an easy task, and definitely it’s a much more complex process than building a normal guitar.
The work of DePalet
DePalet offers a wide range of instruments. From the all-natural classic guitar typical of Flamenco artists, to acoustic guitars and even electric guitars and basses, DePalet offers vast array of options, all of which are completely customizable, that will suit the needs of the most demanding musicians.
His work has been purchased by some of the most prolific musicians in Spain and Europe. Musicians like Muchachito Bombo Infierno or Diego Pozo are just two of the several examples of the famous musicians that have already succumbed to the “ecologic register” of DePalet’s guitars.
Below we present you some of the most important models of DePalet, so you can enjoy and appreciate what a reclaimed wood guitar can really look like. Like always, if you’d like more information we recommend you come visit DePalet’s artist profile in Offcyclers and that you check out the rest of his work, we promise you won’t regret it!
The natural guitar
The natural guitar is probably the most notorious of DePalet’s creations and the flagship of the whole project. This guitar is made with 100% reclaimed wood and boasts the natural and enveloping sound that is classic from DePalet’s guitars.
Check & buy the guitar here:
Carefully built with traditional luthier techniques and using only recycled wood, this guitar doesn’t aim to hide the aesthetic imperfections of the wood, but rather intensifies them in a beautifully finished way, leaving behind the artificial and lustrous look of traditional guitars. Get a sound sample here:
The acoustic guitar
Not everybody likes to play classic guitars. So for those of you who are used to the metal strings of acoustic guitars, DePalet has a guitar that is perfect for your needs.
The acoustic pallet guitar is also made entirely from recycled wood. Because the tension of the metal strings is much higher than that of nylon strings, the acoustic guitar has a metallic soul along the mast, which can be regulated and tightened if needed.
Check the range here:
The electric guitar
For those who think a good guitar must be a loud guitar DePalet has two different Electric guitar models that are inspired on the most famous icons of Fender and Gibson.
The Palletocaster has a small body with a double cutaway and the iconic horns of the famous Fender Stratocaster model. It is entirely made with recycled wood and comes with Fender pick-ups, and D’adaggio strings. Check-out and shop here:
The Les Paul-let guitar by DePalet is also inspired on a famous guitar, this time the Les Paul guitar by Gibson. It features a solid body with the characteristic shape of this iconic guitar and it includes the famous Humbacker pick-ups that give it its characteristic sound. Discover & shop the masterpiece here:
UrbanMeisters & Offcyclers hope you enjoyed the article and we succeeded in proving once again that with passion and perseverance everything can be better and more sustainable. We leave you until next month’s green’s art digest with the following amazing sound: