Symphontree Music photo Called The Ancient OM

Donated guitars may strike a chord with Haida Gwaii youth

Kevin Hennig of Symphontree Music is donating guitars to local youth who might like to play them by the trees and shores of Haida Gwaii.

Even as a kid, Kevin Hennig loved to play his guitar outside.

“My guitar would fall off the roof, or fall into the river and get full of water,” he says, laughing.

A few repairs and many, many guitars later, Hennig is now donating guitars to local youth who might like to play them by the trees and shores of Haida Gwaii.

From his home studio in Sandspit, Hennig runs Symphontree Music.

Started as a Vancouver music school in 2008, Hennig has made Symphontree into an online store for hand-crafted guitars made by over a dozen top luthiers, most of whom work in Canada.

One is Reuben Forsland, a luthier from Comox who recently made a guitar using a 3,000 year-oldSitka Spruce top that came from Prince of Wales Island, Alaska.

Slash, the Guns ‘n Roses guitarist, ordered another just like it. Forsland’s next project is a guitar made from the baseboards of Jimi Hendrix’ bedroom.

But of the hundreds of handcrafted guitars Hennig has tried so far instruments made inMontreal, Toronto, Sweden, the U.K., U.S. and South Africa the best sounding by far was made by Montreal’s Mario Beauregard using a bear-claw Sitka Spruce top salvaged from Haida Gwaii.

“The top is the heart and the most important thing on the entire guitar, and Haida Gwaii is known for having spectacular spruce,” said Hennig.

“I personally like the sound, and I just love Sitka trees.”

Traditionally, the prized wood for guitars has mainly been Engelmann spruce from Germany or Switzerland, and rosewood from Brazil.

But given the high-quality spruce that can be salvaged from Haida Gwaii, plus new laws that will restrict global trade in rosewood this January, Hennig hopes the market will change.

“It’s become more important for us to actually use sustainable wood that we have here,” he said.

Hennig already has a guitar made almost entirely from Haida Gwaii wood.

Eventually, he hopes to have people like Stéphan Fortier, a luthier who also lives in Sandspit,make guitars whose owners can trace to a single tree. The idea is to use the tree’s GPS coordinates as a serial number.

“At any point in his life, he can look inside his guitar, find the GPS, hop on a plane and come to Haida Gwaii to visit his tree,” he said.

“Nobody’s ever done anything like that before.”

Before Hennig launches that idea, he is already moving on another one donating one guitar to a young musician on Haida Gwaii for every one that he sells.

Hennig started the one-for-one program six weeks ago, and two guitars set for donation arrived at his front door while talking with the Observer.

Although they are not handcrafted such guitars can cost tens of thousands of dollars Hennig said they are well made, from companies like Seagull and Norman.

“My main objective is to take care of the kids first,” said Hennig, who has two young children himself.

Eventually, he would love to see other musicians teach guitar lessons in villages across the islands.

Even now that he handles handmade wonders like Mario Beauregard’s ‘fast set’ guitars guitars carved so they don’t need any glued braces to hold tension Hennig still plays them all outside,and finds his best compositions are inspired by walking with them on wooded trails.

“I basically just give them a voice out here on Haida Gwaii, in the forest, and send them to their new owner,” he said.

To find out more about Symphontree’s One-for-One program, visit http://symphontreemusic.com/.

 

Just Posted

Subsea internet cable to link up Haida Gwaii

Cable to connect Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Vancouver Island, Sunshine Coast with mainland network

Tlellagraph: Sweet tips for beating the big SAD monster

By Janet Rigg Well, how are we all doing? 2018 appears to… Continue reading

Northwest economy remains uncertain

The Northern Development Initiative Trust releases its State of the North economic report

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

Photos: Ts’aahl wins super-close Clan Tournament

Three games finished in overtime. In the semi-final, the defending Clan Tournament… Continue reading

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

Double-doubles and demonstrations: Employees rally outside Tim Hortons

Protests held in response to Ontario franchise owners cutting employee benefits and breaks

Train derails in Northwest B.C.

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment.

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Botox, bomb shelters, and the blues: one year into Trump presidency

A look into life in Washington since Trump’s inauguration

Christopher Garnier appealing murder conviction in death of off-duty cop

Jury found Garnier guilty in December, rejecting his claim she died accidentally during rough sex

Transportation watchdog must revisit air passenger obesity complaint

Canadian Transportation Agency must take new look at Gabor Lukacs’ complaint against Delta Air Lines

Most Read