Wood From Michigan Waters Used To Build Guitars
You can find tons of fossils and rocks in Michigan waters. If you're lucky, you might even stumble across some Petoskey stones. Did you know you could also find ancient wood that's been submerged for over a century in our waters? Back in the 1800s ancient white pine, called Sinker Pine, fell off of lumber boats in Michigan waters. The best part about this story, is the founder of Echopark Guitars', Gabriel Currie, is taking that wood and turning them into guitars.
How did he stumble upon this wood? We'll get there, but first, lets tell you a little bit about Gabriel Currie. He grew up in LA and started crafting guitars in junior high woodshop. At age 16, he dropped out of school and started studying under a guitar maker in east LA. In 1987, he was introduced to Leo Fender and worked for him until Fenders passing in 1991. In 1993, he started collecting old guitars and noticed that older guitars sounded better than the newer ones. Currie says,
"In modern forests, the pine trees are grown fast, which creates fat growth rings and soft wood. The older pine gives the sound greater resonance. The tonal qualities come from the dirt, the minerals and the oxygen it's grown in and, in the case of Michigan's Sinker Pine, the lake and river waters in which it was submerged for hundreds of years."
After a back injury working construction, Currie realized his passion was making guitars and in 2010, opened Echopark in LA with the help from a friend. In 2017, he moved to Michigan and brought his business Echopark Guitars' with him and got lucky a few months later when a local builder reached out to him about logs he found in Michigan's waters. Currie says,
"Ancient white pine from Michigan is the platinum standard. It really has this tonal quality to it that doesn’t exist in any other species of wood, and I’ve heard a lot of guitars."
Read more on Gabriel Currie's story and the famous artists that have bought guitars from him here.