Reclaimed wood from disassembled houses in Detroit is popping up everywhere these days. It can be found in trendy coffee houses
, in table tops
, even in the frames of sunglasses
. And it's about to be found in guitars.
Wallace Detroit Guitars
is making electric guitar bodies from wood reclaimed from Detroit’s abandoned houses. The Corktown-based company is working to create high-end guitars with recycled materials meant to inspire memories of the Motor City's heritage and musical legacy. Mark Wallace, owner of Wallace Detroit Guitars, was inspired to launch the venture early this year when he started noticing reclaimed materials becoming increasingly ubiquitous in the local creative community.
"I got interested in seeing how far we could push that," Wallace says. "What can we build with reclaimed materials from Detroit?"
An instrument from Wallace Detroit Guitars is meant to emphasize that the quality of the wood (taken from Michigan's virgin forests a century ago) and the advanced skill set of Wallace’s team of eight craftsman. Each guitar will feature high-quality hardware and hand-wound pickups. All of the wood is from reclaimed material, except for the neck of the guitar, which Wallace is sourcing from maple trees harvested in Michigan.
"I'm in the process of finishing the first prototypes," Wallace says. "They're working out great."
The first guitars are expected to come to market later this month. Each will retail for $2,000. Wallace acknowledges that the starting price point means they won't be someone's first guitar, but he eventually wants to make them accessible to a broad range of people -- not just folks who appreciate quality guitars with cool backstories and end up hanging them on a wall, but to musicians and others who will bring the instrument to life in a variety of places.
"I'd like to sell these to everybody," Wallace says. "I'd like to sell them to people who love Detroit and love making music."
Source: Mark Wallace, owner of Wallace Detroit Guitars
Writer: Jon Zemke
Photos: Jesse David Green
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.