Responsible Wood… in tune with Mark’s guitar magic
What do jazz and rock legends Wolf Mail, Richard Smith, Steve Balbi and Pat Drummond have in common? They all play guitars created by Mark Gilbert of Mark Gilbert Guitars who creates the instruments in his guitar shop, located amid the hustle and bustle of downtown Hobart.
Wolf Mail has been a long-time fan and user of Gilbert’s guitars. A French-Canadian blues rock guitarist and singer, Wolf has recorded six full-length albums, internationally distributed, and has toured more than 26 countries. Today Wolf plays Mark Gilbert’s guitars exclusively and proudly so.
His favourite instruments are the Mark Gilbert WMI1 signature bearing his name and the Mark Gilbert B.C. electro-acoustic guitar. The initials ‘B.C.’ on the guitar stand for ‘Before Christ’ and are a testimony to ancient Huon Pine, the slow-growing timber used to craft the guitar.
And Wolf is not the only one playing exclusively on Mark Gilbert guitars.
“More and more Australian and international artists are now using them,” Mark says. “It’s incredible and it’s all in the timber. We are fortunate to have some of the finest timbers in the world right here in Tasmania.”
“Wolf was one of the first to support me but today we are endorsed by guitar players the world over including the acclaimed Richard Smith, the full professor of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California,” Mark said.
For Wolf, it’s all in the sound and in the wood. Wolf says not only does the guitar look amazing, but it sounds incredible. It’s all in the luthiering (the making of stringed instruments), Wolf says.
According to Mark Gilbert, Tasmanian Blackwood comes from the same family as Koa and is similar to Brazilian Rosewood and African Blackwood – a superior acoustic composition that provides superior tone and appearance.
“Brazilian Rosewood has now been added to the CITIES treaty and is strictly banned for exportation,” Mark said. “Widely used in many of the best acoustic and electronic guitars, it was not properly harvested and can only be used in guitars that pre-date the 1992 treaty. This is a real tragedy; the timber was not responsibly harvested and now we are at risk of losing the timber species forever.”
This therein provides the opportunity for Mark to export his unique guitars throughout the world. And Responsible Wood certification, through its international endorsement by the Program of Endorsement for Forest Certification, plays an important role in allowing Mark to export his sound far and wide.
“Sustainability is crucial, we have a precious commodity that we must ensure is not abused,” he says. “We must learn from the mistakes of Brazilian Rosewood.
“This is why I am a licensee of Fine Timber Tasmania’s chain of custody system and proudly carry the Responsible Wood ‘trust mark’.”
Mark said Responsible Wood, through its international PEFC endorsement, made it so much easier to export timber overseas. The PEFC endorsement was an absolute must as it had mutual recognition throughout North America, Europe, Asia and the world over.
Mark says Responsible Wood is all about responsible foresting and renewal.
“It’s the ‘trust mark’ ensuring Tasmanian blackwood and Huon pine will grow vibrantly in Tasmanian forests for many years to come.”
Proudly Tasmanian, Mark Gilbert guitars is one of 30 Tasmanian timber businesses covered by the Fine Timber Tasmania group’s chain of custody system.