You've probably witnessed this at least once in your life: a musician is tearing through a song when, suddenly, the string breaks.
If that was at a big stadium arena rock show, what happened next was the sight of a guitar tech hustling out with another guitar, already tuned up, ready to go. (See below for an amazing example of this via Stevie Ray Vaughan and an Austin City Limits performance.)
Or, just as likely, it was at a small bar or even a high school talent show and the next 10 minutes were spent with people shuffling around, waiting for the musician to restring the guitar, then tune it ... tune it ... tune it ... and ... tune it ...
But I'll bet you never wondered what happened to that broken string. I know I never have, beyond having replaced more than a few myself, when they're tossed away without a second thought.
But a lot of people are having second thoughts about all those things that were always tossed away, and that includes those countless strings broken by countless musicians every year.
Now string maker (and guitar maker) C.F. Martin & Co. has announced a partnership with D'Addario & Co. Inc., a maker of musical instrument accessories, to recycle all those broken strings.
The Playback program works with recycler TerraCycle to collect both metal and nylon strings. Metal strings are melted down into new alloys, while nylon strings are recycled through existing plastics recycling operations, the companies said in an Aug. 8 announcement.
Playback has more than 300 string recycling centers at music stories across the U.S., and musicians can also opt to collect 2 pounds worth of strings in whatever container they choose, then print out and label and mail them in.
"Together we hope to show how leading brands can work together as models of corporate responsibility and positive change," said Brian Vance, D'Addario director of product management in a news release.
So now, you can shred your favorite guitar responsibly.