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 Hemp
has a million and one uses from clothing to concrete, and now Canadian Hemp
Guitar (CHG) owners Boyd Pellow and Stewart Burrows are bringing the complex
genius of the material straight t

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Hemp
has a million and one uses from clothing to concrete, and now Canadian Hemp
Guitar (CHG) owners Boyd Pellow and Stewart Burrows are bringing the complex
genius of the material straight to musicians’ finger tips. With their own
luthiers creating amazing guitar designs and a lot of ingenuity and innovation,
Boyd and Stewart have taken the world’s most functional plant and turned it
into one of the world’s most rockin’ machines: The cannabis guitar.

Just a few
years ago, CHG was established to create a sustainable small production
facility that would hand make high quality hemp instruments for the working
musician. Boyd Pellow is the head luthier for the company and has experience
building, repairing and designing acoustic and electric guitars for over 20
years. Back in 2012, Boyd joined forces with his long-time friend and musician
Stewart Burrows to create the company, Canadian Hemp Guitars. Stewart is an
award-winning singer songwriter, guitarist and a harp player, and is an
advocate for the use of hemp products along with running the business side of CHG.

The
process starts with industrial hemp that is locally grown in Canada. After
harvesting the material, is shipped to Illinois where the bast is separated
from the hull and then pressed into sheet boards for manufacturing. These sheet
boards are then shipped up to Canadian Hemp Guitars shop in Hemmingford, Quebec,
where they are cut to size and hand made into hollow body guitars.

With 20
years of experience in crafting and repairing musical instruments, Boyd wanted
to find a different material than the standard tone woods to make guitars out
of.

Using a
material like hemp started as more of a research endeavor for Boyd, but quickly
became the versatile material he had been looking for.At first, I was looking for alternatives to wood, simply because
of the waste in production,” he said. “Somebody had mentioned that I should
look into hemp and that was really my first exposure to what is possible with
hemp. I contacted a research and development company in Ontario and went up to
see them and they showed me what was possible with some of their pressed
materials. So I got a couple sample pieces from them and started working on my
kitchen stove at home, heating things up and pressing them just to see how the
process works. I gradually moved on, I had an old book press that I transformed
into a proper heat press, it worked out beautifully and I am still using the
whole thing now.”

Canadian
Hemp Guitars currently has one guitar shape that is reminiscent of vintage
masonite guitars like Danelectro and that model be configured with different
components such as a P-90 or a set of Humbucker pickups. The bridge has the
option of a tune-o-matic style that is used on Les Pauls or a Bigsby style
tremolo and one of the most interesting parts of the build process is the fact
that Boyd uses what’s known as a Zero-Fret neck. This technique is not common
in modern day production but adds a great deal of sound to every note played
and has been resurrected by luthiers who replicate vintage guitars. Each guitar
is also available with a custom paint job with names like Purple Haze, Acapulco
Gold and Panama Red or it can be clear coated for more of a natural look.

As a
material, hemp and wood don’t seem that similar, but Boyd experimented enough
with the material to know that it could be substituted for wood in some cases. “Once
we’ve compressed this stuff into a high density fiber board, all the specs are
very, very close to that of tone wood,” Boyd explains. “In some categories they
exceed, in some they are the same and in some its slightly less.” This
allows CHG to produce an extremely sustainable and affordable musical
instrument without having to engage in deforestation and elaborate milling
processes.

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With
more and more American states moving towards legalizing the production of
industrial, recreational and medicinal cannabis we are going to be seeing more
and more sustainable processes, inventions and cool new products like the
Candian Hemp Guitars coming out each year. Available online and at select
retailers in the U.S. and Canada, Boyd and Stewart are working hard to get each
customer exactly the guitar that they have in their head into their hands. Rock
‘n’ roll has never been this sustainable.

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