DETROIT – Wallace Detroit Guitars’ new series of handcrafted guitars allow players to tap into an old wood tone in an eco-friendly way. Made from the pine and maple floorboards of Detroit’s former fire department headquarters, the Firehouse series is meant to preserve history.
Wallace was able to build 12 guitars from the salvaged wood – ten of its flagship single-cutaway guitars and two with a new offset body shape.
“Our goal with these guitars is to preserve the history of the city we love while honoring its tradition of superior craftsmanship,” says Wallace Detroit Guitars owner Mark Wallace, whose company specializes in building guitars from the wood of local landmarks.
For Wallace, these instruments mirror the revitalization of his beloved city, which is welcoming new ideas and creativity while continuing to draw from its rich past. “I’m trying to take something that was once great but has been and cast aside and transforming it into something new and vital,” he says.
A landmark of fire safety in Detroit, Wallace heard about the cache of historic wood through his relationship with the Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit, a non-profit organization that helps in the deconstruction of historic buildings in the city. “They care about the city just us as much as we do, so we’re always happy to support them in their efforts, which include providing jobs and training to locals as well as protecting historical resources,” says Wallace.
The first two of the Firehouse guitars were built from pine and feature a new offset body shape.
“Pine is a lighter, softer wood with more air inside of it as compared to common guitar lumbers like ash or poplar,” says Wallace. “That allows it to resonate a bit more for a nice prolonged tone.”
Wallace was also able to salvage enough maple from the firehouse to build an edition of ten single-cutaway guitars, the company’s signature body shape. Each wood is hand-finished with hand-rubbed oil that preserves the wood’s natural look and protects it. The vintage maple lends the guitar a clear, bright attack with high musical sustain, says the company.
“The resins inside an older wood will have crystallized more and therefore be more stable, so these guitar will have a nice mature tone,” says Wallace.
All of the company’s guitars feature a neck built from maple sourced from Michigan forests and include a hand-cut bone nut. The pickups are hand scatter-wound in-house for a classic vintage sound. Each guitar will be engraved with a specially assigned serial number beginning with the numbers 313 for the area code of Detroit, followed by DFD for the Detroit Fire Department—also notably emblazoned above the building’s pedestrian doors—and finally an edition number.
The Firehouse Series guitars start at $2,800.
Source: Wallace Detroit Guitars