The Six String Nation Guitar Project was conceived by Jowi Taylor as a response to the Quebec Referendum of 1995; his goal was to bring together “the many voices and perspectives that together define the spectrum of Canadian identity and experience”. After a few years of research, Taylor set about collecting most of the materials for the guitar over a two year period starting in 2004. At first the collection process was slow, but a few high profile donations, including a piece of Pierre Trudeau’s canoe paddle donated by Justin Trudeau really got the ball rolling.
The guitar was built in the Spring of 2006 by luthier George Rizsanyi from 63 pieces of wood, bone and metal collected from historic and cultural artifacts representing all 13 provinces and territories. It was presented at the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill on July 1, 2006 where it was played by Canadian folk icon Stephen Fearing – eleven years after the idea was first conceived.
A sample of the materials used:
- Top: 300 year-old Albino Sitka Spruce that was killed by a vandal.
- Back and sides: Oak from the beams of the St. Boniface Museum in Winnipeg.
- Neck includes materials from the Bluenose and a Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
- Frets made from steel that was milled on Cape Breton Island.
- Ornamentation includes pieces of seats from Massey Hall and the Montreal Forum, gold from Rocket Richard’s 1956 Stanley Cup ring, and some wood from a deHavilland aircraft.
- Bracing includes wood from Pierre Elliot Trudeau’s paddle, a shelf in Sir John A. MacDonald’s office, and Nancy Greene’s skiis.
Jowi Taylor recently presented the guitar at our local high school and a couple of students were lucky enough to play the instrument.
SixStringNationTV (Youtube): http://www.youtube.com/user/SixStringNationTV
Edit (3/1/2011): I was given a copy of the book for Christmas – review to follow…