Left to nature, magnificent Sitka trees can live to be over 800 years old and can reach over 300 feet in height. Sitka is the largest and longest-lived spruce, its slow growth and resulting tight growth-ring character creates beautiful acoustic sound. Clear-cutting the old growth Sitka forests is threatening their existence. New-growth trees grow much faster with wider growth rings and typically produce lower density wood. At Bedell, no tonewood from clear-cut forests is ever utilized. All of the Sitka spruce used in Bedell Guitars is salvaged from blown-down, fallen, or dead Sitka logs in partnership with Alaska Specialty Woods.
On average, the Sitka spruce trees that provided the soundboards for the Earthsong and 1964 series guitars lived to be at least 400 years old. It all began when a tiny little Sitka spruce seed sprouted in the diverse, wild, untouched forest of southeast Alaska, around the time the first British colonists were arriving on the opposite coast of North America. During this time, in the 1600s, southeast Alaska was home to several fierce and resourceful indigenous tribes, including the Haida and the Tlingit, and the territory wouldn’t be claimed by the United States for nearly 300 years. The spruce tree reached the 200-foot mark by the 1860s, when the United States bought Alaska from Russia for 7.2 million dollars. Then one day in the early 21st century, the mighty spruce tree met its demise, most likely during a storm. Unprotected, it could no longer resist the elements, and its life came to an end. After it fell, Brent Cole rescued it and kept it from returning to the soil.