Seed to Song—Tom Bedell’s TEDx Talk

Two Old Hippies Stringed Instruments invites musicians to ask important questions and participate in saving the planet one guitar at a time.

Two Old Hippies Stringed Instruments—makers of Breedlove Guitars, Bedell Guitars and Weber Mandolins—is inviting players of all levels to participate in saving the planet one guitar at a time, by learning more about issues of sustainability, sourcing and global ecology.

On Nov. 22, 2019, Owner Tom Bedell delivered a TEDx Talk in Okoboji, Iowa, addressing the urgent need to examine existing operational methods and to educate and empower musicians to ask questions like “where did the wood in my guitar come from?”

Bedell Guitars, Weber Mandolins and Made in Bend Breedlove Guitars use no clear-cut woods, and have carefully tracked provenance, from respected suppliers, with a clear chain of custody. In many models, wood billets can be traced back to exactly where a tree was singly culled or salvaged.

In January, Breedlove introduced the Organic Collection, four series of all solid wood import instruments with transparent chains of custody, built from materials individually harvested in the Swiss Alps, the Republic of Congo and along the Oregon coast.

As noted in his TEDx Talk, Bedell personally visited locations in Europe and Africa to ensure compliance from mills and to observe relationships between the forest, the wildlife and the indigenous communities. In Madagascar, he discovered deep, sanctioned abuses affecting both the region’s ecosphere—the most diverse on earth—and the population. As a result, he refused to use a rosewood supply that would have retailed for half a million dollars.

“I thought,” he said to the Okoboji audience, “if I could set an example that others would follow, I could make a difference.”

Breedlove is currently aiming for all of its Designed in Bend models to be renewable, compliant and traceable—a daunting project, but Bedell, who has traveled to 15 countries to learn and share the message of sustainable practices, is primed for the task.

“We’re asking ourselves the same questions we want to hear from our friends,” Bedell says. “And this goes deeper than guitars. We should be concerned about everything we use. It will take time to fix what’s broken, but we don’t have any other choice. All of us need to ask questions about where the products we purchase come from, and whether, through our habits and desires, we are helping the planet or harming it.”

“We are rapidly consuming the resources here on planet Earth, and if we don’t change our behavior we’re not going to leave a livable world for our grandchildren.”

A Note from Tom Bedell:
We hope you will help us in voicing a need for forest sustainability.
We each make a difference, as consumers, with our buying decisions.
If my message in this TEDx talk moved, inspired, or motivated you – please help by sharing this message with others in your community!


Tom Bedell