Get In On The Ground Floor

Miss Mussel is always keeping an eye out for the next great investment opportunity and while she considers herself an excellent choice, she does recognize that some people prefer tangible assets. You know, something with a proven rate of return.

Now that the real estate market is a no go, Miss Mussel is pleased to reveal the next big thing:

Wood
–specifically the wood used to make musical instruments.

  • pernambucco
  • ebony
  • spruce
  • rosewood
  • mahogany
  • African Blackwood (oboes and clarinets)

According to a report in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer,

“the best tone woods are becoming unavailable or prohibitively expensive as the world’s forests succumb to overharvesting, illegal logging and pollution. The instrument business will adapt with other woods or synthetics and survive, experts say. But as fine woods for clarinets, guitars and violin bows dwindle, price increases could make high-quality instruments unaffordable for many musicians.

Retail prices for a Martin D-28 acoustic guitar with Brazilian rosewood were $600 to $800 in 1970. Now they’re $10,000 to $12,000, says Jim Baggett, a longtime instrument dealer in Lawrence, Kan.

Wood scarcity is the biggest factor.

With the depletion of South America’s coastal forests, Brazilian rosewood has become endangered, and shipment of the wood between countries is restricted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

It should be noted, however, that this sort of investment is not for flippers, which is just as well, because you’re probably all bankrupt now anyway. It can take 300 to 600 years to grow a spruce tree large enough to produce the fine grain wood necessary to produce superior tone wood.

If you don’t want to wait that long, you can always buy a piece of existing forest, although most of those initiatives seem to be concerned with saving the trees rather than putting them to good use. Funny, that.

Those that prefer to take matters into their own hands may prefer to start with a greenhouse and some saplings and specialize in professional quality 1/16th and 1/8th violins for the discerning preschooler. It is, after all, all about niche markets these days.

3 comments

  1. Pingback: Music » Get In On The Ground Floor

  2. Ben

    You know… this is a rather good idea. Just the other day I saw a TV program in which a company recovered old wooden beams (e.g., from Boston harbor), reprocessed them, and then sold them for something like ten times as much as the same wood, new.

    Anyway, if you don’t want to rip up your garden and turn it into a forest, this site: http://tropicalhardwoods.com/ looks interesting:

    “Whether as an investment, for your retirement or for future college costs, transferring wealth to your children or grandchildren, or producing your own tropical hardwoods for your woodworking or business, we would love to grow precious tropical hardwood trees for you”

    Actually… this is sort of tempting… wanna set up a tree-based mutual fund?

  3. Miss Mussel
    Author

    A tree-based mutual fund for the express purpose of growing quality wood for instruments…..you’re right…this really could work.

    It would likely be quite easy to market. Who would rather invest in commodities when they could make sure musicians have instruments in perpetuity? It’s enough of a noble cause to get loads of people on board and appeals to the right market sector. i.e people with money to spare.

    So, how does this mutual fund thing work? At $4000/hundred trees, we’ll need to get a few people on board.

    Thoughts?
    hello@theomniscientmussel.com

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