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Sandy Journal

Real musicians recycle: Sandy music stores offer a recycle and restring event

Apr 29, 2019 10:18AM ● By Heather Lawrence

Austin Fairbourn of Wasatch Musician in Sandy restrings a customer’s guitar with new strings donated by D’Addario on April 13. The old strings will be recycled. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

Music stores in the Sandy area celebrated Earth Day by recycling guitar strings. Two that participated were Wasatch Musician and Riverton Music. New guitar strings donated by D’Addario were put on customers’ instruments and the old strings were turned in to get recycled. 

“This is our third time doing this. We donate our labor, and D’Addario donates the new strings and recycles the old ones. They usually do it every Earth Month,” said Austin Fairbourn, an employee of Wasatch Musician at 640 East Union Square. 

The event ran from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 13. Customers were greeted by a guitar technician and there was a box for old strings. “D’Addario uses a company called TerraCycle that accepts hard-to-recycle materials. I don’t know the recycling process, but there are a lot of different alloys in the strings. This keeps stuff out of the landfill and also gets people to try out their strings,” Fairbourn said. 

Events like this are a win all around because customers can get new strings while supporting their local music stores. “We do repairs, sales, we have jam nights. We’re just a mom and pop place, and this event helps get people in the store so they can get to know us,” said Fairbourn. 

Many customers liked the idea of an employee putting strings on. Cathy Cash is a local musician who came in for the event because she wanted her guitar to get a little TLC. 

“I’ve never seen anything like this before. I heard about it on Facebook and I’ve been in here a couple of times. I care about my guitar and I wanted to have it done right,” Cash said. 

Kevin Fairbourn of Wasatch Musician talks strings with local musician Cathy Cash. Cash came in to recycle her old strings and get a free set of new ones. (Heather Lawrence/City Journals)


Fairbourn said he has gotten a basic string change down to a science. “My fastest time is about three minutes. But today I’m also cleaning it and oiling the fingerboard. When you have the strings off it’s the best time to get in and clean out any dirt and finger oils,” said Fairbourn. 

Fairbourn also said Utah’s dry climate is harsh on guitars, and recommends making sure they get oiled regularly. 

Riverton Music employee Corbin Cox was in charge of restringing at their store at 9491 South 255 West. He agreed that guitars need to be cleaned and maintained. “I know this stuff. I’ve done it enough times that I’m pretty proficient. I’m a certified Taylor tech, so you’re getting a technician to look at it. There are some other things that I do like tightening the tuners,” Cox said.

The event, which is officially called Play Back, has been good for the stores. “We did the event last year. This gets people to bring in their guitars so we can take a look at them. We’re not the biggest guitar dealer but we know a lot. We can help find parts, check on your instrument. We have open mic nights. We just want to help people make music,” said Cox. 

Cox said he felt good recommending the donated D’Addario strings to customers. “I’ve been using D’Addario strings for a long time. They’re really consistent. I’ve never had a bum string. Sometimes you’ll have a string turn black which means it’s oxidized. I’ve never had that with them,” said Cox.