“You send us your used strings, and we get them to people who can and will use them.”
Darryl Purpose and activist Kevin Deame founded The Second Strings Project (SSP) – a cooperative effort to provide strings to musicians of third world and developing countries who cannot afford to purchase strings or do not have access to strings. This campaign has helpd keep musical creativity alive in countries that might otherwise die.
Darryl and Kevin first met on the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament, a cross-country trek in the late eighties. The walk would continue one year later in the former Soviet Union. “I had taken three guitars for the band to use while there,” explained Purpose. “After I saw what some of the folks there were playing on, I felt compelled to leave those guitars there in the hands of people that not only could play them better than I could, but had played their entire lives on instruments that we would consider fit for beginners. Their passion for the music transcended the instruments they played on. It was a remarkable thing to see, how these instruments left there made a huge difference in these peoples’ lives.”
Later, visiting with the campesinos in the hills above El Salvador, Purpose saw how they made a guitar work against all odds – using a pencil as the nut of their acoustic guitar, with carefully carved notches in the pencil for the strings to pass over. “It seems that people will do whatever they have to in order to have music in their lives.”
It’s in that spirit that Darryl and Kevin are asking for help to make it a little easier for some of these musicians. Since many touring artists use a set of guitar strings for a few gigs, and then change them and throw them away, SSP collects piles of these discarded strings and gets them in the right hands. Kevin makes many humanitarian trips, mostly to Latin America (Mexico, Ecuador, Honduras, Guatemala) but also to Russia, Latvia and Mali. Along with medical supplies, he brings strings to musicians who treat them like gold.
Since 1999, SSP has delivered over 20,000 sets of used guitar strings to those who can use them. Taylor Guitars’ repair department deserves major kudos for sending thousands of strings, as they support Darryl as a Taylor Guitars Artist. Festivals and other gatherings serve as an excellent time to gather strings and send them to SSP in bulk.
Check out photos of Kevin’s most recent trip to Thailand on the Facebook SSP page (and “Like” it)!
Help keep the musical culture alive, world-round!
Let us know if you know a deserving someone who can use some strings.
Save and send us your strings (please send mostly full sets, original packaging if possible, and no rusties please!):
Second Strings Project
P.O. Box 234, Nederland, CO 80466-0234
Questions? Email us