Most acoustic guitars are made out of wood. When you picture that guy with the ponytail sitting on a stool playing guitar in a coffee shop, there’s a wooden instrument in that mental image. The rainforest lumber used in most guitars creates a beautiful tone and an equally appealing aesthetic. But owing to the fact that they are made from natural materials, they are also susceptible to natural conditions. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can change a guitar’s sound.
With its new El Capitan model, Blackbird Guitars has figured out a way to build a guitar that has all the aural and aesthetic value of wood in a more consistent synthetic package. The El Capitan is made with Blackbird’s proprietary Ekoa material, which is a mix of linen and a resin repurposed from industrial waste.
The San Francisco-based Blackbird had previously made guitars out of carbon fiber, which could stand up to the rigors of touring life on the road or just lazy guitar players that didn’t want to fuss over their instruments. Ekoa was developed in response to customers who loved the reliability and resilience of the carbon fiber models, but couldn’t get past the fact that it was, well, not wood. It took Blackbird approximately 10 years to get the linen material where it needed to be to make a guitar out of it.
The El Capitan also has a hollow neck, which provides more room for sound to resonate, allowing for an acoustic guitar that can crank it up to 11.
Even though it is made with synthetic materials, the guitars are largely made by hand and have a corresponding price tag. The El Capitan starts at $3,195, but since it’s built to endure time and the elements, it might just be the last guitar you ever buy.