The Sustainable Guitar Made From Linen And Industrial Waste

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The Sustainable Guitar Made From Linen And Industrial Waste


Wood guitars sound great, but are hard to maintain and the sound can change if it gets too hot, cold, humid, dry, or, seemingly, if there’s any environmental change at all. Carbon fibre is often used to avoid these problems, but it lacks the aesthetic value of wood.


Enter El Capitan, the new guitar made by Joe Luttwak’s company, Blackbird. It is made of a material called Ekoa, which is a composite between flax linen and bio-resin made from industrial waste. They claim that its lighter than carbon fibre and stiffer than Sitka spruce.

In 2005, Luttwak released his first guitar, a carbon fibre acoustic which people loved, but wanted to look more like wood. However, Luttwak resisted at first.


“That’s product design 101: You don’t want to make something look fake because then it is fake,” he says.


It was this demand for a guitar that looks like its made of wood that led Blackbird to create Ekoa, and now, their first guitar featuring it has been released. By reusing industrial waste in their materials they avoid using wood from real trees, so buying this guitar becomes a sustainable option for the environmentally-conscious acoustic guitarist.


Avoiding wood also has an effect on the tonal properties of the guitar, and it sounds bigger than it actually is. As it is so much lighter, the strings need to vibrate a lot less to get the same volume as on a heavier guitar, resulting in notes that are dynamic and loud.


At US$3000 this isn’t a guitar that you’d go out and buy just because its environmentally sustainable, but if you’re in the market for a new acoustic and are looking around this price range, it might be worth a look.



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