Gear talk for the GAS-afflicted.

**NAMM 2015** Blackbird Guitars – Amazing Natural Composite Acoustic, the El Capitan

**NAMM 2015** Blackbird Guitars – Amazing Natural Composite Acoustic, the El Capitan

Jan 22, 2015

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Yep. That’s me, smiling like a dork. If you know me, you’ll know that I’m generally not that interested in acoustic guitars – but this offering from Blackbird Guitars out of San Francisco is pretty damn special.

El Capitan

So, Blackbird have been making carbon fibre composite guitars for a few years now. I remember seeing them in magazines and online and thinking that they were pretty cool, but seeing as we guitar players are such Luddites, that the guitar playing public would be slow to embrace such a radical shift in materials and construction. Here’s where the new El Capitan acoustic comes in.

I can guess what you’re thinking – a ha, so these guys finally gave up on composite acoustics and made one with traditional wood!

You could not be more wrong. Don’t worry about it though, El Cap is a tricky bastard who fools everybody.

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That beautiful figured top? No, it’s not koa. It’s Ekoa.

I’m not even joking. That’s the name that Blackbird have given their proprietary, linen fibre-based composite material. And it is gorgeous.

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In line with its high tech origins, the El Capitan is a unibody acoustic – prepregnated composite sheets + mould + vacuum + heat = awesome. If my tech mumbo jumbo meant nothing to you, this simply means that the body, neck and headstock are all formed from a continuous laminate sheet, so there’s no neck joint to glue in or anything like that. In fact, the neck is actually hollow underneath the fretboard!! I attempted to capture that below:

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So we have a composite guitar that looks kinda looks like a traditional acoustic – but does it sound like one? It was a little hard to hear over the din of the press crowd jostling for space and attention from vendors, but in my short time playing it, I did think that it reacted like a good acoustic should, and sounded very authentic. I’ll be stopping by later in the week to give it more of a go – and when I’m in San Fran next week I hope to be able to schedule a visit to their workshops and perhaps give you guys an insider’s view into the cutting edge of acoustic guitar construction!

I’m going to give this a preliminary 5.0 F*ck Yeahs. This may be the one acoustic that both the guitar geek and engineer in me would LOVE to own.

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