The first time I played a Blackbird guitar was at a guitar show when they only had one guitar to launch – their original, oddly-shaped but fun to play carbon fibre guitar, the Rider. The company has been around since 2005 and is based in San Francisco, California. Blackbird has expanded their line of instruments to include five different guitar designs and two ukuleles.
The El Capitan guitar piqued my interest recently and, in the shape of a mini jumbo, it is the largest instrument in their lineup. Although the instrument appears to be made of an exotic wood it is actually comprised of’Ekoa’ a composite created from natural linen fibres. Ekoa looks and sounds amazing and the guitar has a hollow neck like other Blackbird guitars and unibody construction that is said to increase the resonance.
Electronics are optional on this guitar but if chosen they use an Mi-Si rechargeable pickup system with volume and tone controls hidden from you. The company states that the Ekoa composite gives the El Capitan a vintage sound and vibe and that the tone rivals wood.
I’m a fan of composite and uniquely crafted instruments mainly for two reasons the first being that the world only has so much sustainable tone wood to build guitars from and secondly I like the fact that composite instruments are impervious to heat, cold and too much humidity.
The only downside I see is that a composite instrument like the Blackbird will only sound as good in the future as it does now since the material will not age in like a wooden guitar. That said, the Blackbird El Capitan looks and sounds great and this company is constantly innovating the direction of guitars.