Blackbird's El Capitan guitar is made from linen and industrial waste but looks and sounds like wood

Besides its susceptibility to temperature and climate change, wood also raises ecological concerns in guitar making - carbon fibre is proving an increasingly popular substitute, but it doesn't really look like wood... until now: enter Blackbird Guitars and its El Capitan acoustic.

The El Capitan is crafted with Ekoa, the company's own composite of flax linen and bio-resin made from industrial waste - apparently, it's lighter than carbon fibre and stiffer than Sitka spruce.

Ekoa is designed to emulate old wood for a warmer sound, and was developed as a response to Blackbird customers' demands for a carbon fibre guitar that looks more like wood.

With a hollow neck acting like an additional sound chamber, Blackbird reckons an Ekoa guitar is 30 per cent lighter than your average acoustic while being more durable, and that light weight means the soundboard vibrates more freely, too.

More than 100 pieces of Ekoa are are cured under high heat and pressure to create each guitar, before the body is bonded to the soundboard, according to Wired.

That hands-on process means the El Capitan costs $3,195 from Blackbird Guitars - price-wise, it's in line with most carbon fibre acoustics, but the Capitan's more natural appearance might just give it the edge in the environmentally friendly guitar stakes.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.