Quick notes: 1) I own this instrument, so if you have trade ideas, let me know. 2) I’ve done it all up and it’s ready to go! 3) Please read the following text for full details and specs — it’s borrowed from my original blog post on it…
Blackbird instruments are best-known, I think, for their “Rider” carbon fiber travel guitars and ukuleles. Their “second generation” instruments like this guy are made from ekoa instead — a curious carbon fiber-like material made from linen and plant-derived resin. Not only does this work like carbon fiber, but it also looks better than carbon fiber, because at a glance this guitar looks like it’s been molded from mahogany or brownish flamed koa. It looks great. How many carbon fiber guitars can claim that?
The previous owner of this instrument traded it to me and it did need a little sprucing-up to play its best… but after that was done, I was quite impressed with the design. It’s small and compact — like a parlor/0-size instrument — and has a 12-fret body joint. There’s a deeply-sculpted cutaway around the heel, however, that means for melody-playing above the 12th fret you have frets free right to the 16th and a shape under there that does not encumber the hand.
Tonewise I really do like it — it does sound Ovation-y or carbon fiber-y, but less-so than either of those options. It’s got a big, full, wide sound for its size and I expect this kind of voice really out of a 000-sized guitar. Fingerpicked or played with a quality, heavy-duty flatpick like a thick Blue Chip pick, it sounds remarkably “normal flattop” to me. With a thinner or medium-weight flatpick, however, you can hear a bit of the “glassiness” that these rounded, molded designs tend to have. It’s not a bad sound — it’s just a different sound.
Playability-wise, it’s comfy and fast. It does have a wider 1 3/4″ nut width and a neck that thickens from “mild” to “medium” as you get closer to the body, so it seems especially geared towards fingerpickers to me. I like this guitar enough that I would probably keep it for traveling use if the nut were narrower. I really like 1 5/8″ nuts these days and so 1 3/4″ is a bit much for me unless I’m fingerpicking in open tunings — though 1 3/4″ is ideal for other players!
Advantage-wise, this material does not “shift” as much as a normal wood (or even a plywood) guitar with the weather. After tuning it up post-setup, I haven’t touched it since and it’s remained in tune. Good stuff!
It also has upgraded Gotoh tuners vs. the base-model Savoy’s specs.
Repairs included: a heavy-handed fret level/dress to iron-out a slightly-ski-jumped fretboard extension. All is good now and it plays spot-on and quick. Plussss a setup…
Top wood: ekoa
Back & sides wood: ekoa
Bracing type: hybird x/curvy stuff
Neck wood: ekoa
Action height at 12th fret: 3/32” bass 1/16” treble (fast, spot-on)
String gauges: 52w-12
Neck shape: slim-to-medium C
Board radius: ~12″
Truss rod: adjustable
Neck relief: straight
Fret style: medium
Scale length: 24 1/2″
Nut width: 1 3/4″
Body width: 13 1/2″
Body depth: 4″
Weight: 4 lbs 2 oz
Condition notes: it’s very clean with the exception of a few minor scritchy-scratchy marks here and there. The one eyesore is a small bump/finish crunch below the bridge on the top. It’s structurally stable but the bump’s mark is still there.
It comes with: a nice gigbag.