Blackbird launches plant fiber-based composite musical instrument

Musical instrument manufacturer Blackbird has developed the composite, concert-quality Clara ukulele, made with Ekoa, a renewable, plant-based fiber.

Musical instrument manufacturer Blackbird (San Francisco, Calif., USA) announced on Nov. 19 the launch of the Clara ukulele, a musical instrument with the tone of vintage wood and the durability of composites combined with eco­-friendly fabrication. Made from Ekoa —­ a proprietary, renewable material — the Clara is said to be a game-­changing instrument, delivering unmatched sustainability and performance.

"Blackbird has spent the better part of a decade developing small, travel­-friendly, carbon  fiber instruments with world class tone," says Joe Luttwak, Blackbird's chief musical officer. "With the Clara, musicians get what was previously unobtainable ­­— the experience of a vintage old­-growth wood instrument in a light-weight, durable and sustainable package."

Clara is is engineered to generate the acoustic quality of a much larger instrument. From its patented hollow-­neck design to its high-­tech eco ­fabric and resin construction, the Clara is said to be meticulously crafted by skilled artisans at Blackbird's San Francisco workshop.

Founded in 2005, Blackbird has built a loyal global following crafting uncommonly resonant and resilient carbon­ fiber acoustic guitars and ukuleles. Designed for the most demanding musicians, these performance-­grade, travel­-ready instruments have weathered everything from packed concert halls to the brutal Antarctic winter. Building on this success, Blackbird dedicated several years of research and development to incorporating resonant eco­materials into advanced composite construction. The result of this effort is Ekoa ­­— a unique, plant­based 'tone' material developed in San Francisco. Sustainable and renewable, lighter than carbon fiber, and extraordinarily strong, Ekoa combines the tone of vintage wood with superior responsiveness, stability and strength.

The Clara concert ukulele starts at $1,150. The inital limited production of 50 include a premium reinforced soft case.