Travelling Light #1: Blackbird Guitars Rider
The image opposite is the Blackbird Guitars ‘Ferrari-branded’ version of their Rider Travel Guitar.
Now, if you’re like me, you’ll may be scoffing cynically on reading that. “Pffhh!” you’ll say, “a Ferarri guitar? And it’s made from carbon-fibre. Pffhh, pffhh and, thrice, pffhh.”
However, there are a couple of things to consider. The Ferarri thing isn’t just a cynical cash-in, tenuous thread of an excuse to sell more guitars. Blackbird’s founder and designer, Joe Luttwak actually worked for Ferarri in Maranello. He tells us, “many ideas for Blackbird Guitar’s models were inspired by my time at Ferrari and it’s wonderful to make a model that honours their unparalleled technology, ingenuity and success.”
OK, that last bit has probably been massaged somewhat by a marketing goblin but lets put the Ferrari thing to one side and just consider Blackbird’s guitar.
This is essentially the same as their standard Rider model. Designed to be a light, travel guitar, the Rider is a 2/3 size acoustic. It’s made from carbon fibre and has a ‘uni-body’ construction the body and the (hollow) neck are all one piece. It only weighs 2.75 lbs and has a full 24.5″ scale length. You can even get it with an installed Fishman Matrix Infinity system if you want.
Carbon fibre has the benefits of making for a strong, durable instrument that’s pretty much indestructible (at least compared to other guitars). Carbon fibre also has the effect of making the guitar traditionalists make that ‘pffhh’ noise we mentioned earlier.
However, Blackbird claim full, balanced tone from their instruments. To get an idea of how this sounds, have a look/listen to the following video. You’ll also see Joe talking about his inspirations for the instrument.
Blackbird make the Rider in both steel and nylon string, standard, versions as well as the Ferrari version pictured (the first run of the Ferrari version is sold out by the way). They also do a larger, Super OM model. The regular steel string Rider costs $1599 (plus shipping) from Blackbird’s site.
The Rider’s dimensions are 35 1/2″ x 10 1/2″ x 4 1/4″ and it weighs 2.75 lbs.
Head off to Blackbird to learn more.