I have learned about a dozen of alternate materials to use instead of wood in guitar making. How about to build a Fender Strat using cardboard paper? Doesn’t it sound like the sickest idea ever?

Well, maybe not.

Dave Lee, co-founder of the Signal Snowboard, a company pioneering cardboard in surfing and snowboarding got the idea to use it for guitar making. He started his research with Ernest Packaging, expert of cardboard and also involved Fender Custom Shop. Talking about the shape it’s not a big deal to make the cardboard look like a Strat. The real challenge was to build it to feel and sound like a Strat.

Cardboard Chaos - the "see-through" structure

Cardboard Chaos – the “see-through” structure

They layered interlacing cardboard stripes to késő them together than glued the parallel layers to create a rigid yet “see-through” structure.  The neck joint should hold the 250 lb. torque of string tension. They keep the trade secrets, but I guess they should have used some epoxy on several spots to reinforce and make them solid (especially at the anchor points: neck bolts, bridge, truss rod, tuning machines, strap buttons).

Paul Waller, master builder at the Fender Custom Shop took the challenge to convert the cardboard structure into a Strat. The building workflow looked similar to the wooden guitars, sawing, routing, sanding. although this time he can skip the finishing. He used standard Strat parts for pickup, hardware and electronics.

And the result? The Ernest “Cardboard Chaos” Strat that sound like a… Strat!

An incredibly crazy, cool looking, cell-structured Strat. Check it!

It’s a very creative idea and sounds surprisingly well. Tough I have doubts about the long term stability and durability against dynamic mechanical and climate stress, especially to keep the tuning.

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