(Credit: Chris Duncan)
Meet the Alpaca: a rugged, carbon-fibre guitar designed to take a beating.
Guitars aren't made of glass, but they're not really designed to stand up to a rugged lifestyle, either. Changes in temperature, humidity, knocks and bumps — all can cause your instrument to go out of whack. And you certainly don't want to be rock climbing or four-wheel driving with one.
Unless, of course, that guitar is an Alpaca. Designed by Chris Duncan to withstand a more adventurous owner than a traditional acoustic, it sort of looks like a cubist got a hold of the blueprints.
It has a body, six strings and properly placed frets, but the rest of the design is a bit all over the place. The tuning knobs have been moved to the bottom of the guitar's body, since the head is usually quite fragile, while the sound hole has been moved out from under the strings so as to make the cavity inside more accessible, making the inside of the guitar more drainable if you get it wet and a useable space for carrying items.
On the back, daisy chain loops allow you to secure the Alpaca to your hiking pack, and the guitar itself is made of a sturdy blend of carbon fibre, fibreglass and resin compound to be both impact (to a degree) and weather proof.
It doesn't sound terrible, either. The Kickstarter page has some sound samples. It's a little out of tune, and sounds a bit thinner than a wooden acoustic, which is to be expected, given the placement of the sound hole, but it certainly does the job.
We don't know that we'd be dunking it in water like the guy in the video below, though. Strings can still rust.
You can reserve your Alpaca on Kickstarter for a starting price of US$390, which is 30 per cent off the final retail price. Check it out here.