The world’s first cork electric guitar was developed in Viana do Castelo by designer João Rodrigues. The main material used to manufacture this guitar is expanded cork, which is usually used as a coating and thermal insulation in buildings. The remaining 25% of this unique guitar is reclaimed wood used for the shoulder and middle of the body. It makes the instrument lighter and greener.
“When I started the project, I searched the entire internet and couldn’t find anywhere in the world that anyone had built a cork guitar. There was one in Portugal, but it was natural cork,” says Jose Rodrigues. It took two years to build the guitar. It was created as part of the master’s thesis. The artist spent the first year on academic research and the next designing and manufacturing an instrument whose mass is 75% expanded cork. The project started in 2019 with a brand launched by Joao Rodrigues and his colleague. The company Mai’Land Guitars already offers such a guitar for 1000 euros and several cases made of expanded cork.
Mai’Land Guitars guitar was officially presented by Alto Minho on November 12, 2019 at a concert at the Viana do Castelo Cultural Center as part of the program of the 8th National Meeting of Design Students (ENED) to be held in the capital this year , with the theme “Design, Industry and Crafts”.
All products created by João have a stylish design, minimal finish, strong Portuguese trait and use cork. Currently the designer/musician is already developing a new guitar while improving the craftsmanship of this beautiful first model. Another novelty in 2020 was the instrument case made of natural cork sheets (90%) and wood, giving a solid and light structure. All wood used for the guitar or case is recycled.