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Traditionally, most acoustic guitars are made from wood.
These days, you can find luthiers pushing the limits and experimenting with a variety of materials – concrete, epoxy resin, copper pipe, and more.
But compared to these, carbon fiber is a little more commonplace, and a little less outside the box. That said, it’s still not to the point where every guitar brand has their own carbon fiber models.
So, is carbon fiber just a fad? Or are there advantages that make these guitars worthwhile?
You may already know the answer to those questions, but in the sections that follow, we will be looking at the best carbon fiber guitars and answer your top questions concerning them.
Table of Contents
Deluxe KLOS Black Carbon Fiber Full Size Acoustic Guitar Kit
The Deluxe KLOS Hybrid series full size acoustic guitar kit comes with a gig bag, strap, capo, and other great accessories to have on hand for adjustments. Given its premium price tag, it’s nice to see these inclusions.
The guitar itself has a conventional dreadnought body style, and so what stands out most is its black exterior against the brown bridge and mahogany neck with a Brazilian cherry fretboard.
The body is lightweight while resistant to humidity, temperature changes, as well as damage (as is the case with carbon fiber in general). The hybrid fingerboard is made of wood and is reinforced with a carbon fiber stiffening rod to offer both playability and longevity.
One of the great things about KLOS guitars is that their necks are detachable and foldable, so they take up less space and make for great travel guitars.
The Deluxe model features D’Addario EXP26 strings, Graph Tech Ratio tuners, black TUSQ nut and saddle, as well as a Fishman Sonitone pickup, making this a versatile guitar for practice and performance.
As for the guitar’s tone? What can I say? It sounds great! It offers both warmth and punch, a nicely balanced, round tone all told. Very clear, great definition.
Buyers thought it was a beautiful guitar, comfortable and easy to play, with a great tone.
Some had issues with the size of the guitar as well as the neck and string spacing and didn’t like the axe’s tone either. As we’ll explore later, though, carbon fiber guitars do feature a distinctly different tone compared to wooden guitars.
Item weight: 8.03 lbs.
Package dimensions: 23.78 x 17.95 x 5.91 inches
Journey Instruments 0F660 Carbon Fiber Travel Guitar
Wait a second… Is this thing broken? No, it’s the Journey Instruments 0F660 carbon fiber travel guitar (compare price Sweetwater, Amazon)! And yes, it does come with a collapsible design, as advertised.
In case black gloss doesn’t suit your style, this axe also comes in matte black, matte red, matte navy blue, black (standard), purple, red, and dark black gloss.
The 0F660 carbon fiber guitar comes with a unidirectional carbon fiber soundboard with proprietary carbon fiber bracing, mid-position offset sound hole (allegedly for increased resonance), a collapsible neck system, and a fiberglass reinforced carbon fiber sides and back. It also comes with a TSA compliant carry bag.
Again, as with the KLOS, this guitar’s tone is surprising. Punchy, bright, warm, and smooth. And it seems to respond incredibly well to fingerpicking, but it isn’t half bad for strumming either.
Customers said they found this axe great sounding, durable, and great looking.
There were those who liked the KLOS guitar better though.
Item weight: 4.1 lbs.
Package dimensions: 35.5 x 12.5 x 4.64 inches
LAVA ME Pro Carbon Fiber Guitar With Effects
LAVA’s ME PRO carbon fiber guitar is on the cutting-edge of innovation in carbon fiber guitars, and if you’re looking for an axe that’s the meeting place of technology and art, this one should not be ignored.
Designed with stage performance in mind, the full-size guitar features a built-in L2 PRO preamp system (developed alongside L.R. Baggs), along with effects like tap-tempo delay, reverb, chorus, and a Turbo mode for a 50% volume boost (great for soloing).
The curved back is reminiscent of Ovation guitars. Which means you’re probably either going to “love it” or “hate it,” but given that it’s a stage guitar, and you would generally be using it with a strap, this design choice doesn’t seem outlandish.
It has a surprisingly nice tone unplugged. Very balanced, no boom, clear and warm. The effects are also quite usable and fun, especially since it doesn’t require the use of a separate amplifier.
The plugged-in sound offers more twang, making it great for leads and soloing.
Reviewers said this guitar is an experience. It looks sharp, feels sturdy, and has a great sound overall.
Less enthusiastic buyers said they had issues with the action, and didn’t think the sound justified the price.
Item weight: Unknown
Package dimensions: 40.6 x 4.4 x 15.3 inches
The Emerald X20 Carbon Fiber Guitar
Made by Emerald Guitars, the X20 is their best seller. It’s not hard to see why when so much attention to detail has been put into it.
Take for example the design. While we all love the traditional acoustic guitar, it’s hardly made for a comfortable play. This is addressed in the X20’s ergonomic design, with the guitar being molded to fit comfortably into your leg while playing. Another ergonomic feature includes the removal of a heel, meaning you can get your thumb into the end of the fretboard.
While many carbon fiber guitars are black, one of the things that really makes the X20 stand out is it’s fully customizable. Some things you can customize include:
- The color and style of the carbon fiber.
- The style of the pickup or bridge.
- The fretboard’s radius.
- The length of the guitar’s scales.
- And more.
Add to that the ability to include custom wood veneers, the Hiscox Hard Case that comes included, and the fact well know guitarists such as Steve Vai and Justin Johnson trust Emerald Guitars for their custom instruments, this is definitely worth a look.
Price wise it’s at the higher end of the market, but with all the custom options available, this could be the carbon fiber guitar for you.
Enya EA-X4E Pro Carbon Fiber Acoustic Electric Guitar
The Enya EA-X4E Pro carbon fiber acoustic electric guitar has a lot on offer. The attractive cutaway body shape for starters. The bundle, with hard case and leather strap is also good value.
With a carbon fiber composite design, the guitar is obviously sturdy, and it is well-suited to those who are looking for a full-size guitar, as opposed to a travel companion.
The AcousticPlus pickup system, like the LAVA guitars, gives you access to reverb, chorus, and delay, and that’s a nice touch too.
It is a great deal overall, but it sounds just okay. It’s not bad, just not the best we’ve heard so far.
Buyers were mostly happy with the guitar. Some said it had some quality control issues and needed to be set up to work optimally though.
Item weight: 15.5 lbs.
Package dimensions: 45.7 x 20 x 8 inches
LAVA ME 2 Carbon Fiber Guitar With Effects
Like I said earlier, we have one more LAVA MUSIC guitar to cover, and that’s the LAVA ME 2 36” acoustic-electric travel guitar. If you’re not happy with the blue, you can also find it in black, orange, pink, and white.
This small-bodied travel guitar has a unique unibody design with a one-piece injection molded technology. The L2 pickup system allows for reverb, delay, and chorus without a cable or even an amp. Of course, that’s what made LAVA MUSIC guitars in the first place.
The LAVA ME 2 sounds great with effects and responds nicely to fingerpicking and strumming alike. It has a round tone overall, but in this case, it’s quite pleasant, and it sounds great in a mix too. It doesn’t have a multi-touch screen like the ME 3, but the ME 3 is an evolution of this guitar, after all.
Buyers liked the guitar for travel, thought it was nicely made and durable, and enjoyed its clean tone.
Some had trouble replacing the battery, while others said they weren’t thrilled with the workmanship of the axe.
Item weight: 12.87 lbs.
Package dimensions: 4.63 x 12.7 x 36.87 inches
LAVA ME 3 Smartguitar Carbon Fiber Acoustic Guitar
Having already introduced one LAVA guitar, you probably have a sense of what we’re getting into here. But all three models are on this list, because they are clearly some of the best carbon fiber axes available, though they are more suited to performance than travel.
The LAVA ME 3 Smartguitar comes in several attractive colors, including the pictured space grey, as well as white, blue, light gold, pink, and red.
One of the ME 3’s unique features are its multi-touch screen (replacing the knobs from the ME 2) that allows you to add and customize effects. It even has a tuner, metronome, scale and chord diagrams, ear training lessons, recording capabilities, and other great features. All this without the need for a cable, and it has its own charging dock too.
Its tone is a little round (as you might expect from an all-laminate guitar), and it’s simply not going to compare to a wooden guitar. But once the effects are added, you can get a very satisfying tone out of this instrument. And that’s really what it’s been made for!
If you know what you’re getting going in, you will likely be quite satisfied with this guitar. There isn’t anything quite like it out there, so the ME 3 is a unique value proposition, and it will be worth it for those who could benefit from the onboard functionality.
Item weight: 13.77 lbs.
Package dimensions: 38 x 4.8 x 14.1 inches
Enya Nova Go Carbon Fiber 1/2 Size Acoustic Guitar Starter Bundle
Sure to be a hit among children and adults alike, the conveniently sized and stylish Enya Nova Go acoustic guitar starter bundle is the most budget friendly option on this list, and a great entry point into the world of carbon fiber guitars, especially if you’re not sure whether you’re ready to make a big commitment.
Its Les Paul style body gives it instant appeal, and further, it’s available in plenty of fun colors – black, blue, pink, purple, and white (with all sporting a bit of a “pastel” look).
The Nova Go is made of composite carbon fiber material and is less susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity. Its smaller size makes it a viable choice for kids and even those with small arms / hands.
I’m quite impressed with the tone of the guitar considering its smaller size and carbon fiber construction. It certainly sounds like a smaller guitar, but still has a balanced, warm, rounded tone with good separation and clarity.
Buyers said they found it to be a playable travel guitar with a great sound and a great look.
Some didn’t like that it was heavier than they wanted it to be and had preferences in terms of gauge of strings used, but other than that, there didn’t seem to be too many complaints of substance for this instrument.
Item weight: 8.98 lbs.
Package dimensions: 39.25 x 15.56 x 5.06 inches
What Should I Look For In A Carbon Fiber Guitar?
First, you need to identify whether a carbon fiber guitar is right for you. Wooden guitars obviously have a longer history and are still the go-to for most players, with their authentic, wooden warmth.
That said, there are many advantages to a carbon fiber guitar, and we’ll be exploring this is more detail in the sections that follow. In general, carbon fiber guitars are often selected for their tone, durability, and versatility.
Once you’re sure that a carbon fiber guitar is what you’re looking for, there are a few factors that should be considered. They are as follows:
- Electronics and / or effects
Let’s have a look at how these factors apply to shopping for a carbon fiber guitar below.
Tone & Sound
It has been my observation that carbon fiber guitars sound quite good. They have great projection, plenty of warmth and depth. Even on the high end, they have plenty of punch. They do have a distinctly different sound than wooden guitars, though, and if you’re not sure what I mean, it would be worth checking out some comparisons and demos on YouTube.
Carbon fiber guitars can cost from about $250 to $1700 and up, so is there a difference in tone depending on the price point?
Yes, there is. Some carbon fiber guitars feature wooden necks (with carbon fiber reinforcement). They all tend to have different builds with different body shapes, and the size, shape, and design of sound holes also vary considerably.
And so, while more expensive isn’t always better, it’s fair to say there are some features you’re just not going to get for less than $800. At the end of the day, it all depends on what you’re going for, though, and you certainly shouldn’t pay more for features you don’t need.
Either try out the guitars in person or have a listen to some demos to figure out what you like and don’t like.
Comfort & Playability
Generally, we find carbon fiber guitars to be just as playable and comfortable as wooden guitars. Of course, there is a difference in weight, with carbon fiber guitars generally being a little heavier than wooden guitars.
We’ve heard some complaints about the strings being a little high, string spacing being a little narrow, and so on. The issue of action can typically be solved with adjustments to the truss rod, or with a new pair of strings, but not all carbon fiber guitars have truss rods, so that might be something to look out for.
Also, if you bought a LAVA ME Pro, you would have a guitar with a rounded back (like an Ovation), and some people aren’t crazy about that. Like I said, your best bet is to try the guitar for yourself, and barring that, watch as many demos and reviews as possible, so you know what you’re buying.
Durability is quite possibly one of the strongest aspects of a carbon fiber guitar. Carbon fiber is incredibly robust, and there are even videos of trucks running over instruments made of carbon fiber and they don’t take any damage (still, we don’t recommend trying this at home)!
Carbon fiber guitars are also less susceptible – and in some cases not susceptible – to the elements, weather, temperature, or humidity. This is the opposite of wooden guitars, which shrink and expand with changes in temperature or humidity.
Again, there are videos where people have left their carbon fiber axes in a pile of snow with no ill effects. We don’t necessarily recommend being careless with your guitar, but it does go to show just how much abuse a carbon fiber guitar can take.
Electronics & Effects
Carbon fibers are at their versatile best when they come with pickups, and built-in effects.
An acoustic-electric guitar will prove a great companion for an open mic, jam, or any kind of live performance where you can amplify, and the guitars with built-in effects certainly saves you from having to buy and set up separate effects pedals to achieve a comparable effect.
Do you need a pickup? Or effects? Those would be the questions to ask. To be fair, most carbon fiber guitars do come with electronics, and there are several options featuring effects as well.
If you need to narrow down your options a little further, then it would be worth considering your wallet.
We’re not saying not to buy expensive guitars, but we certainly wouldn’t advise going into debt to purchase musical gear. If you must have a guitar you can’t pay for right now, we’d urge you to save up for the purchase.
With options between $250 and $1,700 (though most are $800 and up), you at least have a few different products to choose from without losing your shirt.
Carbon Fiber Vs. Wood Vs. Other Guitars – Which One Should I Choose?
Where convention is bucked, you will find controversy. And so, it is with carbon fiber guitars. There are skeptics, there are believers, there are plenty of shades in between.
There’s no denying that carbon fiber guitars have a different sound compared to wooden guitars. But it is not unwelcomed. Generally, they have a deep, warm, booming sound with strong projection accompanied by clarity and attack in the high end. As we all know, though, tone is in the ear of the listener and is a subjective criterion.
Carbon fiber guitars usually have stronger projection and volume compared to wooden guitars as well. And that’s neither good nor bad, but certainly good when you’re playing acoustically in a room where you need your guitar to be heard.
Another advantage of a carbon fiber guitar is that, unlike wood, it doesn’t shrink or expand. And that means no matter where you take it, you’re basically good to go. I’m not saying that you won’t have to tune it, but overall, you will find that carbon fiber instruments are stable.
One other difference is durability. Wood simply cannot match the robustness of carbon fiber, but that also means carbon fiber guitars are usually heavier than wooden guitars. For the most part, you shouldn’t need to worry about cracking and breakage, though, as you might with a wooden guitar.
So, it might sound like I’m saying carbon fiber guitars are superior in every way, and that’s simply not the case. Many people still prefer the tone of an acoustic guitar to that of a carbon fiber guitar. That goes for comfort and playability too. The weight of carbon fiber can be a turnoff to some as well. But it is safe to say there aren’t too many other downsides to carbon fiber guitars.
At the end of the day, you want to select a guitar that’s right for you. When it comes to acoustic guitars, materials do make a big difference. And as much as possible, you should buy an axe that you know you’re going to be happy with.
What Are The Best Carbon Fiber Guitar Brands?
There are a limited number of carbon fiber guitar brands out there, but what follows are unmistakably some of the top brands. Here’s an overview of each.
KLOS Guitars is a newcomer to instruments in general, and their name reflects their sleek, modern, innovative brand.
KLOS Guitars was founded by Adam and Ian Klosowiak. As the legend goes, Adam left the window open in his college dorm room one day, only to return to discover that his wooden travel guitar’s body had cracked. And that was the beginning of KLOS.
KLOS Guitars makes travel guitars, full size guitars, electric guitars and basses, tenor ukuleles, and accessories.
Given that their brand is committed primarily to the creation of carbon fiber instruments, it wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say they are one of the authorities in the market.
Journey Instruments was founded by Rob Bailey in 2011. His consulting work took him everywhere, and he loved to play guitar, but after a while, hauling around a full-size instrument everywhere started getting old.
After spending hours upon hours in research on guitar forums, Bailey began work, alongside his engineers, to design and create a collapsible travel guitar. A great example of someone who found a way to scratch his own itch.
Yes, Journey Instruments offers collapsible guitars. That’s not something you’ll see every day.
In addition to collapsible carbon fiber travel guitars, though, they also make collapsible wooden travel guitars, collapsible travel basses, touring and student guitars, ukuleles, cases, accessories, merch, pickups, parts, and more.
If a collapsible guitar is what you want, there aren’t too many other places to look.
ENYA MUSIC is a global music company based in Houston, TX. Their website doesn’t say much about their origins or how they got to where they are today, but it does explain how they got their name.
“En” means humble or thankful, and “Ya” means elegant.
ENYA MUSIC makes ukuleles, guitars, and other gear. Most of their guitars are quite affordable, and they have a mix of wooden and innovative carbon fiber models.
Their “Nova” series of carbon fiber acoustic guitars is especially eye-catching with their Les Paul style bodies and are quite affordable to boot.
Last but certainly not least, we’ll have a look at LAVA MUSIC, who’s making waves with their ME series of guitars – ME 3, ME 2, and ME PRO (also seen above). In addition, they make carbon fiber ukuleles (U series) and accessories.
LAVA MUSIC was founded in 2013 by Louis Luk, a Musicians Institute graduate. They’ve focused ruthlessly on creating musical instruments with new acoustic structures and materials and they are constantly exploring the meeting place of art and technology.
From what we can tell, the company is committed to the development of a few solid futuristic products versus taking the “shotgun” approach to building many models to see which sticks.
Top Carbon Fiber Guitars, Final Thoughts
Carbon fiber guitars are incredibly versatile. Most come with pickups. Many of them come with effects. These are fast becoming standard features.
Carbon fiber guitars are also durable. They might weigh a little more than wooden guitars, but they make up for it in sheer robustness. You would be hard pressed to damage a carbon fiber guitar, even if you subject it to the elements.
You will also find that, in many cases, carbon fiber guitars make for great travel guitars. There’s always some compromise involved in traditional travel models, but with a carbon fiber guitar you basically don’t need to worry about damage.
Carbon fiber guitars, though, aren’t for everyone. So do your homework before buying. Happy shopping!
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