Ernest Cardboard Guitar Takes on Legendary Licks

December 03, 2015


When Leo Fender set out to change the way guitars were made and played, he didn’t know he would also change music forever. But when the Fender Stratocaster made its first appearance in 1954 with its unique vibrato bridge, it revolutionized every kind of popular music: jazz, blues, country, and of course, rock ‘n’ roll. The iconic “Strat” has been played by everyone from The Beatles’ George Harrison to Bonnie Raitt to Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner. Jimi Hendrix played one, so did Kurt Cobain. In fact, chances are if you know a guitarist by name, they probably played a Strat.

Strats are synonymous with power, performance and playability. The neck has to fit into the nimble fingers of musicians while withstanding 250 lbs of torque the strings exert to deliver the licks, riffs and rhythms we love. So when Dave Lee and Marc Wierenga from Signal Snowboards came to Ernest and said they wanted to make a cardboard Strat for the upcoming National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show and for their buddy Brad from a little band called Linkin Park, we knew we had our work cut out for us.

Could we really duplicate lumber’s strength using just corrugate? Would it actually play? And most importantly, would it sound like a Strat? We’ll let you be the judge of that. Here’s our latest Cardboard Chaos video:

If you know Ernest, you know we’ve never been one to back away from a challenge. Mike Martinez, Director of Design Solutions, set out to create a “rock solid corrugated core” for Fender to shape into an iconic—and totally playable—Strat. According to Martinez, “Once you get the form everything falls into place.” We don’t like to toot our own horn (or blow our own amp), but we’re pretty sure we surprised the guys over at the Fender Custom Shop with this one.

Paul Waller, Fender master builder for more than a decade, hand shaped the 50s style cutaway from a slab of corrugate layered for lasting strength. Martinez riffs, “Working with the guys at Fender was awesome. Their commitment to their craftsmanship was very cool to see.” And the cardboard Stratocaster is truly a thing of beauty. The smooth, curving body and see-through flutes and ribs are the combined product of Ernest’s expert engineering and Fender’s master milling. Best of all, this cardboard guitar has that unmistakable Strat sound.

If you’re ready to rock your next packaging project, clearly Ernest is in tune with what you need. Contact us today. We’d love to jam with you!