Composite Acoustics’ Cargo Acoustic-Electric Guitar (Review)

Written by Brant David

Carbon fiber is revolutionizing manufacturing design, and guitars are no exception. Check out the Cargo Acoustic-Electric guitar by Composite Acoustics for a sleek, sweet sound. — I’m a guitar player, though rusty at the time of writing, with three traditionally made acoustic guitars. They sound and feel great. But now I see that Composite Acoustics is helping to redefine the acoustic guitar with the Cargo Acoustic-Electric, a carbon fiber travel guitar. I had better start saving my nickels…

Composite Acoustics Cargo acoustic-electric guitar

Image credit: Composite Acoustics

The Carbon Fiber Difference

To clarify — when I said traditionally made acoustic guitars, I meant made from wood. A lot goes into an acoustic guitar, but the main component on the vast majority of acoustic guitars is wood.  The Cargo Acoustic-Electric guitar, on the other hand, is made predominantly from carbon fiber. Whoa!

What’s so special about carbon fiber? This man-made material is five times stronger than steel and twice as durable, yet it weighs approximately 33 percent as much. Carbon fiber strands are about as thick as spider silk, and they can be stored in spools like yarn.

When it comes to guitars, those made of carbon fiber are impervious to weather and climate. Traditionally made acoustic guitars can be frustrating and time-consuming due to warped necks or bowed bodies, all of which occur in dry conditions. I hate having to remember to soak the sponge of my humidifier unit. A luthier has adjusted my guitar’s necks more than once, and it’s not necessarily cheap.

But humid conditions are no friend, either. They can make an acoustic guitar sound dull. And it goes without saying that you won’t want to let your guitars get wet very often (if ever). If they do get wet they need to be dried off as soon as possible.

None of these conditions matter when you have a carbon fiber acoustic guitar.

Water runs right off them. Heat doesn’t warp or crack them, and humidity doesn’t dull them. Maintenance problems are thrown out the window. Carbon fiber is also much stronger than wood and a carbon fiber guitar can therefore take more of a beating. Owners say that these guitars stay in tune much longer, too, and they hardly ever need fret board lubrication.

All these traits make the carbon fiber guitar an excellent option, and the perfect choice for traveling and live performance.

How Does It Sound?

Composite Acoustics tells us that the Cargo guitar has been extensively tested by its engineers and luthiers to achieve the “perfect” acoustic guitar sound. C.A. calls this their “Tailored Sound.”

The sound of the Cargo is helped out by the fact that the neck and body are made as a single piece. Many acoustic guitar necks screw into the body of a guitar, but not with the Cargo. The entire Cargo guitar is designed using state-of-the-art materials and design technology, including CAD and laser-cutting machines.

cargo acoustic-electric guitar neck and body one piece

Image credit: Composite Acoustics

Each CA guitar is custom built with precision. No mass production zone here.

Carbon fiber guitars have a brighter, more-powerful sound than most traditional acoustic guitars because the material has a crystal-like ability to resonate with and project acoustic vibrations. This sound can take some getting used to for some players. At first it may seem artificial because it doesn’t have as much warmth in its timbre as the traditional acoustic does.

The Cargo comes outfitted with LR Baggs Active Element electronics to give players the highest level of command over their sound. The Cargo is also outfitted with 18:1 ratio machine head tuners so that you have extensive fine-tuning control.

Here’s a demo video that gives you a good idea of the sound and size of this sleek-looking and bright-sounding travel guitar:


If you need a great travel guitar or are tired of caring for that old acoustic, check out the Cargo Acoustic-Electric.

For, I’m Brant David.

Based in New Jersey, Brant David is a senior writer for Follow him at +Brant David on Google+ and