The first electric guitar with the world’s expanded cork body will be presented at a concert in Viana do Castelo, a city where it was conceived by a student of the master’s degree in Integrated Design, from the local polytechnic.
“When I started the project I did exhaustive research and did not find any electric guitar made in expanded cork in the world. In Portugal, there is one, but in natural cork,” João Rodrigues, the author of the instrument sound will be heard on Friday in the capital of Alto Minho.
The project “pioneer” of the young person of 24 years, a native of Viana do Castelo, took two years to be developed. The “challenge” began when the designer and musician began the master’s thesis in Integrated Design, under the guidance of teachers Ermanno Aparo and João Abrantes.
One year has been applied in academic research and another in the design of the instrument, which “presents particular characteristics such as lightness, due to the fact that 75% of its body is in expanded cork.”
“The expanded cork is made from the reuse of natural cork, such as bottle corks. This cork is burned and serves as a cover for building façades, to isolate heat and sound. a new Portuguese to the instrument, “said João Rodrigues.
According to João Rodrigues, “the guitar was fused between empirical techniques of Portuguese craftsmanship and the high technology of industrial production”, with production involving ten companies from the north of the country and from Galicia.
“The expanded cork is a material that is still not very commercialized. This was my best to move away from the normal image and design a more original instrument,” he said, noting that “cork is a vehicle of Portuguese identity and a transmitter of sustainable values and ecological“.
The project involved musical instrument companies, Amorim corticeira, a Spanish composite company and other companies in the Minho region.
The productive process had the partnership of the Professional Vocational School of Alto Minho (ARTEAM), namely, guitar teacher Carlos Ribeiro.
The prototype of the electric guitar was followed by a “serious” example already experimented by musicians Miguel Araújo, João Só and Tatanka, which will be publicly presented at a concert on the 12th in the cultural centre of Viana do Castelo.
The project gave birth this year to a brand launched by João Rodrigues and a colleague, trained in management to whom, however, joined. The company Mai’land Guitars already has, in its order book, the production of one more guitar and electric bass, with a sale price of 1,000 euros each, and several suitcases, made of the same material for the transportation of musical instruments.
“In addition to selling guitars, the business project provides for the recycling of wood and the reforestation of forests with a tree as rich as the cork tree, so that for each guitar sold 10 cork trees are planted,” he said.
The guitar of Mai’land Guitars will be officially presented on the 12th, at a concert in the cultural centre of Viana do Castelo, included in the program of the eighth National Meeting of Design Students (ENED), which this year takes place in the capital of Alto Minho, with the theme “Design, Industry and Handicraft“.
The meeting, organized by the design students of the Polytechnic Institute of Viana do Castelo (IPVC), with the support of the City Council, the students’ association of the School of Technology and Management (ESTG) and the Academic Federation, with the presence of more than 500 participants.
In the concert, the expanded cork electric guitar will be accompanied by a trumpet developed by the IPVC professor, Ermanno Aparo, which combines the art of filigree and metal-mechanics.
A company from Póvoa de Lanhoso produced the trumpet rings, made in silver, using the Portuguese filigree technique. The molds, in steel, for the bell and other components of the instrument, were produced by a metalworking company from Viana do Castelo, which makes parts for shipbuilding. Produced in copper by Francisco da Cunha Liquito, an artisan from Caminha, the “Almada Trumpet“, as it was baptized, is valued at eight thousand euros
Trumpeter Gileno Santana and guitarist Henrique Neto, both Brazilians, will present the project “O Inevitável“.
The “trumpet and guitar will enhance the message that academic and research projects involving the business environment, strengthen the link between teachers and students and foster a synergy capable of generating sustainability, creativity and innovation.”