Behind the Design: Fender and Jose Cuervo Team Up to Create First Agave Guitar

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A huge bonus for any manufacturer is the ability to upcycle any wasted material from the manufacturing process into entirely new products. We’ve seen this before with discarded cardboard upcycled into surfboards and even sawdust as a result of pencil manufacturing upcycled into Duraflame logs.

More recently, tequila brand Jose Cuervo has been to getting in on the environmentally-friendly upcycling movement as a way to increase their overall commitment to being a more sustainable brand. After all, what else to do with thousands of pounds of discarded agave once the tequila has found its way into the bottles?

You team up with Fender to make a badass guitar is what.

Created in partnership with Fender Custom Shop Master Builder Paul Waller, working with cactus proved to be an entirely different challenge than constructing with traditional wood. To help understand the material better, Waller teamed up with big wave surfer Gary Linden, who previously created the first 100-percent agave surfboard and had a better understanding of the structural properties.

“I was worried about two things: structural integrity and tone,” explains Waller. “The agave … it’s so soft. It’s frustrating. In my initial discussions with Gary, he’s telling me this stuff, but it doesn’t hit home until I take the sandpaper to it.”

While the resulting feather-light 6.5-pound Stratocaster design is more delicate than a traditional model and has to use lighter strings, it’s still no less impressive that Waller was able to make it happen.

“It has a specific sound compared to an alder and maple guitar,” adds Waller. “It’s a unique tone that is going to start a conversation, and that’s the purpose.”

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