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Old 01-06-2018, 12:19 AM
MWP MWP is offline
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Default NGDx2 - Emerald X20 and Journey OF660 - Long

GAS strikes again after 10 years! My first post here. Think it was this Board I was on years ago, but have been just lurking lately. About 15 years ago I was doing a lot of buying and selling. Have bought and sold guitars from Goodall, Charis, Bourgeois, Lowden, Hoffman, Martin, Taylor and a few others I can't remember. I enjoyed trying different guitars; would keep them for several months, then sell them. I did fine, bid low and held out selling until I got my price. I usually had 5 or 6 around.

Then, I moved to Colorado and stopped actively playing. I had a group of people back home that would get together regularly, we'd do open mikes, and I led worship at church. My new job involved a lot more travel so I couldn't be regularly involved in playing. I had a Larrivee that I put on a stand in my living room, but the top cracked in the dry, high altitude. So, everything stayed in a case in the closet. Other than humidifying them from time to time, I just stopped. Out of sight, out of mind. I just started selling off my stable.

Last fall, I decided I was going to play again. In order for that to happen, I needed something on a stand in my living room to be easily picked up and played. I had played a Rainsong years ago, but wasn't impressed. So, I started lurking here again to see all of your comments. I sold off two guitars, and kept my Langejans custom that I had made in 2004 as my lone wood guitar, because it's an amazing guitar.

We have CA and Rainsong dealers in town, so I went and visited them. I played 4 or 5 different Rainsongs, and a couple different CAs. The only one I really liked was the CA Cargo, but I couldn't see it as a primary guitar. After reading everyone's comments on Emerald, and looking and listening to multiple guitars on YouTube, I decided on the Emerald X20 Artisan - in amber. I was taking a chance, because I was buying it without playing or seeing one. I ordered it in October and was told I would have it before Christmas. It got shipped in early December, but was delayed in customs, along with others, I am told. Christmas came and went with no tracking on the guitar.

In the waiting time period from the October order, I started thinking about a travel guitar. The Taylor GS Mini that I had owned was decent, but not really airplane travel worthy. I did it once and had a hassle getting overhead space and stopped trying. I thought the Cargo and X7 looked good, but it was still a case of getting overhead on flights that are full, as most flights are these days. So, I kept reading about the Journey Overhead guitar - and the fact that most were pleased with them. So, New Year's weekend I bit the bullet and ordered one.

On New Year's eve, tracking on the Emerald finally showed that the guitar had been delivered to USPS in New York. I had confirmed shipping on the Journey to arrive yesterday. Wednesday morning I got a text that my Emerald was out for delivery. I had the Emerald shipped to my office and had ordered a couple of staff members to make sure they opened it, tuned it and played it if I was gone. I headed out for a business lunch on Wednesday and got a text announcing its arrival before I got to the restaurant. When I got back it had been unboxed and the case was wrapped with a ribbon. I had just a couple minutes before a scheduled phone call, so I let it sit in the case unopened. A couple staff members came in and couldn't believe I wouldn't open the case until after my call. They said the guitar was awesome - and it had probably been tuned and played!

So, here are my thoughts on both. When I finally got done with my meetings, I called the two staff into the office. I checked out the guitar and the X20 is beautiful. But, I wanted to listen to it out front of the guitar first because of the sound hole. I wanted to hear it first the way anyone else would hear it. So, the gal who "tuned" it for me started playing and I was impressed. It had a full, balanced sound and sustained forever. She fingerpicked and played with a pick. Then, when it came to my turn, I was even more impressed by the way the sound hole pushes sound up. The player is in a sweet spot with this guitar. And for a person who is going to mainly play in the living room, that's perfect.

Sound is totally subjective. There are a lot of incredible wood guitars. But, the different types of wood on the top, back and sides helps color the sound, as well as the size of the body. What's good for you might not sound the best to me. My Langejans is an Adirondack spruce/rosewood combo. Does the Emerald sound as good as the Langejans? No. But the Langejans cost $3k more. I would rate the quality of sound and playability on a par with most wood guitars costing a thousand dollars more. But the bottom line is that I really enjoy playing it and it sounds great to me. I know there are a lot of Rainsong fans here, but the liveliness of the sound, to me, is far better than any of the Rainsongs I played. It was worth the risk of buying sight unseen, and I couldn't be more pleased. It is a distinctly beautiful guitar that is quality built.

So, that was NGD Wednesday. On Thursday, my Journey arrived at the house as I was coming home from work. I pulled it out of the box and brought it into the kitchen. My wife said I didn't need another backpack and thought I was going to get a guitar. I opened the backpack, pulled out the guitar and neck, and put it together. After tuning and playing for a bit, I did what every Journey review talked about. Took it apart and put the shorter saddle on, retuned it and started playing again. Because of the size of travel guitars, I wasn't expecting a lot. But again, I was impressed. For its size the Journey has a good sound. I'm guessing a little fuller than the GS Mini, but it's been awhile. Good volume and playability. I like the comfort of the longer scale length on this than most travel guitars provide. In its own way, it kicks butt. I won't hesitate to travel with this from the sound stand point, and I love how it breaks down into the backpack, which is really well thought out.

I'm pretty picky about sound, which is funny, because I'm not a great guitar player; just a boomer who could afford some nice instruments. I was hesitant about going down the road of carbon fiber, but now I'm a believer. And now I have two guitars on stands in my living room. I don't have my callouses built back up again, so my fingers are raw from playing, but I love it. My wife and I were in the living room taking tonight and when we finished, I just reached over and grabbed a guitar. I ended up playing until my fingers couldn't take it any more. Just what I was looking for.

Colorado altitude, dryness, heat and cold - take that!

One final comment. I can't remember a new guitar that I bought that I did not have a professional setup done on it. The Journey's action is high, even with the lower saddle. The X20 action is better out of the box, but still needs some tweaking. I'm heading back to my old home in a few weeks. I have a friend who is an excellent guitar tech who has done setup and repair on all of my instruments in the past. I can't wait to get these set up and playing like butter. If you are wondering about carbon fiber, I say "jump in, the water's fine."

So, after being out of it for awhile, my GAS had been satisfied once again.

You know, that green Emerald looks really good............
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  #2  
Old 01-06-2018, 12:36 AM
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First, welcome to the forum, MWP. Thanks for posting your story. You’ve bought a couple of fine guitars. I’m considering an X20 myself, after having owned an Emerald Chimaera 6/12 doubleneck. I love reading such accounts. Yours has been the experience of many of us here...but we never get tired of reading about the joy players discover in quality composite guitars. Enjoy...I’m sure you are!
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Old 01-06-2018, 06:45 AM
kramster kramster is offline
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Welcome to CF (and Ekoa too).

Great story and some really fine guitars you have had... I can just see a year from now we all will be reading something like this .. just speculation'.

MWP: " Well its been a wonderful year since my CF and Ekoa guitar journey kicked in and now I have 23 of them that are keepers. I am now a much improved player as I can keep a few out where I can grab them anytime to play. Very handy and now I play much more. Also everyone in the office has at least one as well. And of course the increased music in my life has helped with my business success because the music inspired great creativity "
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Old 01-06-2018, 07:16 AM
jdinco jdinco is offline
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Welcome to the forum and to the CF world! Do you have any pics of that green Emerald? Congrats on a fine guitar. Or 2.
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:11 AM
Kerbie Kerbie is offline
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Welcome to the AGF, MWP! And thanks for sharing your story. Hope you enjoy those new guitars... I'm sure you will.

Like your X-20, my X-7 also needed some tweaking with the set-up. I had given very specific numbers, but sometimes folks just don't believe them. Probably my only complaint and it was a small one.

Glad to have you here... hope you chime in regularly.
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:19 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Congrats on TWO new guitars, and nice reviews! Good to have you here; lots of good information and conversation on this sub-forum.
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Old 01-06-2018, 08:44 AM
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Welcome to the forum! We have a lot in common!! Since you admit you read a lot of comments in your search I'm sure you read many of mine since you ultimately ended up with two CF guitars that I own or have owned and are probably my two favorite of all time!!

Your statement of being 'not that good, just a boomer that can afford some nice guitars' is pretty much nailing me as well. I was also happy (in a commiserating way) to finally hear directly of someone else who went through the Customs delay of 2017. I'd heard there were more of us but you're the first one I've heard from here. I'm glad you finally got yours.

You've got two of the best CF guitars out there. I only sold my OF660 because I don't fly much these days except for short business trips where taking a guitar is unnecessary due to time constraints for playing. However, if one day in retirement I do find myself traveling by plane a lot for leisure I will surely grab another one. The Journey was the only CF guitar that had a stock neck shape that I liked. And it also sounded great plugged in.
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Old 01-06-2018, 10:02 AM
bry bry is offline
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Congrats on the two new guitars. Im in Colorado Springs and completely understand the need for composite guitars. I found, for me, Wood guitars are just too much hassle to deal with here.
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Old 01-06-2018, 10:27 AM
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MWP;

Your report hits a resonant note here. Many of us on this forum came from wood to CF via the cargo. Most of us here realized at some point that the better wooden guitars were also more fragile.

My first experience with a Rainsong was similar to yours--I was not impressed. However, Rainsong has really evolved. If you get a chance you might want to try one of the Rainsong Parlors.

Anyway, welcome to the forum and thank you for taking the time to share your experience. As noted, you have two fine CF guitars. Enjoy.
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:30 PM
MWP MWP is offline
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Default Thanks for the Welcome!

Thanks to all of you for your kind comments.

kramster - my wife suspects you are hitting the nail on the head.

Methos1979 - I read your review on the custom woody. Thanks for sharing that.

bry - I'm also in Colorado Springs.. in the Gleneagle area.

EvanB - will look out for a Rainsong Parlor to play.

I'll keep watching - and will post a follow-up after I've had more time with guitars and had the opportunity to get them set up the way I like them.
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Old 01-08-2018, 10:55 AM
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Emerald Guitars Emerald Guitars is offline
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Hi MWP,

Congratulations on the two new acquisitions! We are delighted to hear that you (and your staff) have been enjoying your new Emerald!

Best wishes from all the team,

Sean
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Old 01-12-2018, 05:51 PM
MWP MWP is offline
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Default Thanks, Sean

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emerald Guitars View Post
Hi MWP,

Congratulations on the two new acquisitions! We are delighted to hear that you (and your staff) have been enjoying your new Emerald!

Best wishes from all the team,

Sean
Thanks, Sean. Am loving the guitar. Great sound and playability.
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Old 01-13-2018, 08:37 PM
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Em,

Thank you for your review. I have had my X20 since 2013 and love it more and more. I am considering an OF660 in matte because sometimes the X20 is too big to bring along (and it's currently 3000 miles away at the moment while I am at home on the opposite coast), so your dual arrival caught my attention.

Any comments, comparisons or concerns would be useful to me.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 01-16-2018, 11:44 AM
MWP MWP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mot View Post
Em,

Thank you for your review. I have had my X20 since 2013 and love it more and more. I am considering an OF660 in matte because sometimes the X20 is too big to bring along (and it's currently 3000 miles away at the moment while I am at home on the opposite coast), so your dual arrival caught my attention.

Any comments, comparisons or concerns would be useful to me.

Thank you in advance.
So far, I am loving the guitar. For a travel guitar it has a fuller sound than I expected. Playability is good, but I'm still going to get a set-up to improve it. Even with the lower saddle, the action is kind of high. Although I sold my Taylor Mini GS awhile ago, it seems the playability and sound on the Overhead is better. I like the scale length, since you only have to make minor adjustments from other guitars. I especially like how easy it is to take apart and store in the Overhead backpack, which is very well thought out.

Good luck,
Mark
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:58 PM
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Congratulations on your new guitars day! Way to go!
(No one asked for pics so I guess it's no longer required.)
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