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Old 01-08-2017, 12:20 PM
Llamarebel Llamarebel is offline
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Default First Reactions: NGD Blackbird El Capitan

I don't have pictures (I know!) or sound clips yet because I need to set up my new recording interface, but those will be coming in the next few days, and I should be able to do a side by side of the X20 and the El Capitan

I just received my Blackbird El Capitan 2 days ago after a 14 week wait, and first of all, she is a beauty. The back and sides are more of a gloss finish, but the top is more of a soft matte/velvet finish and I love it, although it doesn't take my static cling pickguard at all. The Gotoh open tuners are very nice and smooth, I opted for the standard vs the gold upgrade. I also opted for an optional sound port on the side for just a little louder monitor while playing.

Now, the sound. Blackbird claims "Vintage" and "Woody" and boy it has it in spades. When doing a side by side of my X20 and the El Capitan, they are VERY different beasts. As I'm sure many Emerald owners know, the X20 is more clear/piano like I might even say, though perhaps with less "chime" than Rainsong. The El Capitan, contrary to some of the videos I watched, does have a nice amount of bass, it's certainly no cannon, but I think the whole guitar is balanced nicely.

The main difference between this eKoa and all other CFs I have played is the woodiness of the tone. It was actually a shock when I first got it out of the case and played it, it really sounds like a 30-40 year old guitar, a little bit of that "boxy" sound but blends extremely well strumming and has good separation when fingerpicking. I will say the mids are stronger than the X20, but it sounds beautiful, just serves a slightly different purpose.

I will update hopefully with side by side sound and pics soon!
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Old 01-08-2017, 12:28 PM
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Tommy CanAm
 
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Congrats and thanks for posting your impressions, especially being in a position to compare the two. I look forward to seeing and hearing your future video shootouts. AGFer ChicagoTodd also recently took possession of an El Capitan and has favorably reviewed it for us. I think he's also in the process of having an X20, wordy I think, built for him. Hopefully, he will also offer comparisons. I've commented before that the ekoa platform interests me, but until Blackbird comes out with a GA body style with cutaway and a more standard headstock design, I won't consider taking a plunge.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:10 PM
Steve Christens Steve Christens is offline
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I recently purchased a Blackbird Farallon Ekoa Tenor ukulele, and have been very impressed with how warm it sounds, especially given how small the body is. I haven't had the chance to play an El Cap yet, but given my experience with the Farallon I may not be able to resist.
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Old 01-08-2017, 07:50 PM
Llamarebel Llamarebel is offline
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It is quite warm. I think I actually underestimated the vintage vibe the sound would have, but now having it for a few days, I think it and the X20 complement each other quite nicely, filling totally different niches. I have heard great things about their Ukes.
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