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Old 10-10-2017, 02:51 PM
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Default Blackbird Savoy

I’m not really ready to buy another guitar, but I’m seriously GASing over the Savoy, so I feel the need to vent. Please bear with and indulge me. If I’m correct, so far, AGFers Ted, Kramster, Tf, Barb1, bry and kevdog now have experience with the Savoy (forgive me if I’m missing anyone else). Although I’m hoping especially for their feedback, anyone else feel free to jump in.

The only small/travel/short scale guitar I have ever owned or played is my ‘08 CA Cargo with Road Tough (RT) finish, which I love. Due to its comfort and ergonomics, as mainly a couch player/noodler, I probably play it the most. Imo, it has been the best looking travel size guitar among them all. I love the intimacy and playability of its size; the neck profile/shape; access to upper frets due to the no-heel design; the looser feel of the (light) strings because of the shorter scale; the bass...ooo, the bass for such a small guitar; the no-worry, durable, non-smudging RT finish. Just pick it up and go. The only negative, as accurately expressed by kevdog in his current NGD Savoy thread, is minor issues involving tone which I have always accepted because it has a bigger voice and very good tone for what it is, and although I really like Emeralds, neither the X7, nor Rainsong parlors, nor Blackbird CF smaller guitars have struck me as offering anything better to replace my Cargo.

So with all this love I have for the Cargo, why look for anything else? The Savoy comes along, that’s why. Beyond that it looks and *seems* to sound great based on the few videos I’ve seen; that it seems to be just a bit longer/wider overall than the Cargo; based on kevdog’s Cargo comparative review that it offers better, balanced tone than the Cargo; and hopefully it rivals any fine guitar...and better than any of the other composite small guitar offerings(?). However, at twice the price of a new Cargo (over 3.5 times what I paid for my ‘08 Cargo @ $750), is it worth it? This is what I’m struggling with. That said, there’s another factor that is making me lean to “yes”, which I’ll explain.

Although I have owned my Cargo for 9+ years, just lately, more and more I’m finding the intimacy of its size to be very appealing compared to my normal preference for GA/OMs. At almost 62 y/o with no health or physical playing issues, I can’t explain this change that’s coming over me. Therefore, if with the Savoy I can have a guitar that satisfies all that I love about the Cargo but with tone that is balanced and rivals the best of quality guitars, whether wood or other composites, I’m considering that it could become my overall favorite, even over my Taylor 814c. Any thoughts about this?

I have said in other recent threads that I’ve also been interested in the Emerald X20, but it would have to be a short scale 12 fret...but even with its ergonomics, can it deliver on the smaller guitar intimacy I’m looking for? Somehow, I’m doubting it is small enough. I’ve also expressed interest in the Rainsong CH-OM, but again, it’s likely too big to meet my want for intimacy in a guitar, moving forward.

Fwiw, I’m a barefinger fingerpicker/strummer playing mainly classic folk/rock, a bit of blues, and originals in that vein.

Beyond my foregoing ramblings, I have some questions about the Savoy...

1. How loud is the Savoy compared to say, a Taylor GA? How much louder than the Cargo?

2. My favorite neck profile is CA as I experience with the Cargo and formerly the GXi. I also very much like the Taylor and Emerald shape and profiles. Where does the Savoy neck fit within my preferences?

3. With its hollow neck, does the Savoy have a truss rod?

4. Ted, you’re the only one who has experienced both the burst and standard Savoy. Does the burst add any noticeable weight? And what about affect on tone? Can the standard non-burst version be ordered in gloss or satin/matte? If so, is there a cost difference?

Thanks for reading folks, and your thoughts.
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Last edited by Acousticado; 10-10-2017 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 10-10-2017, 03:32 PM
bry bry is offline
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Default Blackbird Savoy

I just went through a lot of what you are describing. I also wanted to play smaller guitars more than full size. I've owned too many guitars from all different manufactures than I'd like to admit, but I was looking for that "one".
I build cabinets and after a day of cutting wood the guitar I would reach for was my gs mini. I played it so much I sold all my other guitars. I just could not get used to the 1 11/16 nut. I also started to realize I needed a carbon fiber guitar. It's very dry in CO.
I bought a Rainsong CH-OM thinking it would have the same appeal as the gs mini but with a 1 3/4 nut. It was just too big and I couldn't get used to the flat neck. Then I bought a cargo. Those are amazing guitars but didn't like the scale length.
I was able for a short time to borrow a lucky 13 and loved the way it felt. After playing the L13 I sold the cargo and got a Blackbird Rider. I can't say enough amazing things about the rider. I will never sell it. I actually preferred the size and tone of the rider over the L13. I still wanted something different and I have to tell you the savoy in the "one". It's unique, it sounds incredible. It's very comfortable.
Every video I've seen with the savoy does not do it justice. I recorded a short video of myself playing on another thread and it doesn't do it justice. It's loud. Not as loud as a GA but it's loud. Much louder than the cargo. The neck profile is somewhere between the Rainsong and a taylor. Extremely comfortable. It has a truss rod but it does not feel neck heavy like a RS CH-PA. Life is short

Last edited by bry; 10-10-2017 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:11 PM
Barb1 Barb1 is offline
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Hi Tom,
I am with bry. Life is too short. If you want a Savoy go for it! I don't think you will be sorry.

As far as loudness, my husband is hearing impaired and when I first got the Savoy he remarked that he not only could hear the Savoy from the other end of the house but also thought it sounded great. To put his assessment of loudness into perspective, I am a finger style player using only nail and flesh, no picks. I have a pre-Peavey Cargo and I believe that the Savoy is louder and also much nicer in tone and more balanced.

The Savoy is definitely a winner!

Barb
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Old 10-10-2017, 11:14 PM
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Can you all comment on string spacing in terms comparative to other (perhaps wood) guitars?

Most CF look to be narrow-ish in this area. How does the Savoy compare?

Thanks!
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Old 10-11-2017, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Acousticado View Post
1. How loud is the Savoy compared to say, a Taylor GA? How much louder than the Cargo?

2. My favorite neck profile is CA as I experience with the Cargo and formerly the GXi. I also very much like the Taylor and Emerald shape and profiles. Where does the Savoy neck fit within my preferences?

3. With its hollow neck, does the Savoy have a truss rod?

4. Ted, youre the only one who has experienced both the burst and standard Savoy. Does the burst add any noticeable weight? And what about affect on tone? Can the standard non-burst version be ordered in gloss or satin/matte? If so, is there a cost difference?
Hi Tom,

Just played my Savoy alongside my Taylor 714ce and it holds it's own rather nicely. Almost as "loud" but in a different way.

The neck shape is quite similar to the Cargo, perhaps a tad bit fuller. Going back and forth between my cargo and my Savoy was effortless.

The Savoy does have an adjustable truss rod.

The gloss finish did not affect the weight, but it might have added some warmth. The two are so close though that I honestly would not worry about it. I would suggest choosing based on esthetic, or price preference. The burst adds $650 to the price, and while you can get clear gloss as well, I have not priced it.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:15 PM
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Tommy CanAm
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bry View Post
I just went through a lot of what you are describing. I also wanted to play smaller guitars more than full size. I've owned too many guitars from all different manufactures than I'd like to admit, but I was looking for that "one".
I build cabinets and after a day of cutting wood the guitar I would reach for was my gs mini. I played it so much I sold all my other guitars. I just could not get used to the 1 11/16 nut. I also started to realize I needed a carbon fiber guitar. It's very dry in CO.
I bought a Rainsong CH-OM thinking it would have the same appeal as the gs mini but with a 1 3/4 nut. It was just too big and I couldn't get used to the flat neck. Then I bought a cargo. Those are amazing guitars but didn't like the scale length.
I was able for a short time to borrow a lucky 13 and loved the way it felt. After playing the L13 I sold the cargo and got a Blackbird Rider. I can't say enough amazing things about the rider. I will never sell it. I actually preferred the size and tone of the rider over the L13. I still wanted something different and I have to tell you the savoy in the "one". It's unique, it sounds incredible. It's very comfortable.
Every video I've seen with the savoy does not do it justice. I recorded a short video of myself playing on another thread and it doesn't do it justice. It's loud. Not as loud as a GA but it's loud. Much louder than the cargo. The neck profile is somewhere between the Rainsong and a taylor. Extremely comfortable. It has a truss rod but it does not feel neck heavy like a RS CH-PA. Life is short
Thanks for sharing your journey, bry. It is very insightful to me, especially since youve actually tried most of the other guitars on my radar. I watched your video when you first posted it and just did again a few times. You play very well, certainly a different style than me which I quite like. Is there a name for that style and do you do it all the time with right hand note tapping and harmonics mostly over the neck and that style of fretting? I would think it gives a different tone than more conventional right hand played over the body/soundhole and left hand fretting...do you play that way too, and have you noticed tonal differences?
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barb1 View Post
Hi Tom,
I am with bry. Life is too short. If you want a Savoy go for it! I don't think you will be sorry.

As far as loudness, my husband is hearing impaired and when I first got the Savoy he remarked that he not only could hear the Savoy from the other end of the house but also thought it sounded great. To put his assessment of loudness into perspective, I am a finger style player using only nail and flesh, no picks. I have a pre-Peavey Cargo and I believe that the Savoy is louder and also much nicer in tone and more balanced.

The Savoy is definitely a winner!

Barb
Thanks Barb. I have been doing more reading about the Savoy and watching other videos and I can see that it would most likely satisfy where I seem to be gravitating to in playing style. Sure, life is short and I would love to be frivolous and just order one. But the Savoy is a pricey little bugger and being Canadian, the cost to me will be more than 20% higher. Beyond that, Ive always been a one in, one out buyer/seller. Trust me, it is crossing my mind what I would need to give up to get a Savoy and Im not (yet) sure I would want to do that. Ohhh, the temptation. Thanks again!
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted @ LA Guitar Sales View Post
Hi Tom,

Just played my Savoy alongside my Taylor 714ce and it holds it's own rather nicely. Almost as "loud" but in a different way.

The neck shape is quite similar to the Cargo, perhaps a tad bit fuller. Going back and forth between my cargo and my Savoy was effortless.

The Savoy does have an adjustable truss rod.

The gloss finish did not affect the weight, but it might have added some warmth. The two are so close though that I honestly would not worry about it. I would suggest choosing based on esthetic, or price preference. The burst adds $650 to the price, and while you can get clear gloss as well, I have not priced it.
Thanks Ted. In addition to my replies to bry and Barb, your feedback is further good news assuring me that the Savoy could be a great guitar for me. If you read my reply to Barb, you’ll note what I’m faced with if getting to a point where I can pull the trigger.

I have different reasons for wanting a no-fuss finish that the standard matte top vs. a gloss burst offers. That said, the gloss burst really speaks to me...I’d want the unidirectional weave everywhere, including with the burst on the headstock face, and either those straight line fret markers vs. dots, or no fret markers whatsoever, just side dots. I’d also want Mini Gotoh 510s in Cosmo Black. I don’t know squat about the MiSi pickup, so I’d have to look more into that.

Geez...it seems like I’m placing an order. More just dreaming out loud at this point. I have a lot to consider.

Control GAS Tom, control GAS.
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Old 10-11-2017, 12:55 PM
bry bry is offline
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Originally Posted by Acousticado View Post
Thanks for sharing your journey, bry. It is very insightful to me, especially since youve actually tried most of the other guitars on my radar. I watched your video when you first posted it and just did again a few times. You play very well, certainly a different style than me which I quite like. Is there a name for that style and do you do it all the time with right hand note tapping and harmonics mostly over the neck and that style of fretting? I would think it gives a different tone than more conventional right hand played over the body/soundhole and left hand fretting...do you play that way too, and have you noticed tonal differences?


Regardless of what playing style I am doing I don't notice any change in tone. As far as the playing style on the video I can't tell you what style it is called. I don't play like that all the time. I play mostly finger style stuff. I just wanted to get a video out there to show the savoy as a versatile guitar. Some people have said it would only be suited for bluesy players, as it probably is, it is so much more than that.
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Old 10-11-2017, 02:05 PM
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Tom, many Canadians pick up guitars in the US, and drive them across the border. I'm told doing it this way avoids some of the fees.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bry View Post
Regardless of what playing style I am doing I don't notice any change in tone. As far as the playing style on the video I can't tell you what style it is called. I don't play like that all the time. I play mostly finger style stuff. I just wanted to get a video out there to show the savoy as a versatile guitar. Some people have said it would only be suited for bluesy players, as it probably is, it is so much more than that.
Good stuff, Bry. And I think it was the Lucky 13 that was quickly, (too quickly IMO) labeled as a "blues box" by some, not the Savoy.
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Old 10-11-2017, 02:19 PM
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Tom, many Canadians pick up guitars in the US, and drive them across the border. I'm told doing it this way avoids some of the fees.




Good stuff, Bry. And I think it was the Lucky 13 that was quickly, (too quickly IMO) labeled as a "blues box" by some, not the Savoy.
True, Ted. One potential advantage I have is that my wife and I spend each winter at our vacation home in SW Florida, so I do factor this into tempering at least some of the added cost.
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Old 10-11-2017, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ted @ LA Guitar Sales View Post
Tom, many Canadians pick up guitars in the US, and drive them across the border. I'm told doing it this way avoids some of the fees.




Good stuff, Bry. And I think it was the Lucky 13 that was quickly, (too quickly IMO) labeled as a "blues box" by some, not the Savoy.


There was a thread in 3/17 where someone said the the tone in the videos they saw of the savoy were "appropriate for blues and ragtime". It probably plays those styles very well, but I think the savoy plays all styles very well.
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Old 10-11-2017, 05:27 PM
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I’m not really ready to buy another guitar,

but

Yadda yadda yadda .................

Thanks for reading folks, and your thoughts.
Great decision Tom. Lookin’ forward to your imminent new Savoy day !

Ps. Get the burst, you won’t miss that extra few hunner a year from now.
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Old 10-11-2017, 05:40 PM
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Great decision Tom. Lookin forward to your imminent new Savoy day !

Ps. Get the burst, you wont miss that extra few hunner a year from now.
Hahaha, aint this place fun?!
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Old 10-11-2017, 05:42 PM
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There was a thread in 3/17 where someone said the the tone in the videos they saw of the savoy were "appropriate for blues and ragtime". It probably plays those styles very well, but I think the savoy plays all styles very well.
Plus one, Bry. Mine seems to prefer classic rock.
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