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oscarvan 12-26-2019 11:01 AM

NGD X-30
 
1 Attachment(s)
OK, so on the "it's in the mail" thread we have, ad nausea, learned of the travels and tribulations of my X30 (which STILL doesn't show in the country with the tracking number.....lol) so there is no need to rehash that here.

For context.... I am an amateur player. Although I play hours a day, I've been at it for 2-1/2 years and jam 30 or 40 tunes nicely, I wouldn't put myself too far above the "skilled campfire strummer" level. Yes, I have a looper and accompany myself as I somewhat accurately work my catatonic scales up the neck wearing my "Gilmour 63" t-shirt but can't say the booking agents are kicking down my door.

After amassing a gaggle of Martins (see sig line) I got the CF bug, and have found myself rarely touching my wood anymore. So, for comparison I have my Rainsong which I really, really like playing.

Enter the X30

First impression is that it plays a lot like my Rainsong. So, it was not too foreign right out of the case.

The good:

LOVE the ergonomics. Sits in your lap like it was made to. Really makes you wonder how and why the instrument survived through the centuries in the form it did. Makes no sense whatsoever now.

LOVE the sound. As Alistair says in the video it's LOUD. Kinda like walking into a church after playing your Casio organ at home. But it's a deep loud, a grand loud, not a distorted loud. What a sound!

LOVE the looks. At first I thought the goofy sound hole would detract in real life, it doesn't. In fact your eyes don't go there like they do with a conventional guitar. It's off to the side of the stage and it blends in. Very cool.

Playability.... hmmm. Much even more so than my Rainsong which is not the lightest to play either, I find myself having to work the frets fairly hard to keep it from rattling. Especially the low E and A are prone to buzzing. I took a turn off the truss rod (Kudos for making that EASY by the way) and it improved it somewhat. Low E at the 12th fret almost showing daylight on the .100 gauge and I don't want to go much further. Again, a lot of this may be my skill level, but I wouldn't say that it "plays like butter". Then again, even with a capo, no matter where placed on the 3rd fret, the low E and A buzz.....Problem with having to push down on the strings so hard is that it affects tuning. On the low E the G# is noticeably off on the high side (three, sometimes four yellow lines lines on my Snark) by the time it stops rattling and playing a G-chord I can hear that it's not perfect. Overall jamming chords it's not a huge issue.... trying to be quiet and subtle it can seriously get in the way.

I invite comment on this.....

So, would I buy it again? Yes. Overall I am happy with it. It's going to be a FORMIDABLE weapon when playing unplugged for a small non-focused crowd and I will be most comfortable. Have I found my long lost acoustic soulmate?.... Not at first sight. Then again, as evidenced by some of the maniacs (myself included) on this forum.... you can always buy another one and keep trying.....

jaan 12-26-2019 11:41 AM

Sounds like it needs a set up, which while aggravating on a new guitar, is not uncommon. I personally wouldnít be happy with that action (.100) and still having it buzz so spending $75 to fix that would be worth it.

SpruceTop 12-26-2019 12:01 PM

Beautiful Guitar! As Jaan stated, your new X-30 needs a setup to play well.

jdinaz 12-26-2019 12:36 PM

Thanks for the nice write up ! As I said before....it sure is purty ! And like the others say...setup time. Please report back as the honeymoon proceeds.

oscarvan 12-26-2019 12:45 PM

A setup..... Well, let's get more specific......

What is there to set up and get a buzz out from a .10 action aside from raising the action with the rod even further? Raising the nut? IE a new nut? Filing down one or more frets? Raising the saddle?

Luthiers are not magicians and the tools, techniques and parameters are fairly straight forward.... simple enough for me to understand. From what I know, aside from adjusting the relief we're talking surgery.

SpruceTop 12-26-2019 02:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oscarvan (Post 6249136)
A setup..... Well, let's get more specific......

What is there to set up and get a buzz out from a .10 action aside from raising the action with the rod even further? Raising the nut? IE a new nut? Filing down one or more frets? Raising the saddle?

Luthiers are not magicians and the tools, techniques and parameters are fairly straight forward.... simple enough for me to understand. From what I know, aside from adjusting the relief we're talking surgery.

If you feel you've exhausted other possibilities for the cause of your buzzing, another cause of buzzing may be the compensated bridge. Due to the downslope of the top of the bridge going toward the bridge pins, there can be less than ideal downward string pressure on the front of the bridge where the "compensation" takes place. This can, especially on the 3rd and 4th strings of Taylor guitars, result in what I term "string-ping/sitar-zing" which is a tinny overtone on top of the note being played, whether on the open string or a fretted note on that string. My new Emerald X-20 has some of this "string-ping/sitar-zing" on its 4th string which I haven't yet taken the time to fix. The fix for this problem is to take the saddle out and file off enough of the downslope of the saddle toward the bridge-pins to remove the offensive buzzing/string-ping/sitar-zing. Obviously, you don't want to file too much off so as to file into the "compensated" edge of the saddle.

RP 12-26-2019 02:59 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I know that we like to tout our carbon fiber guitars as being immune to changes in humidity. However, given the playability issues and the pictures you previously displayed (shown below) that seemed to indicate that the shipping carton had been submerged in water, I have to wonder about a possible connection. I hope that starting with the delivery of the soaked box, you have kept Alistair in the loop. You may have greater issues ahead if you keep this guitar...

jdinaz 12-26-2019 04:20 PM

Sounds like there are 2 or 3 things "off", I know that too high a saddle will result in the sharp notes (intonation) you mention. I'd at least have an expert look at it, a good setup guy can tell a lot in just a few minutes.

kramster 12-26-2019 08:20 PM

Nice!! Glad you finally got it...now we can go back to our lives and sleep easier.

oscarvan 12-26-2019 10:43 PM

Thanks for the replies.

No zing-ping..... buzzing on the (a) fret(s). A straight edge riding a whole lot different than on my Rainsong, as in stepping down the frets like a drunk rolling down the stairs. The Rainsong frets are all on the same line. Before I have a further opinion on that, I need to do more homework.

Although the box was wet, the guitar was in its hard case, which was bone dry on the inside. I don't think it was under water. Maybe out in the rain, but not submerged.

I'll get to the bottom of this.

oscarvan 12-26-2019 10:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kramster (Post 6249499)
Nice!! Glad you finally got it...now we can go back to our lives and sleep easier.

You didn't miss a minute of sleep over my suffering. Liar. :D:D:D

oscarvan 12-26-2019 10:49 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by jdinco (Post 6249344)
Sounds like there are 2 or 3 things "off", I know that too high a saddle will result in the sharp notes (intonation) you mention. I'd at least have an expert look at it, a good setup guy can tell a lot in just a few minutes.

That saddle is a virtual Mount Everest.....1/4" high at least.....

Anyone care to comment what theirs looks like?

Tom2 12-27-2019 02:08 AM

I do my own setups, and make my own custom nuts and saddles. My early attempts were so poorly done, I became an expert on what can make a guitar buzz. Now I'm so precise, I can adjust string height to address the difference in wrist angle between downstrokes and upstrokes with a pick.

If the guitar buzzes with a capo, the nut has nothing to do with it. A nut that is too low, or has string slots cut too deep, will only buzz with open strings. A nut that is too high will cause you to push down too hard on the strings and make the notes go sharp.

Check nut height by pressing the low E string between the nut and the first fret with your left index finger, and between the third and fourth frets with your left pinky or ring finger. Then tap the string between the second and third frets with your right index finger. This should reveal a slight, but noticeable, gap between the string and the second fret.

Then repeat the process by pressing the low E string between the second and third frets with your left index finger. Then tap the string between the first and second frets with your right index finger. This should reveal a gap between the string and the first fret.

If the gaps above the first and second frets are identical, the nut is the proper height. If the gap above the first fret is greater, the nut is too high. If the gap above the first fret is less, or if there is no gap at all, the nut is too low or the string slot is too deep.

Repeat for all buzzing strings.

A poorly shaped saddle or nut slot can produce the sitar effect, but you say that's not the issue.

Buzzing on fretted notes can be caused by insufficient neck relief, too low of a saddle, or uneven frets. A typical setup doesn't involve fret leveling, and a new guitar shouldn't need it.

First, check the frets with a straight edge placed across 3 adjacent frets. It should never rock. If it does, then the middle fret is too high and the neck was assembled improperly.

If the frets pass the straight edge test, loosen the truss rod in 1/4 turn increments until all of the buzzing goes away. This will eventually work, but it may overly bow the neck. If so, the saddle is too low.

If the saddle is too low, place shims under the saddle or have a new saddle made.

Buzzing is never caused by a nut or saddle being too high, or by too much neck relief.

That's about it.

mot 12-27-2019 05:59 AM

Excellent information Tom2. I couldn't have coalesced it into a coherent statement as well as you did.

Puerto Player 12-27-2019 08:09 AM

My X-30 is the best sounding guitar I've ever heard or played.

Emerald guitars are built great, but whoever does the set-ups shouldn't be. They don't know how to set-up a guitar at all. They don't know how to balance pickups either. I've had 4 of their guitars and still have 3 of them but they've all needed to be massaged by my tech.

So, long story short, most likely your new Emerald is going to need a good setup. The bridge pockets and nut are almost always not "right' or need to be lightly massaged to get the strings balanced to the pickup. The good news is they can be set-up for almost any style of playing and they stay that way, almost forever. Fantastic guitars, crappy factory setups.

RP 12-27-2019 08:28 AM

Like Puerto Player, the strings and pickup on my X20 seemed way out of balance to me, very bass heavy. I haven't bothered to deal with it yet because I only play it unamplified...

SpruceTop 12-27-2019 09:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oscarvan (Post 6249572)
That saddle is a virtual Mount Everest.....1/4" high at least.....

Anyone care to comment what theirs looks like?

My Emerald X-20 saddle is quite high, too, but other than the string-ping/sitar-zing on the 4th-string, the guitar doesn't have any other string buzzing or any intonation problems.

KarenB 12-27-2019 09:35 AM

Is Emerald's quality control not up to where it should be? Don't they thoroughly play their guitars before they ship them out?

oscarvan 12-27-2019 09:49 AM

These were the replies I was looking for, especially Tom2, thank you. I know just enough to be dangerous lol. But with your post I can do some preliminary diagnosis without touching anything.

Puerto Player, I suspected as much.

Now, as stated, once you get it right it will not change so itís ls worth the effort.

Meanwhile Iíve discovered that one seriously famous tech and his peeps have two shops within minutes of my house. May be worth the $$


https://www.guitar-villa.com/story

SpruceTop 12-27-2019 09:54 AM

Although not applicable to the OP's Emerald, let me say that I've noticed "string-ping/sitar-zing" on several brands of guitars and it's usually on the 3rd and 4th strings of guitars with compensated saddles If you notice the way the bride is shaped, the "compensation" edge for these strings is at the front of the saddle and there is usually a fairly gentle downslope of the top of the saddle as it slopes toward the bridge pins. This creates less downward pressure on the front compensated area of the saddle and can result in "string-ping/sitar-zing" but not always as there likely are mitigating factors that can reduce or eliminate this sonic annoyance. Examples of sonic variances of new guitars that I own or have owned:

2015 Taylor 618e - string-ping/sitar-zing on 3rd and 4th strings

2016 Taylor 614ce - rock-solid tone with no sonic annoyances

2016 Martin GPC-18E - string-ping/sitar-zing on 3rd and 4th strings

2019 Emerald X-20 - string-ping/sitar-zing on 4th string

raysachs 12-27-2019 10:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oscarvan (Post 6249786)
These were the replies I was looking for, especially Tom2, thank you. I know just enough to be dangerous lol. But with your post I can do some preliminary diagnosis without touching anything.

Puerto Player, I suspected as much.

Now, as stated, once you get it right it will not change so itís ls worth the effort.

Meanwhile Iíve discovered that one seriously famous tech and his peeps have two shops within minutes of my house. May be worth the $$


https://www.guitar-villa.com/story

Good to know about guitar-villa - I live down in the Philly area and haven't spent any time looking for a good acoustic tech. I've had electric work done by Philtone down in Baltimore and he's incredible, but he doesn't generally do a lot of work on acoustics...

Hey, now that there's an X30 in my general area, I may try to hit you up to give it a play some day, if you're amenable. I'm down south to the middle of March, so it will be a good while for sure. But I've been seriously wanting to play an X30 for a while...

Congratulations on the guitar and good luck with the setup...

-Ray

Guest 928 12-27-2019 10:21 AM

Tom2 has been an incredible resource in my search for the ideal nylon string guitar. I think that he may be the most credible technical source on this forum (not that he is the only one to listen to). Thank you Tom2.

It would be nice to have a technical thread on this CF forum, one that deals with technical problems and solutions. As things are, the information is scattered around in various threads. I know that at some point I may want to come back to Tom2s information but may have a hard time remembering exactly where he placed the information.

Just a thought.

jdinaz 12-27-2019 10:34 AM

My 2 year old X20 with no pickup had a pretty good setup on it and didn't need any tweaking. My newer X7 was horrible and had to have a pro setup.

Great idea Evan, a sticky at the top for technical issues on any CF guitar would be nice !

ac 12-27-2019 11:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EvanB (Post 6249827)
Tom2 has been an incredible resource in my search for the ideal nylon string guitar. I think that he may be the most credible technical source on this forum (not that he is the only one to listen to). Thank you Tom2.

It would be nice to have a technical thread on this CF forum, one that deals with technical problems and solutions. As things are, the information is scattered around in various threads. I know that at some point I may want to come back to Tom2s information but may have a hard time remembering exactly where he placed the information.

Just a thought.

Searching for the answers on AGF is hit and miss. There's simply so much on this site that trying to search and find exactly the thread I once read and later remembered became a problem for me.

I have an extensive folder system that works for me. Anytime I find a thread that I think has value, I simply save the page in that folder: saddles, nuts, pre-amp, amps, etc., etc. If the the thread is updated, I save it to the same folder and let it overwrite/replace the old file with the updated posts until people stop writing in the thread.

It doesn't take that much time at all and I can find just the information that is meaningful to ME, filtered from the thousands of threads on AGF that have no meaning to me--without using the AGF search function which only occasionally gets me what I want quickly.

oscarvan 12-27-2019 11:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raysachs (Post 6249799)
Good to know about guitar-villa - I live down in the Philly area and haven't spent any time looking for a good acoustic tech. I've had electric work done by Philtone down in Baltimore and he's incredible, but he doesn't generally do a lot of work on acoustics...

Hey, now that there's an X30 in my general area, I may try to hit you up to give it a play some day, if you're amenable. I'm down south to the middle of March, so it will be a good while for sure. But I've been seriously wanting to play an X30 for a while...

Congratulations on the guitar and good luck with the setup...

-Ray

You may certainly come up and take it for a test drive, I'm 15 or so minutes off the Quakertown exit......

So I got Guitar Villa from a shoutout to my local musician friends on Facecrack..... After I posted got this one too, even closer for you... I trust the guy that recommended it. Heck of a guitar player, and a heck of a drag racer. But that's another story.

https://www.dtownguitars.com/

oscarvan 12-27-2019 11:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by EvanB (Post 6249827)
It would be nice to have a technical thread on this CF forum, one that deals with technical problems and solutions. As things are, the information is scattered around in various threads. I know that at some point I may want to come back to Tom2s information but may have a hard time remembering exactly where he placed the information.

Just a thought.

How about a separate tech forum? Most of these issues are not germane to a CF.....

Mark L 12-27-2019 01:20 PM

I too valued Tom2ís contribution to this post, so much so that I screen shot it on my ipad and placed it in a folder for future reference. Thank you.

As for the apparent setup issues on current newly shipped Emeralds, as well as reported quality issues on a new custom Rainsong - Iím sorry to hear it but glad that thereís a place (here) to discuss it, and hopefully hear of eventual resolutions.

David Eastwood 12-27-2019 03:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oscarvan (Post 6249572)
That saddle is a virtual Mount Everest.....1/4" high at least.....

Anyone care to comment what theirs looks like?

My X20-7 looks to be about as high as this - the 27" scale length for the 7th string is going to exaggerate that a bit. My 'regular' X20 is definitely lower, but still with a good break angle over the saddle.

The 7 plays beautifully - any buzzing I get is entirely due to me getting used to the extra string (mostly) and the fan frets (a bit).

On the 6, I do occasionally get a little touch of that sitar-like zing on the 2nd string, but I can make it go away by changing how I pick the string - so that one's down to me. This one spends most of its time in open D, plays better than any acoustic guitar I've ever owned, and came from the factory that way.

Guest 928 12-27-2019 04:01 PM

Oscar;

Since moving into CF guitars I have tended to focus on the problems of CF. I think that wooden guitars carry the issues noted on this forum but also carry contributing issues that make solutions a bit more difficult.: Bowed necks, broken braces, humid or dry conditions, lifted or sunken faces, and so forth.

I tend to think that CF has fewer fault lines and more direct solutions. The path suggested by Tom2, for example, does not have to deal with all those wooden fault lines.

AC;

You are a more deliberative reader than I am--unless I'm doing serious research. What I read on this forum often seems unrelated to me at the time but then later becomes important. So, in the future, when I am trying to remember where I read something, I'll be calling on your file system--thank you.

KarenB;

I believe that increased production tends to leadsto increased flaws which lead to a critical point--upload more staff or lose credibility.

raysachs 12-27-2019 05:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by oscarvan (Post 6249913)
You may certainly come up and take it for a test drive, I'm 15 or so minutes off the Quakertown exit......

So I got Guitar Villa from a shoutout to my local musician friends on Facecrack..... After I posted got this one too, even closer for you... I trust the guy that recommended it. Heck of a guitar player, and a heck of a drag racer. But that's another story.

https://www.dtownguitars.com/

Awesome - Iíll leave myself a reminder to get in touch once weíre home in the Spring. As for Dtown Guitars, Doylestown is still quite a haul, but maybe Iíll give them both a shout the next time I need work done...

-Ray


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