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Gitaman 05-10-2019 12:03 PM

Signature drive for EvanB's dream guitar
Dear Carbon sisters and brothers,

I would like to give EvanB credit for relentless pursuit of his dream guitar that only Alistair could fulfill. I feel for him and suggest we assist him in his chase with a signature drive. Simple posting of wanting to see Alistair make what might possibly be the sweetest sounding THIN-bodied custom X10NE with 1 7/8 nut will do. This could all be a waste of time if Alistair is cold-blooded and actually enjoys EvanB's ever-growing GAS.(jk) We will find out...:D

Go, EvanB, Go!!


EvanB 05-10-2019 12:21 PM


Thank you, and what a great idea! Maybe the signature drive could be accompanied with a slight donation to the cause? I could live with that.

I just sent a fresh email to Alistair. He's Irish so I don't think he's cold blooded. But he is busy and I can use all the help I can get to maneuver through the buzz of his business.

Gitaman 05-10-2019 01:32 PM


Originally Posted by EvanB (Post 6058621)

Thank you, and what a great idea! Maybe the signature drive could be accompanied with a slight donation to the cause? I could live with that.

I just sent a fresh email to Alistair. He's Irish so I don't think he's cold blooded. But he is busy and I can use all the help I can get to maneuver through the buzz of his business.


You mean you will donate to the next purchase of those who signed for you in appreciation!:D I am thinking Leviola nylon...

tbeltrans 05-10-2019 02:21 PM

Ya know … with all this GAS, it is a good thing this is an OPEN forum. :)

C'mon Alistair, ya know he wants it!


EvanB 05-10-2019 02:58 PM


Your second idea, the one regarding donation, does not have the same appeal as your first idea regarding signatures.

Tony, thank you, I need all the good will I can get.

GuitarLuva 05-10-2019 03:19 PM

Sign me up as well. Let's see you get that dream guitar made by the man himself. Maybe we can grow this thread and direct Alistair here!

Methos1979 05-10-2019 04:15 PM

I am all for this as well although I think that I need to be consulted for certain aspects of the guitars build just in case when it arrives Evan doesn't love it. ;)

EvanB 05-10-2019 05:52 PM


You've seen my specs. This ten will not have near the acoustic of your new 10 slim. May not sound any better electrified. But by golly I want thin and I'm working on it.

I've been thinking of having a barrel of whisky delivered to Alistair, hoping to get him a little loose and liking the sound of "yes." Or maybe a pony?

jdinco 05-10-2019 07:33 PM

I support Evan's cause and I think the new "slim" guitar should be part of a road show for all those that support the cause. :)

casualmusic 05-11-2019 12:39 AM

Ya'll are asking us to bully Alistair into a lot of work (and possibly non-billable work) for one guitar that isn't part of his core business?

Sorry, I can't agree. (yeah party pooper etc).

It was easy for Allistair to use the 2016 design to make a 2" thick hollow body electric guitar for Evan.

The 2016 soundboard could be reused without changes because it had a top sound hole. The soundbox sidewall was simply reduced to 2". Voilà done - it needed very little design work and mold work.

The 2018+ X10N design, on the other hand, will need a lot of work to create a decent 2" thick hollow body electric guitar because the distinctive edge sound hole is partially cut into the corner of the soundboard and partially cut into the top corner of the soundbox.

Judging from the pictures, Allistair reduced the thickness of Evan's Jan 2019 guitar from 4 3/4" to about 3ish inches which seems to leave barely an inch of sidewall lip next to the sound hole to redirect the sound frontward.

He did sincerely balance the desire for a thinnish guitar with the need to do it cost effectively at a quotable fixed price.

Simply reducing the 2018+ X10N thickness from 4 3/4" to 2" would turn the that distinctive Emerald sound hole into mostly a side hole. Few folks would like that result.

Option 1 could be to build a 2" thick X10N hollow body electric guitar keeping the Emerald design strategy of X20 style corner sound hole. Reduce the cut into the sidewall so that at the sound hole there is 1" or more of sidewall needed to turn the sound frontward.

How much would the mold for the sidewall need to be changed? Would the top cut need to be enlarged and the how would the soundboard mold change? (Does the X10N use fan bracing and will the bracing need to change?) How much testing and rework would be needed to get a good result? Is it billable to the customer?

Option 2 could be to use a **bigger version of the 2017 X7 soundboard** which has a top hole design. This is a step backwards from the Emerald strategy of using the X20 style edge cut sound hole on all models.

How much design and testing and rework would be needed to get a good result? (Is fan bracing involved?). How much change is needed to the side mold and the top mold? Is it billable to the customer?

À radical option would be to use no sound hole like the Godin Multiac. Nope, totally impractical for one guitar.

BUT. Perhaps it might be worthwhile if 5-10+ of you could commit to buying thin body X10N hollow body electric guitars and commit to paying cost+ for the testing and rework.

If I were in Allistair's position I would not agree to do it because of risks to develop a non-scaleable product, risk of customers unhappy with the results, and risk of customers unhappy with high costs if billable.

As a company owner I'd use scarce resources to increase overall sales revenue by focusing on development of features sellable to many many customers.

As a potential customer I'd encourage Emerald and other companies to develop features wanted by *many* customers.

Mine would be a medium scale neck (?? 24 3/4") as an Emerald standard low cost or no cost option (similar to Rainsong neck options of 25.5" N2 or 24.9" NS). This would be useful to many who aren't comfortable with 25 1/2" long necks and can't justify the high cost of a customized neck.

Emerald, Rainsong, Blackbird, Composite Acoustics, etc have had to make very tough business decisions to prosper in a very small market.

They've each found a sustainable product mix that allows a decent income to a designer-manager-owner and a workforce of 6-12 people.

There isn't much room for unfocused efforts.


PS. How about a neck-up or other device to raise that X7N hollow body electric guitar into a more comfortable playing position?


EvanB 05-11-2019 09:50 AM

Party Pooper etc.;

Yes, it is not easy to step out of a product line and do a one-off. Though, as you point out, it becomes more possible with more demand. Joe made 5 custom nylon string Super OMs with interest from 5 people.

I do not see the problems mentioned as insurmountable. The X7 Electric, for example, is 2" and Alistair dialed in the offset sound hole to perfection. The medium scale neck is what I have on the 7 electric and I like it a lot--no problems here.

My relationship with Emerald Guitars has been based on instruments not particularly desired by *many* players, i.e., custom nylon string guitars. Kramster has been a constant reminder of the fact that nylon string instruments are infra-dig. But I have been a market for 5 custom Emeralds, and there are a number of other players on this forum who have reached for their own custom visions and been obliged by Alistair. There has been focus in the search for unique carbon fiber guitars.

From a business point of view, it does not make sense to deviate from common interests. But such deviation feeds an artist's point of view--Alistair is an artist and I think he takes a great deal of joy in creating something new.

Also, as much as Alistair has enjoyed indulging my focus he has also billed me, so he's not exactly giving away the store.

And so, Casual Music, I would hope that you would change your mind and help press Alistair to yet another unique instrument. In exchange for your help, if you one day want a guitar just to your specs I will join your petition and thus, between us, help keep Alistair happy and in a creative mode.

P.S. I hate neck ups, just one more thing to lug around.

PPS. Thank you for chiming in here--argument is how we work our way through uncertainties.

Gitaman 05-11-2019 11:28 AM


Thank you for your courage and appreciate your honesty! I also learned a few about the building process. You taking time to educate some of us reveals your sincere desire to help Evan, yet Rounding us all up as bullies seems wrongly accusing according the definition: Seeking to harm, oppress, coerce someone perceived to be vulnerable.

I do not believe any of us seeks to harm Alistair or his business nor do I believe anyone running a competitive, successful company could do so without a backbone. No Emerald is no good for no one. Not to mention, if a company perceives consumer-driven product requests as being bullied, well, better be ready for more or close shop. I believe it is the opposite, a proof and a compliment that Alistair and his company are doing something right. If any, it is adding to the brand value and provides positive exposure. Finding ways to make what is requested at a price that makes everyone happy is what businesses do and I am sure he will find a way to make it happen.


EvanB 05-11-2019 11:59 AM

I would add that Alistair has made his bones with unique instruments. There may not be a large crowd of nylon string lovers, or double-necks, or triple necks, or baritones. But each sub-set of guitar players presents the chance for something unique.

I think Alistair lives at the frontier. He's certainly done so in his various manifestations of unique guitars. I'm sure he makes most of his bucks with production models, but even those reveal an evolving, creative movement forward.

And so I continue to bullyrag, cajole, entice, beg, and bother the man. His guitars are my one indulgence and I suspect that, in time, he will find it easier to make what I want than to endure a continuing barrage of supplication. A colleague of mine once noted that "if our contemplation is not to become despair or lethargy we must take action." I know Alistair is thinking about the suggested guitar, he has said so, it's the action part that missing, so far.

Captain Jim 05-11-2019 05:30 PM

Well said, casualmusic. As a former business owner, my concerns mirror yours. When I think of the work involved in making that "one off" (or even "5 off", if that many people would commit), it seems to be a no-win situation. As a small business, do you continue to make quality instruments that you know will have buyers, or do you let that work slide while you put the huge man hours into making a guitar that has a VERY limited audience.

I also agree that the public posting of this situation isn't fair. As a creative business person, Alistair obviously wants to please as many customers as possible. I don't often use the word "bullying," but this seems to be approaching that. How would people feel if Alistair were to call Evan and say, "I need you to purchase one in-stock guitar per month for the next 15 months to help finance the additional man-hours and research and development costs involved in making this one-off." People would scream that isn't fair.

Again, as a former business person, it took me a lot of years to truly understand that I DID NOT WANT every customer. It was rare, but some asked for outrageous things (to give them bragging rights) that would have been a serious interruption to our business flow. The public perception of telling a customer "no" is a concern to every business owner... but sometimes it is THE RIGHT decision for the business.

Evan, we all appreciate your "quest" but you have to be realistic. These public "Alistair shaming posts" are unfair. There is a REASON he didn't jump right on it. Yes, you have bought a number of guitars from him, but that does not give you any right to publicly declare that you want what you want and demand that he produce it. As a producer of custom instruments, he has the right to refuse any request, especially if that request is potentially detrimental to his core business. This last "turn around" on that lovely Royal Ebony nylon had to have been a slap in his face. You can call it "rent" or whatever you want, but the only winner on that particular guitar situation is Scott - he got a unique nylon guitar without a wait. You waited a long time, told us all how it was going to be "the best guitar ever, more unique than any other, a fantastic veneer (that you didn't even SEE before you got it), and regularly complained that it wasn't done yet, even though you proclaimed that it was worth the wait.

I will go on record here stating that I enjoy the cast of characters in this saga. But I have cringed with each "public call out" here. This thread is just more piling on. I am two weeks into a total hip replacement, and I am cranky. Today was the first day since the surgery that I felt up to laying down some recording tracks with all three of my Emeralds (and bass, drums, and vocals). I felt so fortunate to be able to play those great instruments, even though my dexterity and stamina are not up to standards. What I produced wasn't my finest, but it is another step forward in getting my mobility back. I was pretty darn happy until reading this thread. I expect some push-back and am willing to accept however this shakes out. I could have made a private message to Evan, but that wouldn't have the same effect. This potential custom build is between Evan and Alistair - and EITHER OF THEM have the right to refuse without it affecting anyone else.

Yeah, I know: back in my corner.

Be sure to wish the Mothers in your life kind wishes tomorrow.

EvanB 05-11-2019 06:32 PM


Boy! you sure are cranky. I'd hate to see you mad.

In my defense I would point out that if Alistair has seen it he knows this thread is made with good will. He has refused me before (my great idea for a suitcase guitar) and he knows that I can handle a "no." He didn't really jump at the opportunity to make the X7 electric, but it was a challenge and I think he likes challenges.

Also, many years ago when Alistair was about to lose the farm, a number of people committed to financing a number of future guitars. He made it and he fulfilled his commitment. I think good will goes both ways.

That's not saying that he MUST make my guitar, but it does mean that I feel free to mess with him. I have broken bread with Alistair and I would not do anything to place him in a bad light. If he didn't like this conversation, he could email or call me.

So, I hear you, and I see where this thread could be construed as a shamming, but it is not. It is me having fun and pressing a path that Alistair has accommodated with numerous fine instruments.

I do appreciate your thoughts on the matter since you and Casual both have me looking at the various interpretations of my humor. Humm............

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