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oscarvan 12-26-2019 10:01 AM

NGD X-30
 
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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 10:41 AM

Sounds like it needs a set up, which while aggravating on a new guitar, is not uncommon. I personally wouldn’t 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 11:01 AM

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

jdinaz 12-26-2019 11:36 AM

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 11:45 AM

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 01:19 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 01:59 PM

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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 03:20 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 07:20 PM

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

oscarvan 12-26-2019 09:43 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 09:45 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 09:49 PM

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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 01:08 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 04:59 AM

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

Puerto Player 12-27-2019 07:09 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.


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