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Old 08-06-2020, 03:50 PM
source3 source3 is offline
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Default CF vs Laminate

Did not want to hijack this thread https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...66#post6437966 so I started this thread.

Driving back home I had 9 hours to ponder the following.

Does purchasing a CF (i.e. Emerald X7) really provide any benefit over my existing GS Mini Mahogany? Background: I travel between the oil fields of southeast New Mexico (currently 102 deg. F. and 15% humidity) to southwest Colorado that has a considerably different climate zone. I am also new to guitar and and happy with the GS Mini with the exception of trying to learn on a 1 11/16" nut. I would like to expand to a 1 3/4" until my fingers learn what to do. I play for myself and like a good sounding guitar. I am coming from playing the fiddle but have developed ear damage (Meniere's Disease) that makes playing the fiddle painful, even with earplugs.

I travel between SE New Mexico and SW Colorado and there are times when the guitar will sit in the car. Ok, during the summer at the job site I leave the car on all day with the A/C on (it's hot, dusty, windy, and having a place to cool down is essential).

That aside, we all know that the Taylor GS Mini has laminate sides and back that can tolerate more climate fluctuations than a solid wood guitar. But I am considering a CF as I would hate to see the GS Mini crack/delaminate etc... This got me to thinking, during the turn of the Century during the Wild Wild West days or even as recent as the 1960s and 1970s before CF technology, did guitars just crack as travelers threw their guitar in the back of their wagon (horse or VW)? As I said, I make the 9 hour drive between the oil fields and mountains of Colorado during all seasons and I have a time to let my mind drift.

In summary, I guess I should stop over analyzing and just by an Emerald X7.
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Last edited by source3; 08-06-2020 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 08-06-2020, 04:48 PM
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steelvibe steelvibe is offline
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Many CF lovers here are from the Southwest in the hot and arid climate for Summer, and in my case, extreme cold in the Winter. The GS Mini is a great sounding guitar but will be no match for any guitar made of CF if you need something impervious to the elements you describe (102° and 15% RH). Lots of options from that point, but the Emerald X7 is a popular choice.
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Old 08-06-2020, 05:26 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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I have 3 Emerald guitars and sold a GSmini (late last year) that I bought not long after they first came out. The GSmini is a decent guitar. Mine traveled thousands of miles by boat and RV prior to getting my first carbon fiber guitar. The Mini did delaminate a bit where my right arm rested on it. It didn't affect the sound or the playability, but all the changes (from the desert southwest to the Pacific Northwest to the Gulf Coast) and playing did cause the delamination.

Frankly, I was impressed that the Mini held up as well as it did, considering all it went through. I did buy that first carbon fiber guitar just for the climate indifference.

I have a previous generation X7 - it changed how I gauge guitars (and I've been playing for over 50 years). Great ergonomics, excellent workmanship, impressive sound, and it laughs at the changes I throw at it with travel. Beyond that, the X7 plays and sounds better than the Mini, with a slightly longer scale and the 1 3/4" nut width. The Mini convinced me that a smaller guitar can still get the job done, and that gig bag is outstanding. The X7 is all that and more. Having played out with both, the X7 simply excels in any manner in a comparison. The GSmini is good... the X7 is great.

I still have a couple nice Taylors, but it is the Emeralds I have that get all the playing time.
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Old 08-06-2020, 05:53 PM
Earl49 Earl49 is offline
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As someone who has owned GS Mini's (both spruce and mahogany top) and now owns two Emerald X7's (Version 2) it is clear. The X7 beats the Mini in every way except price. Tone - check. Environmental durability - check. Ergonomics - check. Scale length - check. Nut width - check.

GS Mini is a very nice guitar for what it is, certainly. It still has a solid wood top, with all the vulnerability of solid wood. I have long been a big Taylor fan but they are all leaving in favor of Emerald and other CF guitars, and that is for at-home use. Your situation involves some real extremes in the field. AC running in a parked car must drive the cabin RH down into single digits! Nothing is as bulletproof as CF. I might suggest a CA Cargo if you can still find one. They sound very nice but their big drawback is a 22.75" scale length. Once the X7 got here, her Cargo went into the closet and has not come back out yet.

Condolences on Meniere's Disease. Last year that took Huey Lewis and the News off the road permanently, because he suddenly could not hear pitch accurately and was coming in a note or more off key. Not a good thing for the lead singer.....
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Old 08-06-2020, 06:27 PM
EvanB EvanB is offline
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I've had a number of laminate guitars that held up well, sounded good, and played nicely. Until you decide the dimensions best suited to your taste you might consider trying out various laminate instruments in both steel and nylon modes and in 1 3/4 and 1 7/8" nut widths--they can be had at reasonable prices.

As far as easy travel and durability, you might also check out Journey CF instruments in both nylon and steel.
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Old 08-07-2020, 06:07 AM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is online now
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You could buy 3-5 GSmini's for the price of a CF guitar. I've got two CF guitars and I think that does not reflect the economics of durability but my own inability to live with a product as it decays to be replaced by its successor.

Tone wise a GSmini is a high bar and many travel sized CF guitars will not compete well with it.
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Old 08-07-2020, 07:09 AM
source3 source3 is offline
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Good to hear that other members have similar thoughts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvanB View Post
I've had a number of laminate guitars that held up well, sounded good, and played nicely. Until you decide the dimensions best suited to your taste you might consider trying out various laminate instruments in both steel and nylon modes and in 1 3/4 and 1 7/8" nut widths--they can be had at reasonable prices.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonfields45 View Post
You could buy 3-5 GSmini's for the price of a CF guitar. I've got two CF guitars and I think that does not reflect the economics of durability but my own inability to live with a product as it decays to be replaced by its successor.
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Old 08-07-2020, 07:29 AM
Frettingflyer Frettingflyer is offline
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Andrew, many of us have been through this very thought process. I travel for a living and my GS Mini flew more than a million air miles and was still in great shape when I donated it to Guitars 4 Vets, a great option if you do move on.
I did find for fingerstyle guitar that the short scale length was limiting to me and went in search of a “travel” guitar with a longer scale length. If you are driving and not flying, I would not rule out small bodied full size guitars such as Rainsong OM’s(or even a parlor), Emerald X20, McPherson makes the Sable and a smaller touring model. Any of these could easily be your only guitar that would work well both for travel and home. All of these have different sounds and feels, necks etc.. do some homework and see what sounds good for your style or intended style, plays well and looks good.
Good luck,
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Old 08-10-2020, 11:35 AM
mot mot is online now
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Laminate is fine. I have a full size laminate guitar - Ibanez PF10 - that I bought new 30 years ago. It's been to 4 continents, been played in the rain and snow and has sat in extreme heat and cold. It's currently worth about $100 according to sales whenever I see them come up. The frets are a little worn near the nut, but it still plays great. I haven't done any maintenance on it other than to tweak the neck relief once.

It sounds great picking or strumming. I do need to change its strings. It sits in my office at work. I have it in a case at the moment because I had to take it somewhere and haven't gotten it back out, but it's usually sitting on a stand. I would guess I have around 3-5000 hours on that guitar. It's got stains on the face and a nick here and there, but it still plays great.

Even in extreme heat there's little reason to get a carbon fiber. I switched because the X20 is that much more comfortable than the guitars I was playing at the time. I got all that and the sound was just as good or better. It got me on the carbon fiber track and now I have three carbon fiber guitars that each fill a different niche for me.

Are they worth it? It depends on what is important to you. If I were going to leave it behind the seat of an unlocked pickup truck everyday, I would probably just change the strings on my Ibanez and use it. If I were to travel and be able to keep the guitar safe from disappearing when my back was turned, then I would likely take my X20 if I had the room.
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Old 08-10-2020, 12:22 PM
philjs philjs is offline
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FYI, RP has a very nice Rainsong parlor in the Classifieds at the moment...

Phil
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