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Old 11-25-2022, 10:34 AM
fidel1ty fidel1ty is offline
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Default Carbon: McPherson. Sable vs. Emerald x30

I'm looking at buying another emerald, possibly x20. I have a newer x30 but I find the sound remarkably thin amd lacking richness of overtones. Yes, I'm aware it's not wood, but the new mcpherson sable seems far better in terms of sound.

I am using elixir custom light strings and wonder if you've had success with different strings.

I've heard comments on YouTube about the need to play with a light tough for good projection in Emerald guitars. I agree that you don't have to dig in for good volume output, but just not loving the sound I am getting.

Looking for input and your thoughts about this. Again, I am aware that it is carbon fiber and there will be limitations, but the newest sable seems more satisfying in terms of tone and would like your thoughts.
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Old 11-25-2022, 10:44 AM
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David Eastwood David Eastwood is offline
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Originally Posted by fidel1ty View Post
I'm looking at buying another emerald, possibly x20. I have a newer x30 but I find the sound remarkably thin amd lacking richness of overtones. Yes, I'm aware it's not wood, but the new mcpherson sable seems far better in terms of sound.

I am using elixir custom light strings and wonder if you've had success with different strings.

I've heard comments on YouTube about the need to play with a light tough for good projection in Emerald guitars. I agree that you don't have to dig in for good volume output, but just not loving the sound I am getting.

Looking for input and your thoughts about this. Again, I am aware that it is carbon fiber and there will be limitations, but the newest sable seems more satisfying in terms of tone and would like your thoughts.
You might want to ask a mod to move this to the CF sub-forum.
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Old 11-25-2022, 10:18 PM
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mikealpine mikealpine is offline
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I had a Sable which, to me, was not as loud as the X30 I now have, though it was very balanced totally from treble to bass. My X30 Is bass-heavy, and anything but thin. Not sure why your X30 sounds thin. I would love to test a newer X20 and see if that is the sweet spot, providing good balance and volume.
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Old 11-26-2022, 07:07 AM
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Iíve tried a variety of strings with my X20-12 and settled on DíAddario EJ37ís which are ďcustomizedĒ mediums and love the sound, (yeah I know we are talking about 12 strings). Perhaps your X30 would benefit by going up to mediums
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Old 11-26-2022, 10:06 AM
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I'm not sure exactly what you are asking, maybe 2 things?? I've never owned an X30 so no help there, but I did own an X20, it was beautiful but I found the tone lacking, I sold it and bought a Sable, tone wise, I find it heads above the X20. If you want looks and comfort, the X20 is hard to beat. I prefer a pleasing tone, so I love my Sable. I don't think it is as loud as an X20 with the port pointig at your face, so you may want to try one out if that's important to ya.
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Old 11-26-2022, 03:48 PM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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This is the first time since the X30 was released that I've heard one described as "thin." For full disclosure, I don't have an X30; I do have an X20 which is my favorite tone. I've had the opportunity to play a couple Sables... nice guitar; it is quieter than the X20 and what I would describe as a darker tone. I prefer the X20 over the Sable for tone and comfort, but either could be a "one and only" for someone. Both are great guitars.

As far as needing a light touch on an Emerald X20 - that hasn't been my experience. I am a strummer and a singer, and find the Emerald kicks when you dig in. Same experience with my X7, but my X10 seems to like a lighter touch.

Sorry I can't give you any better comparison with the X30. As another comparison, the X20 is my carbon equivalence of a Taylor 814 (my favorite wood guitar tone).
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Old 11-26-2022, 05:26 PM
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2-3 months ago, I had an X30 and a Sable in my house for a couple of weeks together, as well as an X7 I owned at the time. I started a thread on the comparison - here’s the first post where I actually compare the guitars:

https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...08&postcount=1

To be blunt, the X30 is the least “thin” sounding guitar I’ve ever played. I was in a constant battle with the three lower strings on that guitar to keep the bass even marginally under control. I sort of came up with a different way of strumming that guitar to go easier on the lower strings while still digging in pretty hard on the higher strings. In comparison, the Sable redefined my understanding of what a “balanced” guitar sounds like. PLENTY of low end, but equally plenty of meds and highs. I can emphasize any aspect of it I want, but no part of the spectrum overwhelms any other.

I do find that I need to use a heavier pick to get the volume I want out of the Sable than I need to with either of my Martins. Either that or run medium strings, but with the full scale on the Sable, I prefer to stick with lights and they require a heavier pick to get the volume I want.

Another thing I’m a bit hesitant to bring up but I’m gonna. Over a year ago, I tried out a used Sable that Guitar Center had in its used inventory. I liked it, but not that much, and I returned it. When I got a new one a few months ago, I was overwhelmed at how good it sounded to me. I didn’t think they’d changed the guitar much, other than cosmetically, so I assumed the difference was in my head, not the guitars. BUT I’ve been SOOOO impressed with this Sable, I decided to buy a second one to send out to my daughter’s place in Oregon because we spend a fair amount of time out there visiting and I wanted a good guitar out there, and carbon fiber so I wouldn’t have to worry about temps or humidity for the extended periods when I’m NOT there.

So I found another used one from Guitar Center and bought it. It was a good deal lighter than my newer one and, much to my surprise, it didn’t sound near as good as the newer one. MUCH less low end and not as rich in the mids or highs either. I was floored by the difference. I returned that one too and now I don’t think the difference between the first two was in my head. I think they’ve changed them in substantive ways. I talked to a couple of McPherson dealers who also think the new models are fuller sounding the previous years. I’m gonna wait until I can afford another new one and make sure I like it as much as the one I bought a few months ago. It wasn’t a subtle difference. So, evidently, not all Sables are the same…

-Ray
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Last edited by raysachs; 11-27-2022 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 11-26-2022, 09:26 PM
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Thats really interesting Ray ! Thanks
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Old 11-27-2022, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raysachs View Post
2-3 months ago, I had an X30 and a Sable in my house for a couple of weeks together, as well as an X7 I owned at the time. I started a thread on the comparison - hereís the first post where I actually compare the guitars:

https://www.acousticguitarforum.com/...08&postcount=1

To be blunt, the X30 is the least ďthinĒ sounding guitar Iíve ever played. I was in a constant battle with the three lower strings on that guitar to keep the bass even marginally under control. I sort of came up with a different way of strumming that guitar to go easier on the lower strings while still digging in pretty hard on the higher strings. In comparison, the Sable redefined my understanding of what a ďbalancedĒ guitar sounds like. PLENTY of low end, but equally plenty of meds and highs. I can emphasize any aspect of it I want, but no part of the spectrum overwhelms any other.

I do find that I need to use a heavier pick to get the volume I want out of the Sable than I need to with either of my Martins. Either that or run medium strings, but with the full scale on the Sable, I prefer to stick with lights and they require a heavier pick to get the volume I want.

Another thing Iím a bit hesitant to bring up but Iím gonna. Over a year ago, I tried out a used Sable that Guitar Center had in its used inventory. I liked it, but not that much, and I returned it. When I got a new one a few months ago, I was overwhelmed at how good it sounded to me. I didnít think theyíd changed the guitar much, other than cosmetically, so I assumed the difference was in my head, not the guitars. BUT Iíve been SOOOO impressed with this Sable, I decided to buy a second one to send out to my daughterís place in Oregon because we spend a fair amount of time out there visiting and I wanted a good guitar out there, and carbon fiber so I wouldnít have to worry about temps or humidity for the extended periods when Iím NOT there.

So I found another used one from Guitar Center and bought it. It was a good deal lighter than my newer one and, much to my surprise, it didnít sound near as good as the newer one. MUCH less low end and not as rich in the mids or highs either. I was floored by the difference. I returned that one too and now I donít think the difference between the first two was in my head. I think theyíve changed them in substantive ways. I talked to a couple of McPherson dealers who also think the new models are fuller sounding the previous years. Iím gonna wait until I can afford another new one and make sure I like it as much as the one I bought a few months ago. It wasnít a subtle difference. So, evidently, not all Sables are the sameÖ

-Ray
Terrific post and great observation about old vs new Sables. I didnít think to try heavier strings.
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Old 11-27-2022, 04:36 PM
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Terrific post and great observation about old vs new Sables. I didn’t think to try heavier strings.
I hesitated to discuss what I’ve found with old vs new Sables because I know a LOT of folks around here have older ones they love and I didn’t want to open a hornet’s nest by dissing the older ones. First, I don’t KNOW if this is a universal thing, but I was REALLY struck by the difference. The discussion I had with a couple of dealers (one mainly, but I called another guy just to see if this was a wider impression, and it was) seems to reinforce it.

I really don’t want to cause anyone to second guess how much they like their older Sable, but I couldn’t deny my experience. It’s only anecdotal - very limited data behind it. I could end up getting another new one and finding it more like the older ones I’ve played. But the new one I own sounded a LOT better to me than the used one I checked out (and had at the same time for some A-B comparisons) and I suspect, based on my reactions at the time, it would have sounded better than the older one I tried a year and a few months ago if I could have compared them head to head.

So, I feel kind of weird bringing it up, but I can’t deny my experience.

-Ray
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Old 11-27-2022, 04:52 PM
JackDaniel JackDaniel is online now
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When you say new are you talking the new 2023 model or the 2022 vs the Kevin Michael?
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Old 11-27-2022, 08:14 PM
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When you say new are you talking the new 2023 model or the 2022 vs the Kevin Michael?
I’m not sure what years the two used ones I’ve played are. They both had the metal badge with the McPherson logo on the headstock. The new one I bought in September has the logo directly on the headstock and has kind of a wavy-lines inlay at the 12th fret. Not sure if it’s a 2022 or 2023 model. But it’s aesthetically different and, relative to the two older ones I played, sounds different as well. Didn’t the Kevin Michael models have his name somewhere on the headstock as well?

BTW, Guitar Center also had a used Touring model that I checked out. Didn’t like that much at all…

-Ray
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Old 11-27-2022, 10:23 PM
jdinco jdinco is offline
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Oh geesh, way to go Ray, now I won't sleep until I know !! LOL Seriously, that actually explains a bit, when you wrote about the first one and how much you didn't like it, I was surprised, I heard something entirely different from mine. So maybe....have you asked MPherson or told them your experience? I've found them great to work with, and it's hard to imagine any company improving a product and not promoting it. Very interesting. I think. And I have NO DESIRE to replace my Sable, I do like the looks of the new ones though. No no no, don't even think about it !
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Old 12-06-2022, 06:39 PM
JackDaniel JackDaniel is online now
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Originally Posted by raysachs View Post
Iím not sure what years the two used ones Iíve played are. They both had the metal badge with the McPherson logo on the headstock. The new one I bought in September has the logo directly on the headstock and has kind of a wavy-lines inlay at the 12th fret. Not sure if itís a 2022 or 2023 model. But itís aesthetically different and, relative to the two older ones I played, sounds different as well. Didnít the Kevin Michael models have his name somewhere on the headstock as well?

BTW, Guitar Center also had a used Touring model that I checked out. Didnít like that much at allÖ

-Ray

Ray, do you recall if ask the ones you played had Evo frets? Latest post about Evo frets has me wondering if that might be the difference you heard.
I emailed McPherson and they are adamant the only difference are cosmetic besides the Evo frets.
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Old 12-06-2022, 09:34 PM
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Ray, do you recall if ask the ones you played had Evo frets? Latest post about Evo frets has me wondering if that might be the difference you heard.
I emailed McPherson and they are adamant the only difference are cosmetic besides the Evo frets.
Yeah, theyíve all had EVO frets. If McPherson says the only differences are cosmetic, then I just got lucky with the guitar I got. If I canít find another one that sounds this good, I guess I wonít end up with another one for the other coastÖ

-Ray
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