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Old 05-14-2019, 10:16 AM
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dogdog49 dogdog49 is offline
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Default Rainsong Concert vs. Hybrid models

Anyone have experience with both? I know it's all subjective but like many I'm looking for the warmest, most wood-like tone I can get from a non-wood guitar. A little background - Personally I have a strong preference for the sound of my high-end, hand built wooden instruments over any non-wooden guitar I've ever compared them to. Just speaking for myself here it's not that close, and yet I still want to own a non-wood guitar for certain environments that I have to both play and store guitars in. I've owned several Rainsongs including Concert models and a number of Composite Acoustics as well (I auditioned a few Emeralds at Ted's shop in L.A. back when he used to carry them and although they had an interesting sound they were easily the least like the sound of my high-end wooden guitars to my ears and so dropped off of my list of possibilities - that was several years ago and perhaps the signature Emerald sound has changed but I have no convenient way to audition one). The CA guitars have been uniformly warmer than the Rainsongs, but seemed heavier built and perhaps for that reason lacked sustain and clarity to the point where I've begun to think that the warmest Rainsong I can get may be the closest I'm going to come to my preferred sound. So far the Concert models have been best but I've never tried an H or Hybrid model, hence the question. I'd welcome any thoughts or opinions you folks may have.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:48 AM
CRM CRM is offline
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I have found that the Rainsong Smokey Hybrid has a very warm tone and I now only have that one guitar after a 12 year buying and selling frenzy that took me thru at least 75 guitars from makers such as Martin, Gibson, Taylor, Eastman and Recording King.......Oh and a CA GX Performer
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:52 AM
AZLiberty AZLiberty is offline
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you want a hybrid with the unidirectional soundboard.

Be advised that Rainsong ships with 80/20 Elixir strings. Those tend to make them sound harsher and brighter than they otherwise would. So to really get a sense of how the instrument would sound with your preferred strings you might have to talk someone into restringing one.
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:23 AM
mountainmaster mountainmaster is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRM View Post
I have found that the Rainsong Smokey Hybrid has a very warm tone
I believe that is relative. Next to an all-carbon-fiber Rainsong it will sound warm, but compared to my wood guitars it is still quite bright.
Incidentally, the Smokey has been discontinued.

Anyway, you don't have to choose between concert or hybrid. The concert hybrid series combines hybrid construction with a unidirectional soundboard at a fair price point.
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:34 AM
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What style music do you play dogdog?
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Old 05-14-2019, 11:42 AM
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Just make sure you try before you buy....
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Last edited by CRM; 05-14-2019 at 08:41 PM. Reason: error
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Old 05-14-2019, 12:15 PM
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I canít help with a Concert model but own an H-OM. It is a really great guitar! The delivered setup was awful but after a bridge saddle shave and tweak to the nut, the action is as good as my best guitars. The OEM Prefix+T pickup system is also excellent. Tonally it is brighter than my Emerald X20 but the H-OMís sound is very balanced. If I could only have one CF it would be the Emerald as it has a deeper tone.
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Old 05-14-2019, 12:34 PM
Melt in the Sun Melt in the Sun is offline
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I'm curious which Emeralds you played back then...I spent some time at a guitar shop a few months ago with my Taylor 510, an Emerald X20 woody, and Rainsongs (CH-WS, CH-OM, and APLE). The Emerald was definitely the warmest of the five.

If you post your location, you may find a place to audition some of the other options.
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Old 05-14-2019, 01:27 PM
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Others can verify, but I think the Emeralds have been redesigned since you played them.....
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Old 05-14-2019, 03:24 PM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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If you can live with a 12-fret neck, I think that has a significant impact on reducing the brightness of RainSong tone. I have identical RainSongs, one Concert and one Concert Hybrid, and I think both benefit from the 12 fret neck bridge placement and sound very close to each other despite the materials differences. The CH-WS is a big sounding guitar that is not brighter than a similar wooden guitar.

I have owned both the CO-DR and H-DR guitars. The CO-DR is as bright as a Martin 000 but with the volume of a dreadnought. The H-DR is closer to a Martin Dreadnought but still brighter. Another solution might be combining a 14 fret Hybrid with less bright strings such as Elixir PBs or one of the monel options.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:48 AM
MiG50 MiG50 is offline
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I feel like the straight Hybrid series Rainsongs are the warmest of their lineup, with less brightness and a sweeter midrange than the all-carbon weave or the unidirectional top. Carbon is just so much more responsive than any wood, it can't help but be brighter in frequency response, so the glass fiber in the Hybrid series tends to mellow those high frequencies a little. It's counter-intuitive, a bit, since we tend to want to squeeze just a little more brightness from our wooden instruments, but carbon starts a full step (or more) in that direction, so if you want that "woody" warmth, you actually need to tame it a bit. I feel like the CA models can sound warmer because of their internal bracing and thicker construction, which also deadens some of those frequencies. But compared to my Rainsongs, a CA just sounds lifeless to my ear, whereas the Rainsong sounds open and airy. So I'd look at the Hybrid model of your liking.
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelvibe View Post
What style music do you play dogdog?
Wow, great responses - thanks all! I play exclusively solo fingerstyle instrumental music and I use Alaska picks for a fuller and warmer tone than I can get with my 70 year old, cracked fingernails. My primary guitar is an EIR and Cedar Flammang grand concert. By the way I live in Ashland, Oregon but spend a month or two each spring in New Haven, CT (that's where I am now) just in case someone knows where I might audition an Emerald or a Rainsong Hybrid. Also, a Mcpherson Sable was my most recent purchase. I sold it because, like the Composite Acoustics I've owned, it was very warm but also a heavily built and dead (to me) sounding guitar. What about Rainsongs with K&K pickups? That's what I have in my Flammang and I do want the CF guitar for playing out. I find it to be a warm pickup, would it help if I replaced the stock Rainsong UST with a K&K? Also, the CH model Rainsongs sound fascinating and the price is right, but I often play way up the neck always felt the need for a 14 fret cutaway, so I'm thinking now maybe an H-WS1000n2 might be my best bet and possibly warmer than an H-OM model. Thoughts?

Last edited by dogdog49; 05-15-2019 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:36 PM
MiG50 MiG50 is offline
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I thought I had heard that Rainsong offers K&K Mini as a factory installed option now, although you'd likely have to order that to spec from an authorized dealer.

As for the difference in tone between the WS and OM body shapes, the WS is definitely bass-ier and louder, whereas the OM has a bit more clarity. I don't think of the OM as lacking any warmth, though.
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogdog49 View Post
Wow, great responses - thanks all! I play exclusively solo fingerstyle instrumental music and I use Alaska picks for a fuller and warmer tone than I can get with my 70 year old, cracked fingernails. My primary guitar is an EIR and Cedar Flammang grand concert. By the way I live in Ashland, Oregon but spend a month or two each spring in New Haven, CT (that's where I am now) just in case someone knows where I might audition an Emerald or a Rainsong Hybrid. Also, a Mcpherson Sable was my most recent purchase. I sold it because, like the Composite Acoustics I've owned, it was very warm but also a heavily built and dead (to me) sounding guitar. What about Rainsongs with K&K pickups? That's what I have in my Flammang and I do want the CF guitar for playing out. I find it to be a warm pickup, would it help if I replaced the stock Rainsong UST with a K&K? Also, the CH model Rainsongs sound fascinating and the price is right, but I often play way up the neck always felt the need for a 14 fret cutaway, so I'm thinking now maybe an H-WS1000n2 might be my best bet and possibly warmer than an H-OM model. Thoughts?
Your string choice will be very important. I was the proud owner of a Shorty for about 4 years. I discovered that the neck just wasn't for me for my style of play but it is a truly fine instrument that had tone in spades. I loved how light it was (4 lbs) and it was loud, articulate, and shimmery. I personally think RainSongs are bright guitars but I kind of like them because of that- Tone is so subjective tho. If you do decide to go with a CH-OM or CH-WS I think you should at least try the following strings to help get closer to "warm".

Martin Retro LJ's Choice

John Pearse Bronze and Silk

GHS Silk and Bronze

Elixir PB Nanoweb

Santa Cruz Parabolic strings

These are kind of known go to strings for RainSongs but I just encourage you to try a bunch. The silk strings definitely warm up a RainSong but I find that there is a trade off because volume is notably decreased. I would still try a set though because RainSongs are so lightly built and resonant that you would not lose as much tone with the silk filament as you would on a wooden guitar.

The Shorty I had (which is identical in construction to the CH-OM- the only differences being aethetic) was equipped with a K&K. I liked it just fine but you do have to run it through EQ and a good buffer- like a tuner or a DI that has a 1M impedence. It will howl at you with feedback, more so than a wooden guitar do you have to tame that somehow. I also would use a feedback buster on top of all that- but yes, the K&K is an awesome choice for RainSongs iMO.

Good Luck!
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Last edited by steelvibe; 05-15-2019 at 09:43 PM. Reason: gramma
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:58 PM
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I have owned both a WS Concert and WS Concert Hybrid. My pick would be the Concert series for the best tone in my opinion. The Concert Hybrid maybe a tad warmer but not as clear as the Concert series. The Concert Hybrid comes in short scale, it is great but i think it felt floppy for me plus the configuration does make the guitar sound very mellow and played in but I felt it loses volume. The Concert series is loud, warm very guitar like and piano like clarity and very responsive.
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