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Old 02-17-2019, 10:43 PM
TheTwistinside TheTwistinside is offline
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Smile Blackbird Savoy, CA Ox, or Rainsong H-WS1000N2?

Hello everyone,

For a long time, I've been dreaming of owning a composite guitar to make my humidity-related issues just a bad memory. The thing is, I live in Taiwan, where the humidity is often as high as 96% indoors. I bought a dehumidifier and started running it nearly non-stop, but it hasn't completely solved the problem. The neck on my Breedlove is warped after many years of being exposed to wet conditions.

Anyway, I recently visited NYC after being away from the States for more than a decade. It was my first opportunity to try a carbon fiber acoustic, and I was stunned by the sound of the Rainsongs I played. The hybrid WS model sounded so clear and rich, but the N2 neck was still a bit thicker than I usually prefer.

I also tried a Cargo, but found that it was much darker in tone and didn't sound quite as clear to me. Still, a nice guitar for what it is. I just don't think it suits me.

Is the CA OX model brighter and clearer than the Cargo? Or is it essentially just a bigger version of their travel guitar in terms of tone? I realize that sound is subjective, but I'll need to make a decision without trying whatever I'm going to buy, so your opinions mean a lot to me.

Finally, I saw the Blackbird Savoy and the tone really impressed me for such a small composite package. Does it sound as good in person as in most of the videos? Has anyone had the chance to compare it to a Rainsong WS? The price of the Savoy is significantly higher with the upgraded case, pickup, and international shipping, but I'd be willing to pay the premium if it would satisfy my needs.

I mostly play acoustic rock and fingerstyle, so I strum with a pick nearly as often as I use my fingers. Any suggestions as to which would be the most versatile for this?

Also, for neck profiles, I tend to prefer a Breedlove or Taylor neck. I believe they use C-shape profiles on most of their 000s, right? The Rainsong's modified U would require a lot of adjustment, but might be worth it if the other two guitars can't offer what I'm looking for. On the tonal spectrum, I tend to prefer bright and clear guitars. For me, Taylors fall into this category.

Whew! That was one long post, and I appreciate you bearing with me. I'd like to say in advance that I'm extremely grateful for any feedback you're able to offer. It's hard to make such an expensive decision when you aren't able to try them out in advance.

Thanks,
Tyler

Last edited by TheTwistinside; 02-17-2019 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 02-18-2019, 05:46 AM
jonfields45 jonfields45 is offline
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The CA OX is a nice sounding OM sized guitar and not a larger Cargo. It has a very thin neck. CA guitars are not quite as projective as RainSongs in my experience and maybe not quite as loud as similar sized wood guitars.

The 12 fret RainSong neck feels slimmer to me and moves the bridge which changes the tone of the body shapes it is available on. I think those are the best sounding RainSongs (more wood like and less bright).

If you are really looking for robustness, I'm not sure linen composite is in the same class as CF. It is nice looking and sounds great on the Blackbirds I've played.

If neck dimensions are a high priority, you should consider an Emerald X20 which can be custom ordered (the stock version might be just right also).
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Old 02-18-2019, 06:50 AM
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Methos1979 Methos1979 is offline
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I'm with you on the Rainsongs - I loved the tone and build of the APLE Shorty I had but the neck was not my thing. I went to an open mic recently where a guy played a CA OX and it was one of the best sounding guitars played that night. So if the necks are Taylor slim like Jon says they are then that is a potential candidate. I've never played or heard in person the Savoy but those that have rave about them. They are on the pricey side. For that kind of money I, too, would recommend you consider and Emerald X20 custom build. You could order it in the color you want and ask for a neck shape of your desire as well as just about any other customization. They are the only CF guitar company making custom guitars that I'm aware of. Worth checking out.
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Old 02-18-2019, 07:28 AM
gerardo1000 gerardo1000 is offline
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I owned several Rainsongs and in my personal opinion the Hybrid Series is their best offer. Especially the WS which is very versatile and sounds awesome.
I have a CA OX and it is an excellent guitar with a fantastic neck, but it is a bit quiet and does not project as the Rainsongs. I played both the Savoy and the El Capitan from Blackbird at Elderly instruments and especially loved the El Capitan. However I would be hesitant to spend $3K considering that with half the price I could get a Rainsong. Also, in the $3k price range, there is the McPherson Sable that I have never tested but according to reviews is a wonderful instrument.
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Old 02-18-2019, 08:11 AM
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RainSong are you listening?
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Old 02-18-2019, 08:54 AM
TheTwistinside TheTwistinside is offline
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I appreciate the suggestion of customizing an Emerald, but I do prefer the design aesthetics of the other three brands. The Emerald look is unique and definitely interesting, but I'm not sure that it suits me.

Also, thanks for all the feedback! It's very interesting to hear everyone's impressions of these guitars. Rainsong and Emerald definitely get a lot of love online. If Emeralds sound anywhere near as good as Rainsongs do, then I can see why.

Well, I guess I could always force myself to adapt to a thicker neck profile. It's just that for the money, it's hard to rationalize why this should be necessary. It seems to boil down to the decision of having the desired neck profile, getting the tone and projection I crave, or spending considerably more and hoping that eKoa is the answer to my prayers. Haha.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:38 AM
EvanB EvanB is offline
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Of the guitars you mention the Rainsong might best fit your needs. When I first purchased my RS parlor, I found the neck off-putting. But then, with more play, found that the neck is actually quite comfortable and easy to play. One advantage to the RS is that as a production guitar you can find one used at a very reasonable price--low enough so that if you do not like the instrument you would not lose much on re-sale.

As others suggest, you might give Emerald a second look. While the look might be initially off-putting because it is so different, the ergonomic features of the guitar more than compensate for the different look. The offset sound hole is also initially off-putting, but when played becomes a desired feature. The Emeralds are also worth a look because of the available customization--if you know what you want, Emerald can make it.

I don't think you can make a mistake in the choices mentioned. The CAs, Rainsongs, Blackbirds, and Emeralds are all very nice instruments. There are also some newer CF instruments that might be worth a look--Journey, Luva, Klos, and so forth.

Good luck in your decision making.
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Old 02-18-2019, 10:06 AM
gerardo1000 gerardo1000 is offline
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If a slim neck is what you are looking for, I believe that nothing beats a Composite Acoustics. One of the reason why I am still keeping my OX is that when I play it, I play "cleaner', and I believe it is because of the neck. Now, if you are looking also for volume and projection, and do not mind a dreadnought, a good solution for you could be a Composite Acoustics Legacy dreadnought. It gives you the right neck, and plenty of volume and projection, together with a warm/woody tone. They cost new around $2,200/2,500 but you can often find some "open box" ones at Musiciansfriend for less than 2k.
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Old 02-18-2019, 11:51 AM
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I have tried several Rainsongs and love them. I think my X20 plays and sounds as well as their best too. I also have a Blackbird Lucky13 that is wonderful. However, the X20 gets the most play time of the two CF guitars I currently own. Along with Rainsongs I have played a few composite acoustics and nearly the entire range of Emerald and Blackbird. The X20 is a keeper and my next guitar will probably be a custom Emerald.

Others in the house were initially put off by the new age look of the X20. I've now had the guitar for over 5 years and they've come around to accepting the X20 look since then. Once you play one for a little while I think you will see why there's so much talk about them, and you will forget that there's an offset sound hole.
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Old 02-18-2019, 11:58 AM
Frettingflyer Frettingflyer is offline
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I have found the Rainsong neck to be comfortable, but it did take some play to get me there. Now I really like it..and I usually play Taylor wood guitars, go figure.
My Blackbird Lucky13 has really grown on me, but I am wanting to try a Savoy and may be able to play one next Friday to compare.
As previously mentioned, the Savoy being ďekoaĒ is resistant to humidity but maybe not as resistant as the others. Of course, if you donít plan to paddle a canoe with it you should be fine. I know of one person who uses his regularly on a boat and has had not issues in a pretty humid climate.
I would not discount the Rainsong idea if you liked the sound. Maybe get a used one and play it for a couple months to see if you adapt to the neck shape?
Good luck,
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Old 02-18-2019, 08:50 PM
nedley nedley is offline
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Iíve played most of the guitars mentioned in this thread, and Iíve never played a blackbird that didnít sound and feel great.
If you donít love the Emerald look and like the blackbird neck, Iíd do that. Maybe you could find a used El Capitan for less than 3k
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Old 02-19-2019, 04:56 AM
casualmusic casualmusic is online now
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Hi Tyler.

Glad you like the Rainsong H-WS. It has a full body sound great for acoustic rock.

You'd probably also like the CH-WS (NS thinner neck) that is similar to the H-WS (N2 thicker neck).


I measured the NS neck on the CH-WS at 7/8" thick similar to other other guitars in the store (Gibson J15, Martin D16, Taylor 314CE). All were about 4.5" around at the nut and 5.5" at the 12th fret.

How thick is that H-WS N2 neck? BTW. Online reviewers report that the Breedlove neck is thinner than average.


I own a CA Cargo and have played the CA OX.

CA Cargo is small and quiet. It's easily overwhelmed by firm strumming and not suitable for a primary guitar. But it's good for cosy and intimate playing.

CA OX is quieter than the CH-WS.


The Blackbird website says that the Savoy is a 3/4 size guitar that fits in a 3/4 size case.


The rainsong.com website has guitar specs, a dealer list, and a price list.


Hope you are able to take home a great guitar.

Last edited by casualmusic; 02-19-2019 at 05:01 AM.
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Old 02-19-2019, 09:19 AM
Captain Jim Captain Jim is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheTwistinside View Post
I appreciate the suggestion of customizing an Emerald, but I do prefer the design aesthetics of the other three brands. The Emerald look is unique and definitely interesting, but I'm not sure that it suits me.

Also, thanks for all the feedback! It's very interesting to hear everyone's impressions of these guitars. Rainsong and Emerald definitely get a lot of love online. If Emeralds sound anywhere near as good as Rainsongs do, then I can see why.

Well, I guess I could always force myself to adapt to a thicker neck profile. It's just that for the money, it's hard to rationalize why this should be necessary. It seems to boil down to the decision of having the desired neck profile, getting the tone and projection I crave, or spending considerably more and hoping that eKoa is the answer to my prayers. Haha.
I understand your thoughts about the design of the Emeralds. I felt that way when I first saw them, too. Acoustic guitar players tend to be pretty traditional. It is why I first went with a RainSong, because the shape of the Shorty I bought (my first carbon fiber guitar) was SO close to that of a Taylor Grand Concert model. And what I discovered: I really like the carbon fiber sound. The N2 neck on that Shorty was chunkier than I prefer, but I played the heck out of that guitar for a several years before getting another carbon fiber guitar... and this time it was an Emerald.

After having my carbon fiber "awakening," it allowed me to be more open to new designs. I played other CF guitars, but nothing moved me enough to make another purchase. The Emerald X7 seemed to offer what I was looking for in terms of small size with a good sound. I ordered one, another "leap of faith." When it arrived (in just 4 days, from Ireland), I was blown away: it sounded better than I expected, but the ergonomics of it let me understand what that "modern design" is all about. The off-set soundhole adds to the player's experience, and all those curves and bevels will spoil you for traditional guitar shapes. My next two guitars were also Emeralds, each one different in size and scale, but all great sound and comfort.

Before playing one, I thought the Emerald designs were a stylistic choice of the builder... I now understand it is SO much more than that. Please know, I am not trying to change your mind, just relating my experience, since it sounds similar to yours. If not for buying that first RainSong (now sold), I doubt that I would have tried an Emerald. RainSong makes nice CF guitars in a more traditional style and shape.

I have had the opportunity to play a couple Savoys - nice guitars. While none of the CF guitars you are considering are inexpensive, the Savoy seems a bit overpriced to me. If you like a traditional guitar that is close to the GSmini in size, this would be another good option. The 24.5" scale was very comfortable to me, and I appreciate the soundport on the upper side.

The McPherson and Composite Acoustics have their fans, as well. The 3 specific guitars you mentioned are different body size from each other - the Rainsong H-WS1000N2 feels large (and deep) to me; the Ox is more mid-size, and the Savoy is small. There are a lot of good options in carbon fiber these days. The search is part of the journey... good luck with the decisions.

Last edited by Captain Jim; 02-19-2019 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 02-19-2019, 11:00 PM
TheTwistinside TheTwistinside is offline
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All of this feedback has been very helpful in learning what I might be able to expect from these instruments in terms of feel and tone. Based on looks and feel alone, the CA OX would likely be the perfect fit for me, but based on all of the videos I've seen, I get the feeling that its tone is much darker and a bit more bass-heavy, lending itself perfectly to blues, but perhaps not offering the brightness and articulation I'm looking for. Does that seem like a fair assessment? Did I miss the mark?

I noticed that the Rainsong is the only guitar on the list which doesn't use SS frets, and although this isn't a necessity, it would be a great feature that should go a long way in avoiding fret wear. I do use a capo when singing, and I've had some nicks on Taylor guitar frets in the past. Oddly enough, I can't say that I've had the same issue with any other brands that use nickel fret wire. Hmm.

At this point, I think the Blackbird or Emerald might be a better choice, but given my personality, I can see myself going crazy after dropping the cash and having to wait half a year to get my hands on the guitar. I know, I know... good things come to those who wait, haha. It's just that I've been waiting forever to get rid of my Breedlove with its warped neck and cheese-grating action. As its my only guitar now, I'm eager to get a reliable replacement that will allow me to play more easily.

Hopefully, I'll make a decision soon, then there will be a NGD thread started to succeed this one.

Last edited by TheTwistinside; 02-19-2019 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 02-20-2019, 06:28 AM
jdinco jdinco is offline
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Emerald has a decent supply in stock, unless you need custom work. Good Luck !
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